February 7th, 2016, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1God's providence sends us little and big challenges. How do you meet them? Do you say, "Oh, God, do I have to?" or do you say, "Here I am, God. Send me!" Sometimes life is like a game. When the ball comes your way, isn't it your instinct to hit it, kick it, catch it, or do whatever the game requires you to do with the ball? When God sends a "ball" (a new responsibility, a new challenge, a little annoyance) your way, get in there and say, "Here I am, God. I got it!" God does not ask that you handle every ball perfectly. Like a good coach, he just wants you to try. And you do not do this alone. You are part of a team. Who will you ask for help when you need it?
Reading 1 Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8
Reading 1 ReflectionAs Isaiah describes how God called him to be a prophet, he remembers the scene as though it had just happened. In a vision, Isaiah has "seen" the Lord on a magnificent throne in the Temple. Glowing angels called seraphim hover above the throne, and the Temple shakes with their praise. Isaiah is overcome with the reality of his own sinfulness and God's holiness. He protests that he cannot be a prophet because of his "unclean lips." But an angel purifies his lips with a glowing coal from the altar. This is a sign that Isaiah is now completely worthy to speak for God. Cleansed of his sin, Isaiah answers the Lord's call by saying, "Here I am, send me!"
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Have you ever seen a picture or an icon of the resurrection? Usually it shows Jesus in blazing white robes, surrounded by light. The picture is trying to tell us that Jesus is alive and full of light and love. His new life is now more "alive" that his earthly life was. He is no longer confined to his human body. His life and love can be, and are, anywhere and everywhere. How do we "see" the resurrection of Jesus today? Where do we find his light, life, and love? Where is the living Jesus today? How can we be witnesses to his resurrection?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or 15:3-8, 11
Reading 2 ReflectionOften when we want to convince others of an important truth, we point to the testimony of the experts who believe that same truth. Paul wants to be sure that the Christians of Corinth believe in the resurrection of Jesus. If they fail to grasp that central truth, their faith will be without meaning. So Paul lines up all the important "experts," or witnesses, from Peter (Cephas) on down to himself. Paul is probably the most convincing witness of all, because Christ himself converted Paul from being a persecutor of Christians to a zealous apostle.
Who inspires you to "leave everything" and follow Jesus?
Discussion Questions for GospelFor Peter, this catch was a wonderful surprise. He was so overwhelmed that he said to Jesus, in effect, "This is too much! I shouldn't be hanging around with someone like you!" When have you been wonderfully surprised by God? How did you feel? When Jesus says, "Do not be afraid," he is preparing Peter for what is to come. "You think this is something?" Jesus could have said. "What until you see all the good we can do for God's people!" So Peter left everything and became a disciple.
You are a disciple. How can you "leave everything" to follow Jesus in prayer and service this week?