Proclaiming Faith


Neighbors

November 4th, 2012 (see other dates)

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time




Discussion Questions for Reading 1

This statement of belief, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!" is called the Shema (Sh-mah). Shema means "hear" in Hebrew. Saying the Shema every day is a Jewish tradition. It has been passed down through thousands of years.

Do you have favorite prayers or statements of belief that you can say every day and especially in time of need? In our Catholic tradition, these have been called "aspirations" (a word that comes from aspire, meaning to breathe) because they can be prayed in one breath! Share these with one another. Choose one to say every day for a week. (Write it down and put it in a place where you will see it first thing in the morning. You could tape it to your mirror!) Then choose another one next week!

Reading 1 Deuteronomy 6:2-6

Reading 1 Reflection

Suggestion: Have one person proclaim the reading. At the words, "Hear, O Israel!,"  let the entire group join in until the end.

In this reading Moses urges his people to keep all of God's commandments. Then followers one of the most important statements in all of the Old Testament: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!" This prayer is as dear to Jews today as it was to Jesus himself and all the apostles. It is a statement of belief in the one true God. Then follows the teaching that was so important to Jesus: we are to love and serve God.

Let us ponder the words of Israel's great prayer and think of Jesus reciting it daily. Let us ask to truly hear and live its message!

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

How do you feel when someone says, "I'll be praying for you"? Being remembered before God is a wonderful gift we can give one another. This is called intercession. It is an act of love.

This reading reminds us that Jesus is interceding for us all the time! He made his great act of love in his death and resurrection, and now he includes us in that love. Jesus brings us before God in every moment. He is bringing us before God right now. What are your thoughts and feelings about being constantly brought into the presence of God by Jesus? Will this change your thoughts and actions in any way?

Reading 2 Hebrews 7:23-28

Reading 2 Reflection

This reading continues the teaching on Jesus the eternal High Priest. Unlike the priests of the Old Testament, whose priesthood died with them, Jesus live forever to intercede for us. He offers to the Father the perfect sacrifice of himself.

In every eucharistic celebration, we share in Jesus' eternal sacrifice. Let us ask to take part in this celebration with deep faith, hope, and love for God and one another.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

God is our Father. What are some specific ways we can express our love for God by loving our brothers and sisters? Name some ways or times that loving others is a joyful experience. Name some ways or times that loving others can cost us time, effort, and inconvenience.

Gospel Mark 12: 28-34

Gospel Reflection

In this reading, Jesus is asked to name "the first of all the commandments." In the first part of his reply, Jesus quotes the words from today's first reading: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Then Jesus adds another commandment from Leviticus 19:18: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus made the two commandments one. We now call this the Great Commandment. Loving God and loving neighbor cannot be separated. We love God by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. The proof and measure of how we love God is shown in how much we love others.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Show Your Love for God and Others

Provide construction paper and small heart patterns. Have children trace the heart two times on the construction paper and cut these out. Have them write "God" on one of the hearts and "others" on the other heart. Have the children string these hearts on a piece of yarn or ribbon and tie the ends to make a necklace. Have the children put their necklaces on and share one way they can show love to God and one way they can show love to others. Encourage them to wear their necklaces to remember to always show love to God and others.

Keep These Commandments

Teach the children the following song to the tune of London Bridges Falling Down.

Love the Lord with all your heart,
With all your soul, with all your strength.
Love the Lord with all your heart.
Keep this commandment.

Love your neighbor as yourself,
As yourself, as yourself.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Keep this commandment.


Proclaiming Faith Activities

Jesus Prays to God for Us

The second reading tells us that Jesus makes intercession, or prays, to God for us always. On a separate piece of paper, draw the outline of a book, with a left-hand page and a right-hand page.

On the left-hand page, write a prayer that you think Jesus might offer to God for you.

On the right-hand page, write a prayer that you think Jesus might offer for the world's needs today.

Then think for a moment about your needs, your weaknesses, your hopes, and your dreams. How will you try to make Jesus' prayer a reality in your life?

The Great Commandment: A Dramatization

Read again today's gospel. Then create your own dramatization of the scene. Role-play it with your family.

Narrator: One day as Jesus was teaching the people, a scribe (scholar) came to him and asked:

Scribe (with genuine interest):

Jesus (with authority):

Scribe (enthusiastically):

Jesus (gently, with love):

Narrator: After this, no one had the courage to ask him any more questions.


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