May 17th, 2015, Seventh Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1To the apostles, who were all Jews, the number twelve had a special meaning. It stood for the twelve tribes of Israel that together formed a national identity. What numbers can you think of that are important to our country's identity? Your family's identity? Any teams of which you are a member? Why is a group identity important?
How can we as Christians show our identity as believers in the resurrection? What songs, movies or books illustrate for you the triumph of good over evil? Explain.
Reading 1 Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
Reading 1 ReflectionDo you remember how many people had their feet washed during the Mass on Holy Thursday? Clue: It is the same as the number of Jesus' apostles. In today's reading, we see the number twelve being restored. Peter and the other ten apostles are praying over the choice of someone to replace Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus. Judas was so overcome by remorse that he had taken his own life.
Matthias, who had also followed Jesus, was chosen to share the apostles' ministry as witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. We share that call now to show by our lives that, in Jesus, life overcomes death, and good is victorious over evil.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2If you had to list five characteristics or habits of others that make it hard for you to love them, what would you say? What are some of the ways you have learned to respond to others when they are acting in unloving ways?
What Jesus story helps you to be a more loving person? Why? When you succeed in being patient, forgiving, and compassionate, what difference does it make in your life?
Reading 2 1 John 4:11-16
Reading 2 ReflectionWhat is the greatest proof of God's immense love for us? This letter reminds us that God the Father sent his only Son to be the Savior of the world. And what is the greatest proof we can give of our love for God? By loving one another as God loves us, we are giving evidence that God is living in us.
We all know from experience how difficult it can be to love others when they make life hard for us and act in unloving ways. But God's love in us makes it possible to respond with patience, forgiveness, and compassion.
How do you determine what is true?
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus says that his friends "do not belong to the world." What do you think he means by that? What are some of the forms of evil in the world that threaten Jesus' followers today? How are we called to respond to evil?
Jesus' prayer for the unity of all Christians has yet to be fully answered. In what ways does your family or your parish reach out to Christians of other churches? What ideas do you have about how your parish might form stronger bonds with other local churches?
Gospel John 17:11b-19
Gospel ReflectionHave you ever been present when a grandparent or other relative knew that he or she was in the process of dying? At such times, people often pray for those they are leaving behind and express their love for them. That's what Jesus did at the Last Supper. He knew that his friends would be full of fear and grief at his death. He also knew that they would be threatened by many evil forces in the world.
Jesus prayed to the Father to guard his friends and keep them in his name. He prayed that the Christian community would be one, just as he and the Father are one.