October 27th, 2013 (see other dates)
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Once there was a boy (we will call him Jay) who liked to play football after school with his friends. Jay was blind. Thanks to his friends, being blind did not stop Jay from playing football. Jay's friends made a rule when they played with him: Each one who caught the ball had to call out "I've got it" so Jay would know where the ball was. What do you think about adapting the rules of football so Jay could play? Was it fair? Was it playing favorites? Why or why not?
Is it important that a teacher or a parent not "play favorites?" Why? However, it is also important to meet everyone's needs, in the classroom and in the family. Yet everyone does not have the same needs at the same time. Someone may need more help or more attention at times. Is this "playing favorites?" Why or why not? Give examples from your own experience.
Reading 1 Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading was written at a time when God's people were governed by a foreign ruler. They knew only too well that human rulers often show favoritism. But Sirach reminds the people that God is a just ruler who listens to the poor and the oppressed. Those who are faithful and continue to pray will receive justice from the Lord. Whether they are rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged, God will judge them?not just by what they say, but also by what they do.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Even when his friends abandoned him, Paul writes that "The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength." People are not perfect. Have you ever been disappointed by the actions of a friend? Have you ever felt rejected or abandoned by a friend? Were you and your friend able to save your friendship or not? What would you do today if you had a problem or a misunderstanding with a friend?
Married partners must also remember that "people are not perfect," including the person they married! Marriage is a big commitment, and married people promise to stay together "for better or for worse." However, this does not mean that it is okay to LET things get worse! What would you do if you had a problem or misunderstanding with a wife or a husband? How would you try to solve it?
Say a quiet prayer now. Thank the Lord for standing by your side and giving you strength, no matter what problems or weaknesses you find in yourself or in others. Ask God to help you talk things over together with those you care about.
Reading 2 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Reading 2 ReflectionIn today's reading, Paul is again in prison waiting to be sentenced. The witnesses who might have helped to free him did not show up when he needed them. Yet he forgives them, knowing that it is the Lord who saves him "from the lion's jaws." Paul feels like a determined athlete who has earned his crown of victory. He does not fear death because he sees it as the door into God's kingdom.
Discussion Questions for GospelThe word humble comes from the Latin word humus, which means "earth." A humble person has his or her feet on the ground! A humble person sees reality, including the real person of the self. Seeing oneself as "more" (as the Pharisee did) is not humble. Seeing oneself as "less" is not humble either! How do you see yourself? What is the danger of seeing yourself as "more" in comparison to others? What is the danger of seeing yourself as "less" than others? Being humble is seeing yourself as God sees you: someone who is strong in many ways, weak in other ways, but someone who is always loveable!
Did you know that you could change some things about yourself? Make a list of "strengths" and "weaknesses." For strengths, put down what you are good at or love to do. For weaknesses, put down what is hard for you or things that can hurt or bother others. Enjoy your strengths and take a good look at your weaknesses. How can you make them stronger? If you wrote "shy," resolve to say hello to four people every day.
(At least two will probably start a conversation with you!) If you wrote "hot-tempered," then get advice from someone you trust. (Sometimes people who get angry think people are against them or their ideas, when really people are just looking for more information or understanding. Try to slow down, count to ten, and explain your thinking!)
In a small group, share your lists. Help one another with ideas for strengthening your weak points. Keep your head high, your heart full of love, and your feet on the ground!
Gospel Luke 18:9-14
Gospel ReflectionHow should we approach God in prayer? Jesus tells a wonderful parable today contrasting two ways of appearing before God. The Pharisee is proud and pleased with himself. He has "outdone" himself in abiding by religious laws. He looks down on others "less holy" than himself, and he believes that this alone will bring him salvation. But the tax collector really looks at himself. He admits that he is a sinner and begs God to have mercy on him. Because he humbles himself, the tax collector is raised high by God. The Pharisee, who does not really know God as he should, is limited in his prayer.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Prophets of Good NewsHave each child make a megaphone from construction paper and decorate it with markers and stickers. Call each child up, one at a time, and have that child use his megaphone to say something good about himself, his school, his family, his friends, his life, etc.
Seeing Others As Jesus DidMake a pair of glasses for each child from craft foam or tag board or purchase inexpensive child's sunglasses for each child. Have the children decorate these glasses with stickers, sequins, paint, etc. As the children wear these "spiritual glasses" remind them they should see the good in everyone just as Jesus did.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Justice and MercyGod is just and merciful. How can you be more like God in your relationships with others?
Merciful Forgiveness (10)
Polite Acceptance (5)
Justified Anger (1)
Your response would be:
Merciful Forgiveness (10)
Polite Acceptance (5)
Justified Anger (1)
What is your score? Why is "merciful forgiveness" hard? What do you get out of holding a grudge? Why is it hard to let go of a hurt? What is the reward (besides imaginary points!) of merciful forgiveness? How does merciful forgiveness change a situation? How does it change the person you forgive? How does it change you?
Teaching a ParableThe parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector teaches a basic lesson about prayer. With your group, plan how you might act out and teach the parable at a children?s liturgy or in an elementary classroom.
Actors Jesus ___________________
Tax Collector ___________________
Costumes and Props _______________________________
Dialogue Note: Be sure to have fun when planning your dialogue. This is especially important if you are planning to share your parable with young children.
Questions to Ask the Audience
Help the audience to understand the parable by asking a few questions about what they have seen and heard.
Make plans to "take your act on the road." To whom will you show your parable play?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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