Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Chriostai Notes for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Kingdom Time.

Amos 5: 6-7, 10-15 

6 Seek the LORD and live, Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, And devour it, With no one to quench it in Bethel- 7 You who turn justice to wormwood, And lay righteousness to rest in the earth!" 10 They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, And they abhor the one who speaks uprightly. 11 Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them. 12 For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate. 13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time. 14 Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. 15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.  

1. What has Israel done to deserve the Lord's judgment (5:7, 10, 11, 12)?

2. The Lord pleads with Israel in verses 4, 6, 14 and 15. In this context, what would it mean for Israel to seek the Lord?

3.  In their complacency and security, Israel failed to grieve over the ruin of their nation (5:6). What should grieve you today about your personal life?  What grieves you about your church and your nation? Take time to pray about those things that cause you to grieve. Ask the Lord to help you seek his will in these areas.

Second Reading — Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

  1. What does “the Word of God is living and active” mean to you?

  1. Give an example of how God’s Word discerns our thought and intentions.
  2. This reading says that “the word of God … is able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” How do you feel about God knowing you better than you know yourself? Do you trust God with such personal things? And would you like to know yourself better?
  3. Do motives and attitudes color your decision-making? Are your motives and attitudes in good order, or could they use a re-alignment?

Gospel Reading — Mark 10:17-30

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” 21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

  1. Where do you see yourself in this story?
  1. How would you respond if Jesus issued the same invitation to you?
  1. What are some warning signals that would warn us that we are in danger of trusting in money?
  1. What motivations do you see for sacrificial living?
  2. Think of people you know who spend their time giving. What are they like? Do they receive the hundredfold Jesus promised to those who follow him? What happens to you when you give things up
  3. Are possessions themselves the difficulty, or is clinging to them? Or is it the inner drive to own and accumulate that is the problem? Can the unbridled desire to possess be a stumbling block to world peace or ecological sustainability? How?

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