February 22nd, 2015 (see other dates)
First Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1During Noah's time, the floodwaters brought death as a punishment for the people's wickedness. For you as a Christian, what waters bring life?
For many of the world's people, water is very scarce and therefore a real luxury. We, however, may enjoy water in abundance and take it for granted. What will you do to show your respect for the gift of water during this Lenten season? Name one way you can remind others to show respect for all living creatures.
Reading 1 Genesis 9:8-15
Reading 1 ReflectionToday's reading from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells us how the story of Noah and the ark ends. Noah, his family, and the pairs of living creatures on the ark have survived the great flood that covered the earth. They have finally left the ark and emerged on dry ground. Now God has placed in the sky a beautiful rainbow as a sign of the covenant between God and his people. God promises that a flood will never again destroy "all mortal beings." Like a wedding ring, a rainbow is a sign of faithful love.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What memories do you and your family have of the Baptism of various family members? How does blessing yourself with holy water as you enter and leave the church remind you of your Baptism?
How will you express your gratitude to your parents and godparents for bringing you to the "baptismal bath"?
Reading 2 1 Peter 3:18-22
Reading 2 ReflectionThis letter was written to encourage the early Christians to remain faithful to Christ who leads us to God. The writer recalls the story of Noah and his family who escaped destruction on the ark. They sailed through the flood waters to a new life. "You are now saved by a baptismal bath which corresponds to this exactly," this letter explains.
In Baptism water is a sign of life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and conquered death so that we might enjoy eternal life.
Discussion Questions for GospelIn what ways do you want Lent to be a new beginning in your life as a Christian? What will you do to work towards these goals? Who or what might help you to experience Lent as "a new day dawning"?
Jesus stayed in the desert for forty days, praying and preparing himself for his mission. God has a mission for each of us. What can you do to learn what that mission might be? What might help you prepare yourself for that mission? What kind of "fitness training" might you do during Lent to grow stronger in resisting temptation as did Jesus did in the desert?
Gospel Mark 1:12-15
Gospel ReflectionCan you imagine a movie scene illustrating the first part of today's gospel story? Jesus is out in the desert where he is put to the test or tempted by Satan. But he is also surrounded by wild beasts and angel attendants. It must have been an interesting forty days Jesus spent preparing to proclaim the good news. "The reign of God is at hand," he announced in Galilee, and he called people to get ready for God's reign by reforming their lives.
Lent can be for us like a new day dawning--just like the one Noah and his family experienced when the flood was over. It is a time for a fresh beginning and a renewal of our covenant to live as God's people.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
A Rainbow PromiseIn the first reading, God gives Noah the sign of a rainbow as a reminder of their covenant.
Give each child 12 inch pieces of red, blue, yellow, and green crepe paper. Staple these together at one end to make rainbows with the children.
Read the passage from Genesis to the children. When the reading refers to the sign of the rainbow, have the children wave their homemade rainbows above their heads.
Forty DaysIn the gospel reading, Jesus remains in the desert for forty days. The season of Lent also lasts for forty days.
Help the children grasp the concept of forty with the following activities. Using unifix cubes or snap blocks, have the children make towers of forty cubes. Have the children take forty steps. Provide small snacks such as raisins, chocolate chips, or cereal squares. Have children count out forty pieces. Give each child forty stickers and let them create pictures with these.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Respecting the Gift of WaterDecide how you and your family, group, or class will show respect for God's indispensible gift of water during Lent.
Project One: Water as A Symbol of Baptism
How will you help others to appreciate holy water as a sacramental during Lent? Write your ideas below.
Project Two: Water as A Source of Physical Life
How will you practice and publicize ways of conserving water during Lent? Write your ideas below.
Making a RainbowUsing art and craft materials, construct a large, brightly-colored rainbow as a sign of the new day dawning at the beginning of Lent.
On each color of the spectrum, print one way Christians can be faithful to their baptismal covenant during Lent.
If you choose, make assorted baptismal symbols and scatter them across a blue backdrop for the rainbow. Examples: font, scallop shell, candle, white garment, flowing water.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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