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”? 

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