September 22nd, 2013 (see other dates)
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1How much is "enough?" How much food is enough? How much money is enough? How many toys and games are enough? How much sports equipment is enough? How much TV watching and video-game playing is enough?
When we want more of something than is good for us or others, we call this "greed."
Families might want to sit down and discuss whether the activities they do or the things they buy reflect their true values. Some families struggle to have enough. "Doing without" is a way of life. Some families who have enough, or more than enough, try to share with those who have less. Take a look at your possessions. How might you share some of them with those who have less? What other ways can you share your "time, talent, and treasure" with those who struggle just to have enough?
Reading 1 Amos 8:4-7
Reading 1 ReflectionThe prophet Amos lived eight centuries before Christ, but the warning he issued against greed is still needed today. He calls on dishonest people who cheat others to take a good look at themselves. They are so focused on money that they cannot wait for the Sabbath or holy days to be over. They are not fair with the poor, even when it comes to selling them wheat for bread. But their greed is no secret from God. "Never will I forget a thing they have done!" God promises.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Do you remember to pray for those leaders whose decisions affect our nation's values?
How many of our government leaders?federal, state, and local?do you know and recognize by name? List them. Find out the names of those you don't know. You may want to make a poster to display their pictures and a short description of each one's job. How will you plan to pray for them regularly?
This letter states that the men "shall offer prayers with blameless hands held aloft."
This gives us an idea of the way these early Christians prayed. We can pray sitting, standing, or kneeling. We can pray with our hands folded or held "aloft"?usually palms up. In the Jewish religion and in the early Church, men (and women) prayed while standing. The Mass was offered while standing. Even sermons or homilies were given while people stood. (Saint Augustine apologizes for the length of his sermons, as he knows people are standing as they listen to him.) This custom of standing in prayer is kept today in many parishes of the Eastern Church. In the Roman Catholic Church, kneeling was introduced as a practice of penance by the Irish monks. This practice later spread to other places, including the United States. How do you like to pray? Why?
Reading 2 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Reading 2 ReflectionThis reading from the first letter to Timothy was written at a time when Christians were trying to get along with the Roman government. Wisely, they are advised to pray for those who have power over them. They hope to avoid persecution so that they can live in peace. But they also hope for the conversion of their rulers to the Christian faith.
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus has respect for money. He knows it represents the work and the livelihood of people. In our society, we need money to care for ourselves and for one another. Even though life is more important than money, robbing people is a crime. Sometimes people take money under false pretenses. They promise to invest someone's money and instead they use it for themselves. We call this and other ways of defrauding people "white collar crime." The people who do this wear shirts and ties ("white collars"), but it is still a terrible crime, especially when the poor and the elderly are defrauded of their life's savings. What do you think the prophet Amos and Jesus would say about this today?
You are probably learning to handle money. What do you do with the money you are given? Do you save some of it? Do you put some into the collection basket at church?
How do you share your money with those who have less? How do you use your money to care for yourself? How do you use your money to care for others?
A word on gambling: Gambling has become legal in more and more places in the United States. More and more states have lotteries. Some people see gambling and lotteries as a waste of money, and they never gamble. For other people, gambling is fun, especially if they win! And if they lose, they stop before they lose too much. For other people, gambling is dangerous because once they start, they cannot stop. They gamble with money they and their families need to live on. Talk to your parents about gambling. Do they gamble? Why or why not?
Gospel ReflectionJesus warns his followers today against allowing money to become their master. They must use money in an intelligent and responsible way. But they must be ever alert to the ways in which concerns about money can take over their lives. Jesus advises them to prove themselves trustworthy in dealing with material wealth. Then they will be more trustworthy in spiritual matters as well.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Prayer BookIn the second reading, Paul encourages us to pray for everyone. Make a book of prayers with the children. Have them write a prayer on a piece of paper and decorate it. Help as needed. Gather these together and place in a binder. Put this in the class library and encourage children to "read" it often.
A Box of PrayersDecorate a shoe box or similar box to be used as a prayer box. Keep this on the prayer table. With the children write several prayers, each on a separate index card. Copy some traditional prayers on index cards. Place these in the decorated box. Each week, pull out one index card and place it on the bulletin board as the prayer of the week. Each day, say this prayer with the class.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
The Greed VirusGreed for money and possessions can be like an invisible virus that sneaks into our lives. If we ignore it, the infection gets worse and may even become deadly! That's why it is important to learn to master money before it takes over as your master. Show how you will exercise your ability to master money as you respond to these questions. If several choices are given, circle the phrase that is part of your answer.
1. When I have a little or no money, I feel ______________________________________________
2. To me, a person's value (is/is not) related to how much money he or she has because _____________________________
3. When I have more money than I need for essentials, I a. spend it b. try to share it with others c. save it.
Give a reason for your answer.
4. Sharing what I have with the poor (is/is not) a problem for me because ______________________________
5. If I borrow money, I ______________________________________
6. I (mind/do not mind) wasting money now and then because ______________________________________
7. Money is (very, somewhat, not very) important to me when when I consider my future plans to ____________________
8. I will try to follow Jesus' advice to be trustworthy with money by ____________________________________
Adopt a LeaderThere are many good reasons to pray for world and Church leaders. They need God's help to make wise decisions. We want the world to be a more just and peaceful place. We want the Church to become a powerful witness to the faith it teaches. Choose a leader whom you admire or one whom you do not like. Intercede for him or her in prayer every day. Write your adopt-a-leader prayer on a separate piece of paper.
Design a colorful border around it and place it where you will see it each day.
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