February 19th, 2012 (see other dates)
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What are some of the new beginnings you have made in your life? What difference did these new beginnings make? Why do we need new beginnings in our life of faith?
How does the sacrament of Reconciliation help us to hear God saying to each of us, "Your sins I remember no more?"
Reading 1 Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25
Reading 1 ReflectionIn this reading we hear the Lord announce, through the prophet Isaiah, a new exodus by which God's people will return home. They have been in exile in a pagan land. But now they are to forget their former sinfulness that was the cause of their exile. "See, I am doing something new!" the Lord promises. He will make a smooth path for them and they will once again be free to worship him in their own land.
Like the Israelites before us, we rejoice over God's merciful words: "Your sins I remember no more."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How do you respond when someone does not keep his or her word to you? Why? Whose word can you always count on? How do you know?
What does it mean for you to always be "Yes" to God's
word? Who or what might help you to be that "Yes?"
Reading 2 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Reading 2 ReflectionOnce again Paul is writing to the Christians at Corinth to straighten out some misunderstandings between them. Some have accused him of changing his mind about his commitment to them. However, Paul insists that he, like God himself, is faithful. Like the Son of God's message, Paul's message is always "Yes" to God's word.
By their Baptism, the Corinthians have received the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they too can say "Yes" to the truth of God's promises.
Discussion Questions for GospelHow have you sometimes used your imagination and your skills to help others? Who has helped you in a way that you will always remember? Why is it important for followers of Jesus never to give up on trying to help others?
Why do you think Jesus forgave the man's sins before he healed his body? If you had been there, what might you have said to the authorities who criticized Jesus?
Gospel Mark 2:1-12
Gospel ReflectionFour friends of a paralyzed man in today's gospel story prove that "Perseverance pays off." Jesus is surrounded by such a crowd that the only way to reach him is through the roof. The friends lower the man through a hole in the roof and deposit him on a mat at the feet of Jesus. Their efforts are rewarded when Jesus not only heals the man but also forgives his sins.
The religious authorities accuse Jesus of blasphemy because God alone can forgive sins. But Jesus assures them that he "has authority to forgive sins on earth." They are temporarily silenced. The crowd, however, loudly praises God for Jesus' healing power.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Sealed by GodIn the second reading, Paul tells us that God has put his seal upon us, that we belong to him. As a reminder of this, have the children make seals. Give each child a circle cut from white construction paper or tag board. Write the word God in the center of the circle. Have the children decorate the seals with markers and crayons. As you pin on each child's seal, say, "(Child's name), you belong to God."
A Gospel PlayIn the gospel, we hear a miracle story of how Jesus heals a man who cannot walk. Have the children act out this story using craft-stick characters. Give each child two craft sticks. Have them draw faces on each one. Tell them to select one to be Jesus and one to be the paralytic. Provide small squares of fabric or paper to be used as the paralytic's mat. Read the gospel, having the children act it out with their props as you read.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Drawing Something NewLook again at the first reading. Read aloud the lines "See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Consider what new thing, what new sign of God's love, justice, or peace, you would like to see spring forth in the world today.
Make a drawing that expresses your hope for God's "new thing" in our world.
Taping a Gospel StoryWith your family, class, or friends, plan an audio taped or videotaped enactment of today's gospel story. Select a narrator, assign various roles, and have members of the crowd improvise responses to the action throughout the story.
If videotaping, make humorous masks or use face painting to emphasize the character of Jesus, the paralytic, the four friends, the religious authorities.
Plan to share the tape with the elderly in nursing homes or with other groups in the parish.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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