God of the Living
November 10th, 2013 (see other dates)
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Sometimes it is only in difficult situations that we really know what we believe. What has been difficult for you lately? How have you responded to the difficulty? What does that tell you about your faith in God? What do your actions tell you about yourself?
Do you truly believe that God will "raise you up to live forever"? How can you strengthen your belief?
Reading 1 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading may seem like a strange horror story. But it is an actual account of seven Jewish brothers and their mother who were tortured and killed for their faith. They were martyred during the reign of Antiochus III, a Syrian king who forced the people of God to adopt pagan religious practices. The heroes of today's reading refused to break any of the dietary laws of Moses.
The best part of the story for us is the Jewish family's faith in their own resurrection. Although they lived two centuries before Christ, their faith helped to prepare the way for his coming.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Sometimes people think that belief in Jesus will make life easier, and that blessings from Jesus will keep them from all struggle and harm. Jesus never promised a pain-free existence to his followers. Belief in Jesus did not keep the early Christians from persecution. They had to struggle, sometimes to the point of death. However, belief in Jesus gave them strength and hope. It gave them "the love of God and the endurance of Christ." Give some examples of people of faith that you know, believers in Jesus, who are struggling. Take a moment now to pray for these people. After reading this letter, what would you say to them?
"Not everyone has faith," the reading reminds us. How can you show your gratitude to God for the gift of faith? You might want to connect with a missionary who struggles to help others, either in our own country or somewhere else in the world. Support this missionary by letter or by e-mail, if possible. Try to answer some of the needs of his or her work with your prayer and action.
Reading 2 2 Thessalonians 2:16--3:5
Reading 2 ReflectionThis passage, written to the Christians at Thessalonica, a seaport in Greece, is a prayer that the faith will progress despite persecution. The writer's heart goes out to those who are trying to keep the faith. And he prays that Jesus will console and guard them.
Discussion Questions for GospelCan you imagine a resurrected life where people won't be divided, but where they will live in harmony with God and each other? How can you help those on earth and those in heaven?
Gospel ReflectionIn this reading from the Gospel of Luke, some experts in the Jewish religion try to trap Jesus. They refuse to believe in the resurrection of the dead. We can see they did not agree with Jesus. To help them go beyond their concerns about matrimony and inheritance, Jesus tells them that in the next life they do not have to get married. All our relations are centered in God.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
May God Encourage Your HeartsProvide construction paper and small heart patterns. Have children trace the heart two times on the construction paper and cut these out. Have them write "God" on one of the hearts and "others" on the other heart. Have the children string these hearts on a piece of yarn or ribbon and tie the ends to make a necklace. Have the children put their necklaces on and share one way they can show love to God and one way they can show love to others. Encourage them to wear their necklaces to remember to always show love to God and others.
More Shining StarsGive each student a star cut-out. On this star, have the student write the name of a relative, friend, or acquaintance that has died. Instruct the children take these home and make a collage on the star using photos, words from magazines, and thoughts to remember these special people. Have the students share their stars with the class and then place them on the "Shining Stars" bulletin board.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
An Everlasting HarmonyIs there a music lover who doesn't enjoy hearing several voices singing in harmony? That's the way our lives will be at the final resurrection. We will all "sound great" together with no sour notes and no voices left out. We can prepare for that life-to-come now by practicing being in harmony.
Draw a music staff of five lines with a G-clef on the left-hand side. Draw some random notes (or make up a real tune!). On the lines, around the notes, write the names of persons and groups with whom you may be sometimes "out of tune." For example, write the name of someone you do not always get along with or find hard to understand. Then, below the staff, write down some ways you might work at coming to a greater understanding of that person, or even to a complete reconciliation. Each of us is unique. It is not surprising that sometimes we may not get along. But disagreements need not turn into anger or resentment as long as we maintain mutual respect for one another. What does this mean for the relationships in your life?
Help for Our FriendsThe letters of the New Testament are filled with prayers, hopes, and encouragement for Christians as they go forward on their faith journeys. Do you know someone who needs to hear some of these inspired words? On another piece of paper, make a chart. You will need three columns. In the left-hand column, put the title at the top and line the quotations given here under one another. In the middle column, write the title Who Needs to Hear Them. In the last column, write the title How You Would Add to These Words.
After you have filled in your chart, write a letter or e-mail to a friend, using one of more of these quotes in your message.
Lines from New Testament Letters
"The Lord is faithful; he
will strengthen you and keep
you from the evil one."
(2 Thessalonians 3:3)
"May the Lord direct your hearts
to the love of God and to the
endurance of Christ."
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)
"For I have experienced much
joy and encouragement from
(Philemon v. 7)
"I am grateful to God . . . as I
remember you constantly in my prayers."
(2 Timothy 1:3)
"May the God of peace . . . furnish
you with all that is good, that you
may do his will."
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
All rights reserved.