"Gather the fragments"
July 29th, 2012 (see other dates)
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What experiences have you had of sharing food in situations where it seemed there might not be enough for everyone? How might such situations be opportunities to practice trust? Look back at the reading. What one statement might help you to be a more trusting person?
How do you think this reading calls us to be grateful for our daily food, including those often unwelcome leftovers? What might this reading encourage you to do for those who have less food than you have?
Reading 1 2 Kings 4:42-44
Reading 1 ReflectionWhen unexpected guests appear at dinner time, your parents may worry about whether there will be enough food for everyone. The servant of the prophet Elisha had that same worry. How was he to feed a hundred people with food enough for half that many? But Elisha simply said, "Give it to the people to eat."
Like Jesus with the hungry crowd, Elisha trusted that God would provide. The people ate their fill and there were leftovers for another day.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2We know that there are four marks of the Church. Which of the four is Paul emphasizing in this letter? Look back at the reading to find four virtues we can practice to preserve the unity of peace. In what ways have you seen these virtues in action in your family? your school? your parish?
Why do you think it is important for the Church to reflect its unity or oneness to the world? Read aloud today's opening faith statement. How might these words inspire you to contribute to greater unity in the Church?
Reading 2 Ephesians 4:1-6
Reading 2 ReflectionThe daily news is often filled with signs of disunity and discord. On the other hand, today's letter from Paul emphasizes that all who follow Jesus share an unshakable source of unity. His words have echoed through the centuries like an anthem for the Church: "There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all."
When we live in a way that preserves this unity, we can contribute to peace and harmony in the world around us.
Discussion Questions for GospelImagine that you, your family, and friends were part of the crowd that followed Jesus up on the mountain. You are surrounded by thousands of people in an area away from the city. What expectations might you have? What concerns? How might you respond when you heard that Jesus was attempting to feed everyone on one boy's picnic lunch? What might you do when you realized what Jesus had done? How would you feel about his retreat from the crowd's acclaim?
Look back at the story. How does it encourage you to act when you feel that you have little to offer to those in need?
Gospel John 6:1-15
Gospel ReflectionWhen large crowds gather, exciting and unexpected things can happen. That's the way it was when Jesus went up on a mountain shortly before the Passover feast. He had no idea that a crowd of five thousand would soon gather around him. They were determined to hear him speak and to see what great signs he might work. Unlike his disciples, Jesus was not concerned about how this huge crowd was to be fed on a few loaves and fishes.
In familiar actions we recognize, Jesus took the bread, broke it, blessed it and gave it to his guests. When the crowd realized that everyone had been fed and there were still leftovers, they were astounded. They wanted to carry Jesus off on their shoulders and make him their king.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Living God's CallIn the second reading, Paul encourages the Ephesians to live as God calls them to live. We too are called to be humble, gentle, patient, treat others with love, and live in peace and unity.
Have the children make a collage. Provide various magazines and scissors. Have the children cut out pictures of people showing the traits listed above. Glue these onto a large poster and place this on the prayer table.
God ProvidesIn the first reading and in the gospel, God provides food for his people to eat. God provides food for us as well.
Gather the children in a circle. Sing the following song to the tune of Frere Jacques. Each time you sing the song, go around the circle letting each child name his favorite food to eat in the last line of the song.
God will always
God will always
Care for us
Care for us
He gives us plenty of food
For each of us to eat
My favorite treat
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Sharing LeftoversToday's first reading and the gospel story describe how God feeds the hungry crowds--and still has leftovers to spare.
With your group, do some Internet or other research to find out what happens to leftovers in local restaurants and school cafeterias. If leftovers are being distributed to soup kitchens or food cupboards for the poor, write letters of appreciation to all organizations involved. If leftovers are not being distributed, find out how your parish can participate.
Discuss with your family any imaginative ideas you may have about showing gratitude for God's gifts by sharing different kinds of leftovers (food, money, clothing, time, other resources). List three ideas below.
Bearing with OthersOur unity in the Church is practiced, as Paul says, "by bearing with one another through love." Using imagination and humor, role play what bearing with one another might require in each of the following situations:
1) A classmate runs into you in the hallway, knocks you down, and then refuses to apologize because he or she "didn't mean to do it."
2) Some members of the parish are angry because the pastor has changed the Sunday Mass time from nine to eight o'clock. They want your family to sign a petition to complain to the bishop.
3) At a weekend retreat, a few young people are caught sneaking out of the building at night. The youth minister is so upset that he or she wants to end the retreat early and send everyone home.
Decide how you will practice bearing with one another through love in your school and parish.
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