Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chriostai Notes for the Fourth Week of Easter.

Meditations from Last week:

1. Interested in the notion that Christ gave us his faith (pistis Iēsous)?
read these

Chapter's 6 and 7 - a western scholarship viewpoint

and if you really want to go deep

with more to come after a response from Fr. Evan.

First Reading — Acts 4:8-12 8 

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a cripple, by what means this man has been healed, 10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Discussion Questions:

1. Peter says that it was Christ who healed the crippled man. “He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” Yet the one who saves is not a mighty warrior, but a lowly shepherd. How does that relate to the opposite belief that evil can only be corrected through force? What might a police force learn from this reading?

2. In this reading Peter responds to people trying to discredit Jesus’ message. Do you see efforts to discredit Jesus’ message in the world today? Name some. How can you help bring God’s saving grace to a world/neighborhood in desperate need of healing?

3.How do you respond to Peter’s statement that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”? 

4. Explain why this must be true. (A helpful reference is Mission of the Redeemer, paragraph 5)

Second Reading — 1 John 3:1-2 

1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Discussion Questions:

1. What gifts have you received as a child of God? What gifts have you received today from God?

2. God is always present, hovering over us like a mother hen. Why does God not just jump right in and save us from all the messes we get into?

3. Children usually manifest some characteristics of their parents. As a child of God which characteristics of the Father would you like to see become prominent in your life? 

4. What is the most outstanding benefit of being God’s child? 

Gospel Reading — 1 John 3:1-2 

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

Discussion Questions:

1. Besides suggesting that priests stay close to the marginalized by being, as Pope Francis put it, “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep” (Homily for Chrism Mass, March 28, 2013), he also said that
The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.          
                                                                                  Evangelii Gaudium, 88
How do those statements relate to Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd?

2. Jesus said, “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus applies the Trinitarian love-recognition between him and his Father to the recognition between himself and his own. What does this tell you about how well you are known and how much you are loved? For whom will you lay down your life?

3. Who are the “other sheep” to whom Jesus was referring? What “fold” was he referring to? 

4. What helps you to listen to his voice? 

5. What new thing have you learned about Jesus from this passage?

Tá Críost éirithe!

Chriostai notes for the Third Week of Easter

Followup Meditations from Last week:

1. How do we say Yes to God's call in our daily lives? How do we open our spiritual eyes to see the opportunities that God brings us?

2. When people are in doubt or even get to disbelief, how can we continue to be witnesses to the Gospel?

First Reading
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant[b] Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.             17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

1. In the history of the Church can there have been human decisions that were made in ignorance? The present day Church has apologized for some decisions. What can we learn from this?

2. Is the point of this reading to lay blame for the suffering servant’s death, or to tell us that sin can be erased and the offenders can be raised to new life by the same power that raised Jesus to life?

3. What do John’s message in the second reading, and this message of Peter’s have in common? How are they different? 

4. Why would these messages be perceived as being “hopeful”?

Second Reading

1 John 2:1-5a

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:

1. John says in this reading that “(Christ) is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” And Luke’s gospel (Gospel), “ … that repentance, forgiveness of sins, would be preached in (Christ’s) name to all the nations.” From these statements would you guess that Christ came to save forty-four thousand people? Most people? All people?

2. Discuss Pope Francis statement regarding today’s Second Reading from St. John’s letter:
The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists.
Homily at Mass, May 22, 2013

3. Illustrate the role of an “advocate.” 

4. Define “expiation.”

35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,[b] 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and[c] forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

1. He appeared in their midst. But why did Jesus say, “Peace be with you” to his disciples? What was the emotional atmosphere in the group at that time? Are there times in your life when you are distraught and you need some peace? Does it help you that Jesus has experienced trials like yours? Did God take our flesh because he needed to do so, or because it was us who needed him to?

2. What was the disciples’ task, having recognized the risen Lord, and seeing that he “opened their minds to understand the scripture”? Is our task now to preach the good news of God’s forgiveness to all nations? How can we do that globally? What about locally or in our neighbor-hoods?

3. Why was (is) it important to know that Jesus’ body was real? 

4. How can this passage affect your view of the Old Testament? 

5. Give an example of a mind not opened to these things. 

6. What makes being a “witness to these things” most difficult for you?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Chriostai Notes: Second Week of Easter

Followup questions from Last week:

How can we encourage companionship and walk a closer walk with each other as we walk towards Christ?

How can we encourage each other, bear each others' questions, doubts, fears, challenges throughout the week, maybe even daily?

How do we walk the discipleship of Christ out with our brothers and sisters? What does this mean for the three, the twelve and the 120?

Discussion Questions for this week

First Reading

32 Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need

1. The treatment of possessions by the community in this reading is the early Church’s response to Christ’s life, death and resurrection. How does your treatment of possessions compare with theirs?

2. Who are the needy in your immediate life? Can you take care of at least some of their needs? What, if anything, can you do about the needs of people in your extended world? If you joined forces with another person or group could you do something to alleviate some needs of these people?

3. What are the evidences that major transformation has taken place within the disciples? 

4. How would you respond if you met a group of people like these early believers?

Second Reading

1 John 5:1-6

1 Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood.

1. Are you a Christian because of what you have done or what Christ has done? Which is more important, belief in Jesus or performance of good deeds? If you believe deeply and personally in Jesus will good deeds spring from that belief and love?

2. “ … We know that we love the children of God when we love God. … ” Love of God presumes love for others. If these two loves are so connected and if one always results in the other, does it matter which comes first? 

3. Why do you agree, or disagree, with the statement, “his commandments are not burdensome”?

ospelJohn 20:19-31

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

1. Making peace between God and the world was Jesus’ Easter gift to us. Do we have a part in helping spread that peace? Discuss Pope Francis’ statement regarding peace.
Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! May the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.
Easter Sunday Mass, Vatican, March 31, 2013

2. What is the significance of Jesus’ breath when he gave the disciples the Holy Spirit? Do you receive the same Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation? Does the Holy Spirit act differently in you than in them? Jesus empowered his disciples with his Spirit so they could pass the gift of peace on to others. Is peace related to forgiveness of sins? How?

3. What is the relationship between the disciples’ having been sent, and their forgiving sins? 

4. Was Thomas’ response commendable or not? How much should we rely on our own validation of truth? 

5. Why do you think these other signs were not recorded? 

6. What do you think John means by, “you may have life in His name”? 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Join Us For Easter Sunday

Good Friday 6:00 p.m. Stations of The Cross
Easter Sunday 11:30 a.m.- 1 hour service

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Chriostai notes 1st week of easter

First Reading (Easter Sunday)Acts 10:34a, 37-43

1. What is the significance of the word “witness,” in this sentence: “We are witnesses of all that he did”? Peter uses it both as a noun (“observer”) and a verb (“corroborate,” “testify”). So it is something you can be and do. Be: how are you a witness? Do: what is your action to witness the truth?

2. Should we witness with more than words? Peter bore witness in a different manner after the Resurrection than he did before Christ died. To what do you attribute this? Was he consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel? Is the source of strength for Peter the same source for us?

3. How do you see darkness manifest in the ordinary existence of the people in your environment? 

4. How do you feel about being a witness? What makes it difficult? What makes it easy?

Second Reading
 (Easter Sunday)
Colossians 3:1-4

1. “Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” (See later in Colossians 3 for Paul’s meaning of”above”). He says that we should put on heartfelt compassion. What does compassion look like in our immediate world and in the larger one? Discuss Pope Francis’ statement: “We incarnate the duty of hearing the cry of the poor when we are deeply moved by the suffering of others.” (The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium, #193)

2. One of Paul’s last directives is to let the peace of Christ control our hearts. How do you do that when you’re feeling confused or paralyzed with fear, or depressed? Where do you find help?

3. What does “your life is hid with Christ in God” mean to you? 

4. What have you found helpful to enable you to “set your minds on things that are above”?

ospel (Easter Vigil & Easter Sunday)
Vigil: Luke 24: 1-12 
Easter: John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12

1. The same women who came to anoint his body in the morning had been with Jesus when he died. Were they deterred from their task by fear or an immovable stone? Compare and contrast their behavior with the actions of some of Jesus’ other disciples. Think about events like the Selma march, Isis beheadings, and people like Gandhi and Dorothy Day. Were they stopped by fear? Where is your own courage on a scale of 1 to 10?

2. What is it that allowed John to “see and believe,” to have this kind of clarity? Does love give you knowledge about a person, or insights into their behavior? In John, Jesus said “Whoever loves me … I will love him (her) and reveal myself to him (her)” (Jn 14:21). Is there a connection between Jesus’ statement and John’s “seeing and believing”?

3. How do the responses at the tomb provide an analogy of the conversion process? 

4. What is the significance of such detail in reporting the resurrection? 

5. Through this incident, what value do you see of living your faith in companionship with other believers?