Sunday

"Prepare the way of the Lord."

We began the Advent Season last Sunday with a reading from Matthew's Gospel about the announcement of “the coming of the Son of Man”, also known as the Second Coming. The gospel reading summoned us to “stay awake”. This Sunday, again from Matthew (Matthew 3:1-12), we will hear John the Baptist proclaiming: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the high point of Advent - the kingdom that Jesus prayed for when He first came will be fully realized when He comes again. Maranatha!

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 5, 2010 (2AdvAC)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: Did John the Baptist go straight to heaven upon his death?

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

Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 11, Verses 1-10

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 8, 2013 (2AdvAC)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: Did John the Baptist go straight to heaven upon his death?

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

Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 11, Verses 1-10

1. “The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord.” Von Balthasaar says this is a “drenching of the entire being with the inner understanding of what God is.” Discuss this idea. How does this relate to peace in the reading?

2. You received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in baptism: wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge, reverence and wonder and awe in the presence of God. How do these relate to the peace in your heart?

Responsorial Psalms

Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

1. This Sunday's Psalm speaks of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is to be endowed by God as a just King. Describe how you will make room for the Lord in your life so that He may govern how you conduct yourself this Advent season.

2. Our psalmist writes about the profound peace that will flourish when the Messiah arrives. Tell of how you will receive the Lord's peace during Advent and how this will affect your life.

Second Reading
Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 15, Verses 4-9

1. Would Paul be giving the same advice to the Church today that we read in this letter? For instance, do you welcome or accept others with whom you differ? According to Paul, how does God extend mercy to those who know nothing of the covenant?

2. There are people with whom you disagree. How easy is it to “think in harmony” with them? Why think in harmony with them instead of just going along with them, or being nice, or acting like you agree with them?

Gospel
According to Matthew, Chapter 3, Verses 1-12

1. Compare John’s baptism of repentance with Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. What is that fire? What does it do?

2. Is the fire within you a conflagration or does it look more like a pilot light? What can you do during Advent to gather some kindling for your fire?

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Wednesday

"Therefore, stay awake!"



Each of the lessons for this first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 1, 2013, talk of expectations for the future. And in each case it is while people are doing ordinary things – things like eating, drinking, marrying, working in the fields or grinding grain. These people are not described as doing anything wrong or bad, but are not living with awareness that the day of the Lord could come at any time. The clear message in this Gospel is: "Be ready" and "be prepared.”

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions

First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 1, 2013 (1AdvA)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Why Don't you Read the Bible?

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

Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 2, Verses 1-5

1. Come, listen to instruction, don’t fight. This was the mesage Isaiah proclaimed to all the people of Judah. How do these words pertain to you individually? What does it have to do with your own Advent preparation?

2. What words come to your mind when you think of “swords” and “spears”? or “plowshares”? Do you have the equivalent of swords and spears in your office, parish, or your own life? How does, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares” relate to you?

Responsorial
Psalms
Psalm 122, Verses 1-9

1. Compare the Psalm with the 1st reading (Isaiah). What do they both say about our spiritual journey? How is peace to be achieved both with other nations and within ourselves?

2. How does the Psalm prepare us for that journey we must make at the end of our days on earth? What does the Psalm say we will obtain when we are present with the Lord?

Second Reading
Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 13, Verses 11-14

1. In all the places you live and work, is there some dimness that you can brighten with your Christ light?

2. In Advent we look backward to Christ’s first coming and forward to his next. This reading is about now. What is so important about now? Does Christ come now also?

Gospel
According to Matthew, Chapter 24, Verses 37-44

1. Advent is about Jesus coming to us. What can you do during this season to make him welcome?

2. Regarding social justice issues, does the Church need to rouse from its sleep? How about your parish? What about you?

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

Sunday

"This is the King of the Jews."

In anticipation of the celebration of Christ the King, which marks the end of the Liturgical Year, we will hear Jesus’ prediction of the events that will occur prior to his glorious reign (Luke 21: 5-19). Here, he calls for perseverance and witnessing.


Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 24, 2013 (34C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Why a "crucifix" for Catholics and a plain cross for Protestants?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Second Book of Samuel, Chapter 5, Verses 1-3

1. Compare Jesus and David as shepherds, anointed ones, and kings. What is the difference between their kingships?

2. The elders anointed David king of Israel after making an agreement with him before the Lord. Why was Jesus publicly proclaimed king on the cross?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5

1. Our Psalm speaks of a journey to the Lord's kingdom. What progress are you making along the way on your own journey to the Lord's holy city?

2. The psalmist mentions that he has set foot within the gates of Jerusalem. Describe your decision to walk the walk and go through the narrow gate that leads to redemption and a share in our Lord's inheritance.

Second Reading
Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, Chapter 1, Verses 12-20

1. “For him all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” What does fullness mean to you? What parts of this fullness do you see in this or that neighbor of yours? What part do you want most to dwell in you?

2. “He is the image of the invisible God. All things in heaven and earth were created in him, through him and for him.” How is our environment a reflection of God? Is it sacred? Think of all the places you find goodness. Are they sacred? What is the goodness and beauty in your life saying to you about God?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 23, Verses 35-43

1. The good thief reached out to Jesus. How did Jesus respond? If you asked him to remember you in your struggles, what do you think he would say?

2. Is anyone reaching out to you like the thief did? How about at work, at home, in your parish, in the local community, in the world community? If so, what is your response?

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Thursday

"By your perseverance you will secure your lives"


In anticipation of the celebration of Christ the King, which marks the end of the Liturgical Year, this Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, we will hear Jesus’ prediction of the events that will occur prior to his glorious reign (Luke 21: 5-19). Here, he calls for perseverance and witnessing.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nov. 17, 2013 (33C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Should Catholics join Protestant Bible Studies?

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

Book of the Prophet Malachi, Chapter 3, Verses 19-20a

1. “Fear of the Lord,” one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, is now called “Wonder and Awe in the presence of God.” Compare and contrast these two images. Which do you prefer? Which image gives you a better understanding of this reading?

2. Name some ways that justice heals. Is there any kind of healing through justice you would like to bring about in the world?

Responsorial Psalms
Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9

1. The Psalm speaks about the Day of the Lord, when He will come to rule the earth with justice. Are you ready for the Lord's coming?   Speak about how you are preparing for it.

2. Our psalmist writes about those who dwell in the world shouting for joy before the Lord, when He comes to rule the earth. Explain how you will sing praise to the Lord and sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.
Second Reading
Second Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians,
Chapter 3, Verses 7-12


1. According to Paul the Thessalonians were disorderly busybodies, always eating each other’s food. How does your community/family/parish stack up next to them? How would you have written Paul’s letter? How do you think your community would receive it?

2. What drove St. Paul to “work in toil and drudgery, night and day?” He had pen and paper, boats, and walking shoes. What helps would Paul have had access to today to aid him in his ministry? What do you think his ministry would have looked like with these aids? What do you do to help bring about the kingdom?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 21, Verses 5-19

1. Do you think persecution is a rare occurrence or an ever-present reality for the Church? Why? Where are Christians being persecuted today? Do you think God uses your suffering in conjunction with Christ’s to help renew the face of the earth?

2. What gifts does God give you to help you get through tough times?

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"Today salvation has come to this house"


In the Sunday Gospel for Nov. 3, 2013, Zacchaeus demonstrated his love for Jesus by making an effort to see him. For his part, Jesus demonstrated His love for Zacchaeus in particular, and for all men in general, by inviting himself to stay at Zacchaeus' house. What a marvelous exchange! Love for love!

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 3, 2013 (31C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Why do we pray for the dead?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Wisdom, Chapter 11, Verses 22-26; Chapter 12, Verses 1-2

1. “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made.” What things do you think of when you hear this? God’s attitude toward every created thing is love. What is your attitude? How do you show reverence for creation? For your neighbor?

2. This reading is about God’s transcendence (God beyond our limits or so far above us). At the same time it is about God’s imminence (“Your Spirit is in all things,” He pitched his tent among us, God with us, at home with us). How do you feel about God when you think of these two attributes?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 145: 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14

1. Our psalmist asks us (His faithful ones) to speak of God's might and discourse of the glory of God's kingdom.Give an example of how you have complied with our psalmist's appeals.

2. We are assured by the Psalm that the Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. Share how your faith has been strengthened by any hardships you may have undergone.

Second Reading
Second Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians,
Chapter 1, Verses 11-12; Chapter 2, Verses 1-2


1. When you are “shaken out of your mind” on your spiritual journey, do you think God can use your fellow believers or even non-believers to help you out? Give some examples of how this might work.

2. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to know that he was constantly praying for them. Does it help you to know people are praying for you? Explain. Does it help you to pray for people? Why?

Gospel

According to Luke, Chapter 19, Verses 1-10

1. Was it out of the ordinary for a man to climb a tree in order to see? Was it out of the ordinary for a holy man to go to a “sinner’s” house for dinner? Was it ordinary for someone repenting to give half of all his possessions to the poor? How do you explain this? What extreme or extraordinary behavior does knowing Jesus Christ elicit from you?

2. Zacchaeus used the tree to observe Jesus. What would you do if you wanted to “see” where the Holy Spirit is and what it is doing in the world today?

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"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled"


One of Luke's favorite themes, the reversal brought about by the coming of Jesus, is beautifully illustrated in the Sunday Gospel (30C) for Oct. 27, 2013. The story of the Pharisee and the tax collector is directed to a particular kind of people: those who were law-abiding in their own eyes but who looked down on everyone else. 

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 27, 2013 (30C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: What is conscience?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Sirach, Chapter 35, Verses 12-14, 16-18

1. “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” How are the orphan, widow and oppressed mentioned in the reading, lowly or humble? Name some people you know who fit this description. What does humility look like on them? How is your humility; are you honest with God?

2. Do you do anything when you hear the cry of the oppressed, the wail of the orphan or the widow’s complaint? Is there something you could do that you are not doing now, to help anyone in need?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 34: 2-3, 17-18, 19, 23

1. The Psalm tells us that God lifts up those who are crushed in spirit. However difficult it may be for us to be humble in spirit, we can speak of how gratifying it is for us to depend solely on the Lord for our salvation. Tell of what this means to you personally.

2. The verses of the Psalm tell us how to be sure that our prayers are heard. Our psalmist encourages us to have a right relationship with the Lord before we pray. What is it that you do to be sure that your prayers reach the ears of the Lord?

Second Reading
Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 4, Verses 6-8, 16-18


1. Do you feel like you are being “poured out like a libation” sometimes, or that everyone has deserted you? What do you think Paul did to combat these feelings in himself? What do you think would help you?

2. Paul was rescued from the lion’s mouth and he trusted that he would be safe from every evil threat. What are the evil threats to the Church? What are threats to you? How is your trust?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 18, Verses 9-14

1. If you were in God’s place, what kind of prayers would you answer first? Is the Pharisee saying the prayer to God or to himself?

2. The Pharisee set himself off from the rest of humanity. Are you like him in any way? Do you set yourself apart from others? In what way? And, are there ways you are like the tax collector?

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Sunday

"Pray always without becoming weary"


Last Sunday, we learned through a “foreigner” that faith not only heals but also saves. This Sunday, October 20, 2013, in our Gospel reading from Luke 18:1-8, Our Lord gives us the example of a widow who - in faith - perseveres in prayer and thereby obtains what she asks for.



Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 20, 2013 (29C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: What does "pray without ceasing" mean?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Exodus, Chapter 17, Verses 8-13

1. Could Moses have kept his hands raised (or “prayed constantly”) without the help of his friends? Can you relate to this story in any way? Discuss ways you can let friends support you when you can’t manage something by yourself. And how about you: whom do you support spiritually?

2. In this reading some people were at battle and some were at prayer. The outcome of the battle was determined by the prayer. How important do you think prayer is to the success of your ministry?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 121: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

1. Our psalmist says that the Lord is beside you at your right hand. Speak of what it is that reassures you of the Lord's protection on your journey.

2. The Psalm is about the power of prayer and of trust in the Lord. Give an example of how you have persisted in prayer and obtained the Lord's help in overcoming difficulty.

Second Reading
Letter to Timothy Chapter 3, Verses 14-17, Chapter 4, Verses 1-2

1. What task does Paul lay on you in this reading? What instruction book does he give you to carry out the task?

2. Is proclaiming the Word of God central to all the activities of the Church? To your parish? To your life? How do you proclaim the Word of God in your work?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 18, Verses 1-8

1. Jesus Christ is telling the story. What does he want to make clear to you about petitioning God? Discuss this statement: “When you pray for rain, take an umbrella” (Fr. Paul Coutino).

2. Jesus promises that God will answer our prayers speedily. Does that help your confidence? How does faith relate to persistence? How does this Gospel make you feel?

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"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"

Sunday Gospel for October 13, 2013 (28C) offers a striking image for the sacrament. Ten lepers approach Jesus, seeking cleansing. The disease not only consumed their flesh, but separated them from the worshipping community. In contrast to other miracles, Jesus does not heal them instantaneously. Rather he gives a command which, as we shall see, had a trajectory far beyond first century Palestine.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-eigth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 13, 2013 (28C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: "Why the rituals for the lepers to be cured?"

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Second Book of Kings, Chapter 5, Verses 14-17

1. Naaman was expecting special and involved treatment. Maybe he doubted the ordinary directions from Elisha to wash in the river. How could this be sufficient to cure his leprosy? Which do you think God uses more often to communicate with you, extraordinary signs or ordinary things? Explain.

2. Have you ever brought sand, shells, rocks, anything from foreign places back to your home? What does Naaman’s transporting of holy ground back to Syria say to you?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

1. Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts when we hear God's voice. Do you find it difficult sometimes to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe He is speaking to you? Give an example.

2. The psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd. Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among His flock? If so, what does it mean to you to be shepherded by the Lord?

Second Reading
Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 2, Verses 8-13

1. Name some people you think have suffered for the gospel. Who suffers for the gospel today? Do you? In what ways?

2. “I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.” How could this work? Is Paul saying that your suffering is linked with the salvation of others? Besides the ones you love, are you connected anyone in need of salvation?

Gospel

According to Luke, Chapter 17, Verses 11-19

1. The ten lepers stood at a distance, waiting for Jesus. Who stands at the margins of society today waiting to be healed or accepted? Is there any little thing that you can do to help heal a person’s wounds?

2. Here and in the First Reading it was the foreigners, Naaman and the Samaritan, who were grateful for their healing. Did God give generously regardless of gratitude or ingratitude? Do you give of yourself or your goods when you suspect ingratitude? Are you always grateful when God pours grace into your life?

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"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed"

Last Sunday’s Gospel ended with a warning from Jesus: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” This Sunday's Gospel from Luke 16: 19 - 31 tells about a man who thought that he could, but failed; to his detriment. We are enjoined to be detached from material things in order to have the freedom to fulfill God's plan for our lives.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 6, 2013 (27C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: "Is it Better to Pray or To Study the Faith?"

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

Book of the Prophet Habakkuk,
Chapter 1, Verses 2-3; Chapter 2, Verses 2-4


1. Can you relate to Habakkuk? He could no longer endure violence, abuse and oppression everywhere in the world? Where do the challenges of discipleship come for you?

2. What helps you survive misery in your life? In a tough situation, can your faith sustain you? Don’t you need to take it out and exercise it in lesser matters In order to be ready?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

1. Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts when we hear God's voice. Do you find it difficult sometimes to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe He is speaking to you? Give an example.

2. The psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd. Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among His flock? If so, what does it mean to you to be shepherded by the Lord?

Second Reading
Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 1, Verses 6-8, 13-14

1. Paul mentions some virtues: power (strength), love and self-control (wisdom). What should these look like in religious leaders today? What qualities would a strong, wise and loving leader possess? How do you measure up as a leader?

2. Discuss authoritarianism, empathy, and openness as signs of strength or weakness.

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 17, Verses 5-10

1. Is quantity an issue when it comes to faith? What did Jesus tell the apostles that an infinitely small amount of faith would do? Do you realize the power your faith contains?

2. Have you had experience with faith “moving mountains,” or as this reading has it, “uprooting mulberry trees”? Do you find that your faith can move more mountains in the spiritual realm or the material one?

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"You received what was good during your lifetime"

Last Sunday’s Gospel ended with a warning from Jesus: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” This Sunday's Gospel from Luke 16: 19 - 31 tells about a man who thought that he could, but failed; to his detriment. We are enjoined to be detached from material things in order to have the freedom to fulfill God's plan for our lives.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 29, 2013 (26C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of the Prophet Amos, Chapter 6, Verses 1, 4-7

1. Do wealth and self-indulgence necessarily go together? How are self-indulgence and complacency related to your ability to respond to the needs of others?

2. The people in this reading are complacent and comfortable. Would you choose them to be your best friends? Why? What’s missing in a person’s life if all possible time and effort is consumed with caring for his or her needs and desires? With these people at one end of the spectrum and Mother Teresa at the other, where do you fall?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 146:  7, 8-9, 9-10

1.  Our psalmist assures us that the Lord gives food to the hungry.  Describe how your spiritual hunger is satisfied by the nourishment you receive from God.

2.  The Psalm says that the Lord thwarts the way of the wicked.   Reflect on your experience and give an example of how the Lord has overcome evil that was
a threat to you.

Second Reading
First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 6, Verses 11-16

1. Elsewhere, Jesus said to Pilate, “The reason I have come into the world is to bear witness to the truth.” What do you do that bears witness to the truth? Do you think, “Lay hold of eternal life” means that you should try to grab eternal life or that you should let God grasp you?

2. How do patience, gentleness, and love relate to your bearing witness to the truth? How much gentleness do you have? Patience? Love?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 16, Verses 19-31

1. Where would you find Lazarus today? What would he or she look like? Do you recognize and care for him or her as God’s beloved child, or do you want to roll up your window when you see him or her coming?

2. How does it help you to care for Lazarus? Compare and contrast the person who takes care of the poor with the complacent person in the First Reading, who sits around drinking wine and anointing him/herself all day with the best oils?

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Thursday

"You cannot serve both God and mammon."

Christ Jesus shows an amazing ability to bring up to His level the outcast of society – the poor, the lowly, the barren. Often criticized for eating and drinking with sinners, thjis Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, our Savior shows us how to behave toward our neighbors, to understand the it is the sick who need a physician.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 22, 2013 (25C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Would you leave a job for moral reasons?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of the Prophet Amos, Chapter 8, Verses 4-7

1. Who are the poor today? Who are the powerful that take advantage of them? When you hear Amos’s words (“The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: never will I forget a thing they have done!”), what comes to your mind? What can you do to help correct an unjust situation?

2. Israel’s covenant, which required the love of neighbor, was on a collision course with the behavior in this reading. What drives people to be oppressive and exploitive? Compare and contrast greed with love of neighbor.

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 113: 1-2, 4-6, 7-8

1. Our Psalm reminds us that the Lord on high reaches down to our human level to lift us up. How can it be that our God, who is exalted above
all nations, is willing to stoop to our lowly level and show concern for us?

2. What does it mean when our psalmist says that God raises up the lowly from the dust and seats them with princes?

Second Reading
First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 2, Verses 1-8

1. Paul was appointed preacher and apostle to take the good news to the Gentiles. Explore the meaning of this fact. How can you take this message beyond the sphere of the Church?

2. Paul asks prayers for kings and authority. Do you think the Church should address political, economic and social problems? Do you address them?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 16, Verses 1-13

1. Was the unjust steward dishonest or just clever? How would the kingdom of God benefit if you were more resourceful about promoting it here on earth?
2. Can you think of one way you can be more resourceful in your spiritual life?


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Sunday

"He was lost and has been found."


On Sunday, September 15, 2013, the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C), the theme of the Gospel reading from Luke 15: 1 - 32 is God’s mercy. Our Lord gives us three parables about the eternal mercy of God. 

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 15, 2013 (24C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."

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

Book of Exodus, Chapter 32, Verses 7-11, 13-14

1. Moses convinces God not to destroy the Israelites with wrath. What is it about the covenant that lets Moses do this? Do you try to talk God into doing things? In a covenant do both parties have a say?

2. God was faithful to the covenant even though the Israelites were not. How does that relate to you? Could anything change the fact that God loved you into being and loves you more than you can imagine?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

1. Our Psalm is King David's mea culpa,his personal confession to God. Speak of how the verses of the Psalm inspire you to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

2. Our psalmist pleas with the Lord not to take from him God's Holy Spirit. Tell of how you also rely on the Spirit in your daily life.

Second Reading
First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Chapter 1, Verses 12-17

1. Paul goes from foremost sinner to foremost preacher. How does his conversion demonstrate God’s forgiveness and mercy? Is God patient today with whole countries? With the Church? With you?

2. Your struggle to live in relationship with God and others. Do you have to be patient with yourself in this effort?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 15, Verses 1-32

1. “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” Why did he not punish the young man? Will this encourage the son to run away again?

2. Imagine a continuum with the father’s welcome at one end and the older son’s reluctance at the other. Where does your way of welcoming fall?

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"Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions"


In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus talks about making a commitment and following through. In this case it is the most basic commitment - to become a disciple. Jesus tells us exactly what it costs to be a disciple. He doesn't hide it from us. He tells right up front that it will cost everything. It means putting Jesus ahead of any human relationship.


Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 8, 2013 (23C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings  
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Do we adore "Bling?" more than God?

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

Book of Wisdom, Chapter 9, Verses 13-18

1. The writer says that it is hard enough “to guess what is in our grasp, let alone the things of heaven.” Can you relate to that statement? Is there anything you are uncertain about in the political arena in your country? Is there anything uncertain in your spiritual life?

2. Does God give you help when you are uncertain? Which does God prefer from you, perfect certainty—or your best guess, trusting in God?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 90: 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

1. The Psalm speaks of 'numbering our days aright.' What are you doing to make your days on earth count for something in the eyes of the Lord?

2. Our Psalm carries a strong message that our human lives are fleeting but that God is eternal. How are you preparing to be in God's presence forever?

Second Reading

Letter of St. Paul to Philemon, Verses 9-10, 12-17

1. How did Paul bring about a change or a conversion in Onesimus? What part does love play in any change for the better? Does love work any change in your life?

2. Slavery was an accepted institution in Paul’s time, but he states a revolutionary idea anyway. There are no divisive social barriers in Christ. Are there social institutions today that create social divisions, even divisions in the Lord?

Gospel

According to Luke, Chapter 14, Verses 25-33

1. Why would Jesus tell us about the high cost of discipleship? In getting rid of possessions, Jesus was a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Where do you think you fit? Do you want to move your number up a little higher? How?

2. Is following Jesus a one-time choice or do you have to make it daily? Which would you rather have, all the possessions you could ever want without Christ or Christ and no possessions? Think about it. Can you name some people who lived/live in Christ and possess/ed nothing?

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"For every one who exalts himself will be humbled."

We continue the theme of last Sunday's Gospel about the Kingdom, which “the Father is pleased to give”. (Luke 12:32). On this Sunday’s reading (Luke 12:49-53), our Lord describes the Kingdom as like a “fire” of God’s love, with which he wished all the hearts to be inflamed and which he himself had ignited during Calvary’s “baptism.” To live in the Kingdom requires an act of conviction which brings division.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 1, 2013 (22C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?

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

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First Reading
Book of Sirach, Chapter 3, Verses 17-18, 20, 28-29

1. The Latin word humus meant “earth.” Use this meaning as a springboard and make up your own definition of humility.

2. Name someone you think as a truly great person. Is that person humble? What does humility look like in them?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 68: 4-5, 6-7, 10-11

1. Our psalmist speaks of a 'bountiful rain' from the Lord, showering down upon us. Tell of how you have been restored by God's living water when you were parched and thirsty for His presence.

2. The Psalm says that God 'leads forth prisoners to prosperity.' Have you been set free from sinful habits or worldly attachments by the Lord's healing hand? Explain.

Second Reading
Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verses 18-19, 22-24

1. Aren’t you glad we are not coming to gloomy darkness, a storm, or a blazing fire? But what is this city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering? What is the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven? What do you feel in these words?

2. What does it mean to say that Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant? What is the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 14, Verses 1, 7-14

1. Do the poor, crippled, lame and blind have a “right” to enter the banquet? Who do they represent in this parable? Does anything cripple you or make you blind?

2. Discuss the fact that Jesus experienced all our human pain along with us in order to help us get to the banquet. Do you feel any responsibility to help other people get there?


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Thursday

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate"

Last Sunday, our Lord left us with the challenge to be decisive for the Kingdom and to stand for him. Continuing the Gospel of Luke (Luke 13:22-30) on Sunday, he makes clear what decisiveness and standing for him means: “Enter into the narrow door.”
 
Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 25, 2013 (21C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Lukewarm Catholic or on-fire Protestant? What's better?

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 66, Verses 18-21

1. The Israelites were the chosen people. They remain so. But God extended the same “chosenness” to others. How has this worked out through the ages? Have Christians always honored their ancestors, the Jewish people?

2. It was God’s plan to save all humankind from the beginning. What can you do to make others welcome? What encourages exclusivity? Can you think of anything your parish or the Church in general could do to be more inclusive?

Responsorial Psalms

Psalm 117: 1, 2

1. Our Psalmist is inspired by the power of God's love toward us. Speak of how God's love and mercy have done a work in your life.

2. The Psalm prompts us to witness to those who may be distant from us spiritually. Give an example of how you proclaim the Good News to those who may not know God.

Second Reading
Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verses 5-7, 11-13


1. The second reading says that we should “strengthen our drooping hands and our weak knees.” What happens to athletes who don’t work out? Can you become spiritually “flabby?” Do you ever “exercise” spiritually on your own? How? What good does St. Paul say will come from such “discipline?”

2. From what you know of the lives of the saints, did/does God handle the saints with “kid gloves”? Does God handle you with kid gloves? Would you like that? What is the relationship between God’s love and hardships along the spiritual path?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 13, Verses 22-30

1. “We ate and drank in your company.” Is a membership in a particular church an automatic “opening” of the narrow gate? What opens the narrow gate for you?

2. Can people of all religions receive grace? Is the narrow gate open to all of humankind? Discuss.

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"You also must be prepared"

The Gospel reading this Sunday continues the theme of last Sunday’s teaching on what life is all about. From his admonition to detach ourselves from material possessions, the Lord now exhorts us to seek God’s Kingdom, urging us to remain faithful and vigilant; prepared for the coming of the Lord (Luke 12:32-48).

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 11, 2013 (19C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: What is Faith?"

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Wisdom, Chapter 18, Verses 6-9

1. What gave the Israelites the courage to begin their journey into the unknown desert land? Are you certain enough of God’s covenant with us that you can carry out a “leap of faith”? How do you make smaller leaps, maybe hops, of faith in your everyday life?

2. Besides their covenant with God what else do the Jewish people celebrate in this reading? How does the reading look ahead?

Second Reading
Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verses 1-2, 8-19

1. God promised Abraham that he would have many descendants. What do you think Abraham was thinking about during his nightmare test offering of his only child? How is your trust? Can you relate to this story in any way?

2. Abraham was called to an unknown country. Do you feel you are on uncharted faith-ground sometimes? Who helps you with certainty and responsibility in these unmapped areas of faith? Why would God ever call you to unknown places? What tests your faith?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 12, Verses 32-48

1. Jesus promised his disciples (and us) the kingdom. What is the treasure? What do you have to do to make it yours? In the parable the master knocks on the door and expects the servant to be waiting for him and let him in. Will you be ready when Jesus knocks on your door? How might you prepare to make sure you are always ready?

2. “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” What does that mean to you? Where do you want your heart to be?

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"Take care to guard against all greed"

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 4, 2013 (18C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Does God want you to be rich?"

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1, Verse 2; Chapter 2, Verses 21-23

1. Think of the “toil and anxiety of heart with which you labor under the sun.” Is there m more of it than you want in your life? How can you balance the toil and anxiety with what makes you happy?

2.This reading is about priorities. Do yours occasionally need to be rearranged? Do you take time to work? Pray? Be with family, friends? Read? Laugh? Play? Do you neglect any of these areas? Why?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:  3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

1.  Our Psalm Response this Sunday is, "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts."  How would you apply these words to the Psalm's message about using our time wisely?

2.  The Psalm ends with a petition that the Lord will "prosper the work of our hands!"  How do we be sure that our work will gain the favor of the Lord? 


Second Reading
Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, Chapter 3, Verses 1-5, 5-11

1.”Seek what is above.” What do you seek? Where do/will you look for it? Is what your country seeks something from “above”? What would you like to see the Church seek?

2. Christ is your life. Does that mean you will never have trouble with what St. Paul calls “your earthly parts”? He gives a long list of them (passion, evil desire, etc.) How do you let Christ help with ”putting those parts to death”?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 12, Verses 13-21

1.This Gospel discusses people “who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” What do you think “matters” to God? In what would you like to be rich?

2. Many would determine your worth as a person by the greatness of your house or your portfolio or the make of your car. What is the key factor in helping you determine the worth of a person? Can anyone have much and still give much?

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Friday

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive."


“Teach us how to pray,” the disciples asked Jesus in the Gospel for Sunday, July 28, 2013. This is the longing of our souls. We want to pray. We want to be with God.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 28, 2013 (17C)
From the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings 
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
Burning Question: Should we hold hands during the "Our Father?"

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Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
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First Reading
Book of Genesis, Chapter 18, Verses 20-32

1. Abraham keeps bargaining with God. What do you learn about God in this story? How does God respond to Abraham’s persistence? What does this tell you about God’s justice and mercy?

2. What do you learn about Abraham in the story? What behavior of his would you like to imitate? What is each one, God and Abraham, willing to do because of their covenant?

Responsorial Psalms
Psalm 138: 1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8

1. Our psalmist affirms that God answers our needs, "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me." Give an example of how your prayers have been answered at a critical time in your life.

2. The Psalm reminds us that although the Lord is exalted, He sees the lowly. What is it that gives you confidence that the Lord will not forsake you, even though He is exalted and you are among the lowly ones.

Second Reading
Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, Chapter 2, Verses 12-14

1. Christ took us as partners when he “obliterated the bond against us.” He tore down the wall so God could establish a new covenant with us. What does this covenant mean to you? Does it affect your prayers when you are asking God for something?

2. Jesus nailed all that separates us from God to the cross. What does that mean to you?

Gospel
According to Luke, Chapter 11, Verses 1-13

1. Do you get the impression that you will really have to do some fast talking or that God is just waiting for you to ask so he can give you what you need? Jesus refers to the Father giving the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit know about your needs?

2. How are God and the sleeping father in the parable similar? How are they different? Do you have confidence that God will hear you when you knock on his door? What do the readings this week do for your confidence?

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