"Be doers of the word and not hearers only"

In this Sunday's Gospel, Mark offers us a good opportunity to understand the role of the Pharisees in Judaism, and why Jesus and others had such strong feelings against their behavior.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 2, 2012 (22B)
From the
Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: "What is the Worst Sin?"

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8

1. “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law?” Can you answer Moses’ question? What makes a law just? State the law in one sentence, as Jesus did.

2. Discuss some human rights issues that would change if everyone in the world observed the law of love? How might your community or your work place change?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 15: 2-3, 3-4, 4-5

1. Our psalmist says whoever thinks the truth in his heart will live in the presence of the Lord. How do you go about preparing your heart so that you are able to receive the Lord?

2. The verses of the Psalm remind us not to slander, nor to blame our neighbor, nor to harm our fellow man, nor to hurt him economically. Explain how being a doer of the word is inspired by your love of the Lord.

Second Reading
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

1. James says the law is planted in us. Would you like to see it planted in your mind or in your heart? What difference would it make? Discuss Karl Rahner’s statement, “In the heart of knowledge stands love, from which knowledge itself lives.”

2. Are you a hearer only or a doer of the word? Name some times when you “walked the walk” when you really just wanted to “talk the talk.”

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

1. What problems did Jesus have with all the washing and purifying? What was his problem with the add-on laws from traditions? Is there anything that the Church can learn from this part of Jesus’ message? The Pharisees questioned Jesus, with some smugness, about how his disciples were keeping the law. What is your attitude toward people who interpret laws differently than you do?

2. What was missing from the Pharisees’ observance of the law? If religious observance is exterior, what is it worth? On the other hand, if what you do comes from the Word living in your heart, whether it’s fishing or fasting, what is that worth?

Sunday Bible Study Group

Please share your thoughts on the Sunday Readings. May we be blessed by God's words as reflected in your thoughts and experience-sharing. 

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont9:49 AM

    “The one who does justice
    will live in the presence of the Lord.”

    Just as Moses tells the Israelites
    how to take possession
    of the promised land (1st reading),
    so our psalmist tells us how
    we may climb the holy mountain of God
    and live in the presence of the Lord.

    The way forward is twofold --
    love neighbor, and love God.
    If I truly love the Lord,
    then my heart will not be far from Him.
    If I love the Lord, He will remain in me;
    how else would I expect my heart
    to remain pure?
    When my heart is pure,
    I do no harm to my fellow man;
    and I think the truth in my heart.

    St. James tells us to be doers
    of the word (2nd reading);
    we are to keep ourselves
    unstained by the world.
    And Jesus reminds us
    in the Gospel that it all starts
    from inside; it is from within
    our hearts that evil thoughts reside.
    The things that come out from within
    are what defile us.

    So if I am right with the Lord
    and my heart is close to Him,
    then I will not slander with my tongue
    nor take up a reproach against
    my neighbor. Nor will I do harm
    economically to my neighbor.
    If I do these things, as our psalmist says,
    I shall never be disturbed,
    and I will live in the presence of the Lord.