Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chriostai Notes for Pentecost Sunday

Reflections from last week:

Reread John 17:11-19

How do we describe someone who is consecrated?

First Reading - Acts 2:1-11

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God”

1. Minutes before, the disciples were insignificant people cowering behind locked doors. Suddenly they were filled with power. They spoke with great courage and freedom
and in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them. … Devout Jews from every nation … gathered in a large crowd, but were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded … .
Using this quotation from Acts explain the birth of the Church. How did the Church “astound” the crowd on the first Pentecost? How does it “astound” now?

2. Did the Holy Spirit come only once in history, to the apostles and Mary in the upper room? Or do you see the Holy Spirit as dynamic and constant in every life? How were the disciples different after the Spirit’s arrival? Are you different when you are confident that the Spirit is with you? Explain.

3. Why do you think this first manifestation of the Holy Spirit was so distinctive?

Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free— and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

1. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”  What are your gifts and for what benefit were they given to you and those around you?

2. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez displayed different some different works. He was a Jesuit Brother (1533-1617) whose job was to answer the door of the Jesuit College in Majorca. He did this for forty years. Would his spiritual gift of service compare to that of St. Francis Xavier, who converted approximately 30,000 people or William Carey, who inspired the missionary movement of the 19th century? How?

3. What does the presence of such variety in the Church tell us about the nature of the Holy Spirit? 

4. Which of the activities of the Holy Spirit, as seen in these passages, is most meaningful to you? Why?

Chriostai notes for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

First Reading - Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. … 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘His office let another take.’ 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

1.) “Then they prayed.” Do you pray before you make important choices? Would you feel comfortable “casting lots,” throwing dice, or flipping a coin after you pray? How would you make a final choice like the one the disciples had to make in choosing someone to take the place of Judas?

2.) What provisions by Jesus for the on-going development of his Church do you see in these passages?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chriostai Study Notes for the 6th week of Easter

First Reading — Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 25 

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” … 34 And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. … 44 While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

1. In this reading the gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out on the Gentiles as well as the Israelis. Is grace available to all people? Do you listen to the Holy Spirit on a regular basis, or just now and then? How does the Holy Spirit speak to you? What discernment process do you use on the communication between you and the Holy Spirit?

2. Are there some areas that are off limits or do you invite the Holy Spirit into every part of your life?

3. What are some areas where we might think that God is partial?

Second Reading — 1 John 4:7-10 7 

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 

1. How was “the love of God revealed to us?” Had Jesus not come into the world, what would you know about God?

2. So what was the message God sent through Jesus about God’s own self? What is your response to that message?

3. What are the evidences seen in this passage of being born of God? Which ones are normative and which ones are extraordinary? 

4. How many specific truths about love can you identify? Which one is most important to you?

Gospel Reading — John 15:9-17

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 This I command you, to love one another. 

1. The one thing Jesus asks of us is that we love our neighbor. How would you rate this assignment on a “difficulty” scale from 1-10? Explain. What gift (First Reading) does God give you to help with this assignment?

2. According to Pope Francis, how can we get to know and love God?
This is the doctrine of two Commandments: the most important is “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” To get to the first we must ascend the steps of the second: that means that through our love for our neighbor we can get to know God, who is love. Only through loving can we reach love.”
Homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, January 10, 2015

3. What is the difference between joy and happiness? 

4. What is the significance of Jesus’ moving the disciples from the position of servant to one of friend? How are these relationships, servant and friend, different? 

5. To what degree do you believe that we, the members of Christ’s Church, have been “chosen” to “go” and to “bear fruit”? 

6. For you, what is the most difficult aspect of loving others? The most enjoyable aspect?