Whoever serves me must follow me,

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Fifth Sunday of Lent
, Mar. 25, 2012 (L5B)
From the
Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?

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

First Reading
Jeremiah 32: 31-34

1. Exterior observance can be like a stone: all outsides, with frozen insides. What would conversion be like?

2. “I will place my law within them and write it on their hearts” How does this relate to Pope Benedict’s words, “These charity workers need a ‘formation of the heart’: they need to be led to that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others?” [No. 31a in Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Deus Caritas Est].

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 14-15

1. Our psalmist King David cites the greatness of the Lord's compassion in calling upon God to wipe out his offense. Even though David was an adulterer and a murderer, he knew that he could call upon the Lord to restore him and create for him a clean heart. Does this give you confidence that no matter how serious your sins may be, you can call upon God to be thoroughly cleansed? Explain.

2. As our psalmist implies, it is not enough to call upon God to create a clean heart within us. We must also ask for a steadfast spirit, for the Holy Spirit to be sustained within us. Tell how the Holy Spirit is working within you and what you are inspired to do through the gifts of the Spirit.

Second Reading
Hebrews 5: 7-9

1. Jesus uttered “supplications with loud cries and tears” and he knows our worst pain. How does knowing that impact your own suffering? Do you have to endure suffering alone?

2. Jesus spent his life alleviating the suffering of others. Is he finished with that, or does he continue to care for suffering people today? If so, how? Are you a caretaker or are you cared for?

John 12: 20-33

1. Is there any other way for the seed to bear rich fruit other than to die? According to this idea what would it take for Jesus’ good news to spread? Where in this Gospel does the Father confirm the plan of salvation?

2. “Whoever serves me must follow me.” Follow him where? Can’t we skip the cross and go straight to the Resurrection? Can your self-centeredness die and you remain alive?

Sunday Bible Study Group

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

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont10:07 AM

    This Psalm is perhaps David’s greatest prayer,
    his mea culpa, after Nathan comes to him
    to call attention to David’s adultery with Bathsheba.
    We are shown in the Psalm that although David was
    chosen by God to be king, even David sins gravely.
    But God in his compassion and goodness
    can blot out David’s offense, no matter how grave.

    David realizes that only God, in his mercy,
    can cleanse him from his sin.
    He calls on the Lord to blot out his offense,
    knowing that the Lord, in his abundant compassion,
    will wash away his guilt.
    David’s sins, like our own,
    are offensive to God first and foremost –
    we are all born of a sinful nature

    David’s words are a prayer of repentance
    and recall for us the power of the Sacrament of Confession.
    “A clean heart create for me, O God;
    renew within me a steadfast spirit ...
    Give me back the joy of your salvation.”
    Where else can we turn when we are separated from God?
    Who else has the healing power to cleanse us?

    “Do not drive me from your presence,
    nor take from me your holy Spirit.”
    David reminds us that without the Holy Spirit
    we are ruled by the desires of this world.
    And without it we cannot bear the fruits of the Spirit,
    which we are called to do.

    The people of Jeremiah’s time (in the 1st reading)
    were given the assurance that David sought –
    they were assured that the Lord
    would forgive their evildoing, their own infidelity to God,
    and that their sin would be remembered no more.
    We can almost hear David’s loud cries
    and see his tears, as he offers this prayer
    and seeks his own inner renewal.
    When Christ was in the flesh, this is how he himself prayed,
    as we are reminded in the 2nd reading.

    David prays that God will create for him a clean heart,
    because God alone can bring about this transformation.
    We, too, are called to seek our Savior’s mercy
    for our sinful ways, especially during this Lenten season.
    We, too, are given an opportunity to be restored
    in the joy of His Salvation, to offer up what is dead
    within us, so that (per the Gospel)
    we can again bear fruit and be good witnesses for the Lord.
    In that way, we will then “teach the wicked God’s ways,”
    and our mouths will proclaim His praise.