November 17th, 2013 (see other dates)
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1The work of a prophet is not only to remind us of the past, but also to speak of the present in such a way as to motivate us for the future. Malachi sees the injustice around him, and speaks of a day to come, "the day of the Lord," when justice will triumph. How do these prophetic words motivate you? How will you prepare for the day of the Lord? What kind of healing are you hoping for from the Lord? How can you, as a follower of Christ, the sun of justice, be a healing presence in your own way right now?
Pray together: Jesus, Sun of Justice, let your healing rays warm our hearts. Guide us in your paths of justice and peace. Amen.
Reading 1 Malachi 3:19-20a
Reading 1 ReflectionIn today's reading, the prophet is sounding the alarm. Although God's promises have been fulfilled, many have become proud, selfish, and sinful. But the day of judgment will come. Those who do evil will not get away with it forever. Justice will surround them like a blazing oven. While the evil are "burning," the faithful will be warmed by "the sun of justice."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2In these last weeks of the liturgical year, the Church reminds us of the end of time itself, the end of the world and the beginning of God's new and eternal kingdom. How do you feel about being reminded of the end of the world? Does it make a difference in the way you live your life? Are you tempted to sit back saying, "What will be will be. I can't worry about it"? Or does knowing this world will end someday help you to make our world a more beautiful gift to the creator?
Reading 2 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Reading 2 ReflectionWhat would happen if everyone knew when the end of the world was coming? Some early Christians, who believed that Christ was coming again soon, decided to quit work and take it easy. Why build and plant if this world is about to be destroyed, they asked themselves. But they are scolded for becoming lazy busybodies and taking advantage of others. They are to work and to remain faithful, for no one knows when the end is coming.
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus says two seemingly contradictory things: "Some of you will be put to death" and "Not a hair of your head will be harmed." Jesus is warning us of terrible things that may happen. Yet because he is with us, we will not be harmed. Not even death can harm us! Jesus has taken us beyond death, and has saved our lives for all eternity. We do not know when the end of the world will come. We do not know when our own death, our own "end of the world as we know it," will come. What does your faith in Jesus tell you about the end of the world? What does your faith tell you about your personal "end of your world" that we call death? How does your faith in Jesus help you to proclaim your faith in words and actions, no matter what the consequences?
There is saying that comes from the American old West, "He died with his boots on." This means that this person died while living a full and active life, living his or her values right to the end of life on earth. Think back over the words of Jesus that you remember. (Love one another. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Thy will be done, and many others!) Which one might help you to live a fuller Christian life right now? How do you plan to "die with your boots on" while walking the way of Jesus?
Gospel Luke 21:5-19
Gospel ReflectionJesus warns his followers not to be deceived about the end of the world. The signs of the end (wars, earthquakes, famines) will occur repeatedly. Christians will be persecuted and will not be able to trust even some of their own family members. But Jesus will not abandon them. He will give them the right words to speak when they are on trial. By enduring whatever suffering comes, his disciples will be saved. Though their bodies may be persecuted, their spirits will remain unharmed.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Doorway to HeavenFrom construction paper, cut out the symbols of faith, hope, and love. Let each child place a fingerprint inside each symbol. Put these symbols on the door of the classroom. Explain to the children that each time they leave the room, they will see these symbols as reminders that we are to live our lives practicing faith, hope, and love.
Are You Ready?Lead the children in a discussion about readiness. Ask the following questions:
How do you get ready for school?
How do you get ready for a birthday party?
What will you do to get ready to meet Jesus at the end of time?
How should you live your life?
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Sun of JusticeToday's readings speak about the future and how Christians must work for justice. What does it mean to you to "work for justice"?
On a separate piece of paper, draw a large round sun. On the sun, tell how you can try to prepare for the future by doing works of justice now. (Suggestions: Justice means treating others with respect as sons or daughters of God. It means acting like Jesus did, even when that is hard to do or when it means not following the crowd.)
How can you try to carry out your ideas?
Obstacles to God's ReignWhen you think about it, there are many things about the world as we know it that we would like to see come to an end. What are some of those things? How are they obstacles to God's reign? What could you do to help end them? With a partner or a group, write ways Christians can work to eliminate one of the obstacles listed here:
rain forest destruction
poverty, hunger, homelessness
crime and violence
Note: Other issues of importance include respect for human sexuality, just treatment of older persons, and care for the unborn.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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