Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – Pentecost through the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Pentecost – 2nd Reading alternate, Gospel Selection A

Background: In Luke’s chronology Jesus sends the Spirit on the fiftieth day after the resurrection. In John he sends the Spirit on the evening of Easter Day itself. Whatever the chronology, the crucial point is that the Spirit is sent not upon individuals but upon the whole community which is empowered to proclaim the “marvels that God has done,” especially through sharing peace and reconciliation with all people.

Discussion Questions

  1. When do you most experience the power of the Holy Spirit within you?
  2. If you really believed that by baptism, confirmation, and the eucharist you are a child of God—even in your sufferings, how would your life change?
  3. What special gift of God do you need right now?
  4. How can you help the church bring reconciliation and peace to our world?

Practice: What whom do you need to make peace? Pray over that question, and then do it—with no promise of success.

A step-by-step guide to mystagogy

Trinity Sunday

Background: God is not distant from us but as Proverbs says, has always “found delight in the human race.” Moreover, in baptism, confirmation, and the eucharist the “Spirit of truth” is lavished upon us that daily we might be changed more and more into the image of Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  1. How have you found God present in nature?
  2. How have you found God present in others?
  3. How have you found God present in yourself?
  4. How can you help the love of God to be poured forth in your life today?

Practice: Which Person of the Trinity do you feel least connected to? During the coming week daily spend some time in prayer with that Person that you may grow more deeply in relationship.

Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Background: Just like the Trinity, the eucharist is not a static reality, a thing out there for us to gaze upon and adore. Rather, it is a dynamic reality in which the members of Christ’s Body encounter him anew by sharing the bread “that is for you” and the cup “that is the new covenant in (his) Blood”—until he comes again. Until he does, Luke points out what our job is as his members, providing abundant nourishment for all those in our world who hunger.

Discussion Questions

  1. How has Christ been nourishing you?
  2. How have you been nourishing others? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?
  3. Why do you think that you don’t make a difference? How is Christ calling you to trust his presence within you?
  4. Which people has our church or society labelled as unworthy of our concern and care?

Practice: For whom will you be Christ this week? The lonely neighbor, the anxious child, the homeless panhandler, and on and on? Reach out to at least one person in need this week—without expecting any great change or much gratitude.

Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Background: Jesus is still in Galilee, a region surrounded on three sides by a Gentile population with its own large resident population of non-Jews. Some of these people, both men and women, were very much interested in Judaism as a religion and would attend the Sabbath services in the synagogues. The generic name for such Gentile sympathizers was “God-fearers.” Such a man is the central character in today’s gospel selection.

Today we also begin our consecutive reading of selections from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. One of his earliest works, it focuses upon a question that caused major discord among early Christians: did you have to become a Jew in order to be a good Christian? Paul’s answer is no—not because the Law and commandments of God were bad but because they were meant for immature people. Mature people live according to Jesus’s two great commandments of love, aided always by God’s grace.

Discussion Questions

  1. Which people have you judged as outside of God’s favor because they don’t fit into what you think “the rules” are?
  2. How you ever experienced such judgment from others?
  3. How has Jesus been able to heal you because of your faith in him?
  4. What can you do to make your part of the world more inclusive? Be concrete!

Practice: One of the most persistent sins of Christians has been anti-Semitism. Find out if there is a chapter of the Anti-defamation League where you live, and investigate its activities. At least sign up for their newsletter.

Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Background: Jesus is still in Galilee, proclaiming the presence and power of God’s kingdom/reign not by military endeavors but by deeds of compassion. Like Elijah, he brings not death but life for those in desperation. And, as Paul says, such salvation does not come to us through observing rules or belonging to the right group but through grace and faith in the power of God at work among us.

Discussion Questions

  1. When have you felt abandoned?
  2. Who stepped forward, took your hand, and raised you up?
  3. When has trusting in Christ brought you peace?
  4. How can our church help our society do a better job of giving people a better chance in life?

Practice: Once again, find a copy of St. Ignatius’s prayer, “Take, Lord, Receive,” and ponder over and pray it this week.

A step-by-step guide to mystagogy

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Background: So many people struggle inwardly because of their image of God as Heavenly Bookkeeper, entering our good deeds down on the credit side of the ledger and our sins on the debit side. Yet all the readings today deny that image. Forgiving grace is abundant and free for all who have faith; it is also costly for, like Christ, we in turn must pour out our lives for others in love. Note especially that women too have a key part in Christ’s mission.

Discussion Questions

  1. When have you experienced forgiveness? From others? From God?
  2. When have you been hardhearted and unforgiving?
  3. How would forgiving others set you free?
  4. How does our church or society seem hardhearted and unforgiving?

Practice: There are several versions of an Act of Contrition available online. Find the one that most speaks to you and for you, and pray it daily this week.

Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Background: This Sunday’s gospel is the climax of Jesus’s ministry to the men and women of Galilee. Despite the fact that he has not fit the popular stereotype of how God’s Messiah/Christ/Anointed One was supposed to act, his disciples have come to see that as his true identity since he brings forgiveness, healing, and new life. In order to shatter that stereotype definitively, he foretells not only his own passion, death, and resurrection but also the same fate for everyone who “comes after him.”

Discussion Questions

  1. How did you come to know Christ? Who is he for you right now?
  2. Who has been the person who most revealed Christ to you?
  3. What cross does Jesus seem to be asking you to bear with him?
  4. What is keeping our world from seeing that we are all children of God?

Practice: This week while you pray, hold and contemplate a cross (not a crucifix!). Then pray one of the Acts of Perfect Charity that are available.

Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Background: In the overall plan of Luke’s gospel, Jesus’s ministry in Galilee over; now he is “resolutely determined” to set his face towards Jerusalem even though he knows that suffering that will be the cost of his victory there. And he invites us to that difficult journey with him—but only if we are willing to make that mission the first priority in life.

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are a two-volume set. Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem for his death, resurrection, and ascension there is followed by the apostles’ mission in the power of the Spirit to go out from there to the very ends of the earth. And that is still our mission!

Discussion Questions

  1. What frightens you about Jesus’s invitation to follow him?
  2. What attracts you about joining him on this journey?
  3. What might be the biggest obstacle that might waylay you?
  4. Which people are your greatest support on the way?

Practice: Pray first, and then tell someone why you love them.

A step-by-step guide to mystagogy

See also these related articles:

  1. Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 18th-21st Sundays in Ordinary Time
  2. Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 13th-17th Sundays in Ordinary Time
  3. Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – Pentecost through the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
  4. Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The Third Sunday of Easter through Ascension Sunday
  5. Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The Fifth Sunday of Lent through the Second Sunday of Easter

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