February 5th, 2012 (see other dates)
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What things might cause you to feel like Job sometimes? What are the burdens that you can change? What are the burdens that you cannot change? Do you ever blame God for your suffering? Why or why not?
How have you experienced God's healing presence when you are suffering? What will you do to help others who are suffering know that God is with them?
Reading 1 1 Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Reading 1 ReflectionIn this reading we meet Job, a holy man who had always loved and served God well. Job had great wealth and a wonderful family. But then he suffered one tragedy after another, and lost everything, including his family. Today we hear him grieving and complaining because he does not understand why he has had to suffer so much. His heart is broken. He believes that he will never be happy again.
We all know how Job feels. Life is not always easy for us. We suffer pain, loss, misunderstanding, fear, and anger. But, like Job, we must remember God's unfailing love for us. By faith, we praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How do you show that sharing the message of Jesus is important in your life? Why is that sometimes difficult to do? Who helps you to be faithful to the gospel in hard times? In what ways have you been good news for those who are weak in faith or in hope?
How might you share the message of Jesus with a younger brother or sister? With an elderly person in a nursing home? With a newcomer to your school?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Reading 2 ReflectionThe Christians at Corinth have been complaining again! They are unhappy because Paul has asked for their support. In his reply to them, Paul rather huffily tells them that preaching the gospel is not always easy but he has to do it. The message of Jesus is so important that Paul has willingly made himself "a slave" to all to win as many people as possible to the gospel.
We too are called to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. Sometimes that will be difficult, as it was for Paul. But we need to remember that many around us are brokenhearted and without hope. They experience the misery of which Job complained. And they need our help.
Discussion Questions for GospelWhen you are busy or tired, how do you respond to family members who want your help or attention? Why is it sometimes hard for us to respond to others' needs? Who or what can remind us to be more loving and patient with others around us?
When you hear about people who are sick, lonely, or discouraged, what do you do? How do you think today's gospel story might inspire you to be more like Jesus?
Gospel Gospel Mark 1:29-39
Gospel ReflectionMark describes for us how Jesus' day begins and ends with taking care of others. He heals Simon's mother-in-law, he cures others who are sick, he drives out demons from those who are possessed. He comforts the downhearted and discouraged. The crowds follow him wherever he goes. Even when he goes off to a lonely place to pray and be renewed, Jesus is tracked down by his disciples who say, "Everybody is looking for you!" Without complaint, Jesus responds at once by heading for the nearby villages to heal and preach and comfort.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
A Healing GardenIn today's gospel, Jesus heals many people. We, too, can do our part to help others feel better when they are ill.
Make bouquets. Cut out flower shapes from colored construction paper and glue them onto craft sticks. Give one to each child. Have the children decorate the flowers with sequins, glitter, stickers, or other materials. Place these in individual plastic or paper cups filled with floral foam. Encourage children to share the bouquets with someone who is not feeling well or bring them to a hospital to be distributed to patients.
Places for PrayerIn the gospel, we hear that Jesus went off to a deserted place to pray. We are called to pray, too. Lead the children in a discussion on ways in which we can pray. Include in the discussion examples of places where prayer can take place, such as in church, in the classroom, around the dinner table, in the bedroom, outside on the playground.
Make a collage of favorite places to pray. On a large piece of paper or poster board, write or draw a picture or symbol for each place mentioned in the discussion. Have children choose which place is their favorite place to pray and have them put a thumbprint next to that picture.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Drawing a CartoonRead again Job's complaints about his suffering, his restlessness, and his lack of hope. Consider how a cartoonist might help Job to "lighten up" by depicting him in a humorous way.
Draw your own Job cartoon that might help others who
are sorrowful to remember that no matter how bad things look, "the Lord heals the brokenhearted."
Responding to Others' IllsDecide with family members how you will set up a small shrine in a central location. The shrine will serve as a reminder to respond to others' ills, needs, and complaints. Family members may respond by praying for and/or serving those whose names are placed in the basket. Here are some items you might want to have at your shrine.
Imagining Jesus' PrayerLook again at today's gospel story. Imagine that you are Jesus. You have risen early and gone off to the desert to be alone. What might your prayer be? Write it here.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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