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Discussion Questions
21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
August 21, 2016
Anne Osdieck

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

First Reading
Isaiah 66:18-21

1. The Israelis were the chosen people. They remain so. But God extended the same “chosenness” to others. How has this worked out through the ages? Have Christians always honored their ancestors, the Jewish people? Do you think God wants your involvement in the unity of all humankind? What can you do?

2. From the beginning it was God’s plan to save all humankind. Can you help others in this plan? Are people being excluded? Can you think of anything your parish or the Church as a whole could do to be more inclusive?

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13

1. The Second Reading tells us to “strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.” What happens to athletes who don’t exercise? Can you become spiritually “flabby”? Do you ever “work out” spiritually on your own? How? What good does St. Paul say will come from such “discipline”?

2. From what you know of the lives of the saints, did/does God handle the saints with “kid gloves”? What about you—how does God handle you? Would you like softer treatment? What is the relationship between God’s love and hardships along the spiritual path?

Luke 12:49-53

1. “We ate and drank in your company.” Is membership in a particular church an automatic “opening” of the narrow gate? Is the narrow gate open to all of humankind? Can people of all religions receive grace? God is always creating you, moment to moment; do you think God ever stops offering you moments of grace?

2. Pope Francis asks, “What does Jesus mean? Through which door should we enter? And why does Jesus speak of a narrow door?”

The image of the door recurs in the Gospel on various occasions and calls to mind the door of the house, of the home, where we find safety, love and warmth. Jesus tell us that there is a door which gives us access to God’s family, to the warmth of God’s house, of communion with him. This door is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 10:9). He is the door. He is the entrance to salvation. He leads us to the Father and the door that is Jesus is never closed. This door is never closed it is always open and to all, without distinction, without exclusion, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. …

I ask you: are you Christians by label or by the truth? And let each one answer within him- or herself! Not Christians, never Christians by label! Christians in truth, Christians in the heart. Being Christian is living and witnessing to faith in prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, in doing good. The whole of our life must pass through the narrow door which is Christ.

Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Anne Osdieck

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Copyright © 2016, Anne M. Osdieck.
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Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
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