Accountability and Support

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monthly Focus on Nurturing Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for September 9, 2018 Sunday Mass

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Isaiah 35:4-7a

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools, 
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

First Discussion Questions
F1. Can it be that healing will abound, and that God will also transform all nature? What lines in the reading might indicate this? It is an ancient promise, but now in a new age. Is this age the coming of Christ? How can you prepare?

F2. Isaiah writes about the hope of deliverance from exile. Do you need to be liberated from suffering sometimes? Does this message of hope speak to you?

Second Reading

James 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Do you show partiality? Do you give the same respect to people who have money and prestige as to those who don't? “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith?”

S2. The disabled receive blessings in the First Reading and the poor are chosen heirs in the Second. Do these readings remind you about the poverty in your life?

Gospel Reading

Mark 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis. 
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. 
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly. 
He ordered them not to tell anyone. 
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it. 
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well. 
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1. In the Gospel the people relate Jesus’ curing the deaf man to the prophet’s promise in the First Reading (“Then will … the ears of the deaf be cleared; … the tongue of the mute will sing … ”) What does this Gospel miracle say to you about the beginning if the reign of God? What does it say to you about your Christian job of hearing the cries of the poor and speaking out for justice?

G2. How do Pope Francis’ two tweets below relate to this Gospel? Discuss possible actions they might inspire.

  “Lord, teach us to step outside ourselves. Teach us to go out into the streets and manifest your love."

  “True charity requires courage: let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.”

Church Life Journal
November 6, 2013

 

**From Saint Louis University & Anne Osdieck

Suggested Strategies for Managing the Clock

  • For those with smaller groups or those who have the luxury of enough allotted time, it is suggested that the group cover each question from the monthly focus through the Gospel discussion questions
  • For those with larger groups or don't have the luxury of operating on God's Time, it is suggested that the group cover the monthly focus question and then feel free to skip around and attempt to answer only a few questions - whether that’s just the gospel, or the second reading and gospel, etc.