Select Sunday  >  Sunday Web Site Home  >  Spiritual Reflections  >  Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
July 31, 2016
Anne Osdieck

Questions on Sunday’s readings for use by discussion
groups, prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23

1. Think of the “toil and anxiety of heart with which you labor under the sun.” Is there more of these than you want in your life? Can you balance the toil and anxiety with joy? In Little Women, Ch. 40, toward the end of the chapter, Louisa May Alcott says, “Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.” Discuss.

2. This reading is about priorities. Do yours occasionally need to be checked and rearranged? Do you take time to pray? Work? Be with family and friends? Read? Laugh? Play? Do you neglect any of these areas? Why?

Second Reading
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11

1. The second line of this reading says, “Seek what is above.” What do you seek? Where do you look, or will you look, for what you seek? How important is it to you to take off the “old self with its practices and put on the new self”?

2. “Here there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, etc. … ” Could St. Paul give the same speech today? How would acting as if “Christ is all and in all” solve these problems?

Luke 12:13-21

1. Many would determine your worth as a person by the greatness of your house or your portfolio or the make of your car. How do you determine a person’s worth? Is it possible for a person to have much and still give much?

2. This Gospel discusses rich people who are “not rich in what matters to God.” What do you think “matters” to God? As times change and challenges increase, do we personally and does the Church have to keep asking, “What matters to God?”

Pope Francis called an Extraordinary Synod in 2014 to identify challenges in evangelizing the family, which the Ordinary Synod would address in 2015. Here is a paragraph from near the end of the Extraordinary Synod. How does this reflect that the Church is seeking to do what matters to God, and as the Second Reading says, “what is above”?

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine.

It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
to the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod Of Bishops October 18, 2014,

Anne Osdieck

FacebookTwitter Email

Back to Spiritual Reflections

Copyright © 2016, Anne M. Osdieck.
All rights reserved.
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.
Art by Martin Erspamer, O.S.B.
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
Used by permission of Liturgy Training Publications. This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go to: