September 27th, 2015 (see other dates)
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1There are many spiritual gifts at work in the parish. Among these gifts are: preaching, teaching, healing, celebrating, counseling, peacemaking, and leading. What examples of spiritual gifts have you observed in your parish? What gifts have you shared with the parish community? Why is it important that Christians follow Moses' example of generously sharing their gifts?
If you could have any one spiritual gift in abundance, what would you want it to be? Why? Who or what might help you to grow in this gift?
Reading 1 Numbers 11:25-29
Reading 1 ReflectionJust as people sometimes envy their neighbor's possessions, they may also envy the spiritual gifts of others. This story about Moses is a wonderful example of a religious leader who wanted to share his gift of prophecy with many others. However, some of the Israelites are jealous of Moses' gift. They want it to be kept by the privileged few. Moses tells them that he wishes the Lord would bestow his spirit on all the Israelites.
We can follow the example of Moses by sharing our gifts generously in the Church, and by avoiding any envy of those whose gifts may appear to be greater than our own.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Look back over James' letter. What one statement do you think is the most effective warning to the unjust rich? Why? What do you know about how migrant farm workers are sometimes treated unjustly? In what other occupations might workers be mistreated or cheated of just wages? How do you think a worker who has been cheated by a rich employer might feel about this reading?
In what ways do you share material goods with others? How do you think people your age can strengthen themselves against the temptation to gain riches unjustly?
Reading 2 James 5:1-6
Reading 2 ReflectionOnce again Saint James is warning Christians about practicing the faith they profess. The rich who crave for expensive possessions and store up wealth for themselves should fear God's judgment. Those who gained their wealth by cheating their workers should weep and repent. James compares those who live in selfish luxury with calves fattened for the slaughter.
This harsh warning needs to be heard by all Christians who live in a materialistic society. We are not to steal from or cheat others of a just wage. Whatever money and possessions we have are to be shared with those in need. By doing so, we "store up riches in heaven" (Matthew 6:20).
Discussion Questions for GospelRecall some of your experiences of having substitute teachers in religion or other classes. How did you and your classmates treat these substitutes? Why? When new pastors or other parish leaders arrive, how do you think they should be treated? How might we apply what Jesus says in today's gospel to the ways in which we support those who serve in his name?
In what ways can people your age give a good example to young children at home, at school, or in the community?
What does Jesus say about those who lead the little ones astray?
Why do you think Jesus uses exaggerated examples to call our attention to how our bodies can lead us into sin? Name some of the ways you have used your hands, feet, and eyes to help make God's reign visible to others.
Gospel Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Gospel ReflectionLike Moses before him, Jesus wants God's healing power to be shared by as many as possible. When a disciple complains about a man who is healing in Jesus' name but who is not one of their company, Jesus assures him, "Anyone who is not against us is with us.? Doing good is not to be restricted to an exclusive few. Giving good example to the "little ones" or those of simple faith will be rewarded. Anyone who leads them astray deserves punishment.
Since our hands, our feet, and our eyes can lead us into sin, we are to use them in ways that honor God's Kingdom of love, justice, and peace. By doing so, we help to make God's reign visible in our midst.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Sharing Our GiftsWrap a box to look like a gift, but make the top easy to remove. Ask the children to name some of the gifts that God has given them. Then give the children some clay and have them create a symbol of their gift. Call each child up one at a time and have him/her show the symbol he/she made, tell what it represents, and tell how he/she can share that gift with others. Then have that child place his/her clay symbol in the box.
Honoring God with Our Hands, Feet, and EyesAsk the children to think of ways they can honor God using their hands. Then provide them with the outline of a hand and have them write or draw this on the hand. Do the same for feet and eyes. Place these on a bulletin board or around the room to remind children that we must use our bodies to honor God.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Sharing Our GiftsAre you aware that you have been given, like Moses, certain spiritual gifts? With your partner or small group, go over the following list. Help each other recognize how these gifts are present in your partners or group members.
Then describe in writing one specific way you will use these gifts this week to serve God and others.
1) The gift of prophecy
One of the meanings of prophecy is to speak, sing, or dance with enthusiasm in praise of God.
How might you use this gift?
2) The gift of healing
One way of healing others is to listen patiently and with compassion to their troubles and complaints.
How might you use this gift?
3) The gift of prayer
One way of practicing this gift is to offer faithful intercessory prayer for people who are sick, homeless, addicted, or cut off from others. How might you use this gift?
Recognizing True RichesMedia advertising often makes it difficult for people to recognize true riches. Design a web site, a bingo or other board game, or a billboard that helps young people to recognize true riches. Focus on one of the following categories of riches.
The riches of the environment (fresh air, clean water, topsoil for growing crops, species of birds and animals)
The riches of human laborers (respecting the dignity of farm workers, domestic servants, factory workers, and others)
The riches of inner beauty and strength (developing the virtues and gifts that cannot be "moth-eaten" or "corroded" like silver and gold)
Decide how you will share your completed project.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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