August 18th, 2013 (see other dates)
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Can criticism be an act of love? How? Can you recall a time in your life when criticism of you by someone else was a true act of love?
Would you be willing to tell people the truth God wants them to hear?even if you might suffer for it? Pray before you answer that question!
Reading 1 Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Reading 1 ReflectionIt takes great courage to tell people the truth about themselves when they do not want to hear it. That was what the prophets, like Jeremiah in today's reading, had to do over and over again. Jeremiah tried to get the people of Judah to reform their lives. He warned them that they would be defeated by the Babylonians and that Jerusalem would be destroyed. But many refused to listen to him, and the king of Judah decided to silence God's messenger. Jeremiah's enemies left him in a water storage tank to die. Later a compassionate foreigner convinced the king to let the prophet go.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How can you keep your eyes "fixed on Jesus" when the race gets tough?
Think for a moment about the "cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us. These are the saints?not only the great saints that we have heard about, but the holy ones among our own families and friends who have gone before us. They still love us and want to help us. Name some of the "witnesses" you know. How can you be like them in your witness to Jesus in your life?
Reading 2 Hebrews12:1-4
Reading 2 ReflectionWhy are prophets willing to suffer for proclaiming God's word? The author of the second reading gives us an excellent answer to that question as he explains why Jesus was willing to die for us: "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross." When we run the race of faith, we do not face the hurdles alone. Jesus is there to cheer us on, along with a great crowd of saints who have already finished the race.
Discussion Questions for GospelRead the following situations. As a follower of Jesus, what do you think? Tell why the response is one that a follower of Christ would give, or not. Change the responses that are not Christian to truly Christian responses.
Father: I'm making out my will. I'm going to give 1/10 of my estate to the poor. The rest will go to your mother and you.
Son: Hey, Dad! I can use all the money I can get! And you're going to just give it away?
lst football player: I have some pills that give you more strength and energy. Want some?
2nd football player: No, thanks. It's against the rules. Besides, those pills can ruin your body.
Laura: I invited the new girl in class to the movies with us on Saturday.
Lisa: Well, I'm not coming then. I thought you were MY friend!
Daryll: My dad wants me home on Saturday afternoon to help him in the yard. So I guess I can't play ball with you after all.
Rafael: Could you use extra help? I'll come and help you out!
Gospel Luke 12:49-53
Gospel ReflectionJesus wants his followers to know the truth. Jesus tells us that, if we are truly living as Christians, sometimes we will experience trouble and division. We cannot experience the peace of Christ until we turn away from sin and let God reign in our lives. Sometimes when people chose to do God's will, those they love turn against them. This can happen when people do not fully understand or accept the message of Jesus. This conflict with loved ones is what Jesus speaks of today. Remember that Jesus himself suffered rejection.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Keep Your Eyes on JesusIn the letter to the Hebrews, we are told to keep our eyes on Jesus as we continue to run the race of life. We are told to rid ourselves of every burden that would keep us from living the Christian life. Have a race with the children. Attach a picture of Jesus to a wall. Give the runner a bag containing three objects such as rocks or blocks. Explain that this bag contains burdens that we need to get rid of before we get to Jesus. Let the children take turns running towards Jesus as they carry the bag. As they run, they must keep their eyes on Jesus and unload the items from the bag.
BurdensBefore the children enter the classroom, place a stone or rock on the prayer table. Have the children sit in a circle on the floor. Show them the rock and explain that sometimes there are things in our lives that keep us from living and acting the way Jesus wants us to. Some examples include having a sibling that aggravates, cheating on a test we didn't study for, lying about something we did or did not do, or taking something that doesn't belong to us.
Pass the rock around the circle. As each child holds the rock, have him share something in his life that might keep him from living as Jesus wants him to. After all the children have had a turn, say the following prayer. "Dear Jesus, help me when I am burdened. I know that you are near and will hear my prayer." Amen.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Truth and ConsequencesA few years ago, an organization of nurses went to Washington, D.C. The nurses wanted to remind Congress of the need for health care. Each nurse put a pair of her white shoes on the steps of the Capitol Building. All the way up the steps, there were thousands of pairs of white shoes shining in the sun. Behind them a sign said, "Stand up and be counted!"
Remember: a witness to faith is someone who is willing to stand up and be counted as a follower of Christ, who walks in the footsteps of Christ, who lives every day what he or she believes, no matter WHAT other people think!
Choose one of these truths from God's word. Decide how you (alone or with others) will tell or act on this truth. Describe the possible consequences as you consider how others (family, friends, parish, community) may respond.
"You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)
Mammon means wealth or money.
How could you act on this truth?
How might others respond, both in positive or negative ways?
"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
How could you act on this truth?
How might others respond, both in positive and negative ways?
Running with People of FaithThe second reading speaks of being surrounded "by a cloud of witnesses." Who are the witnesses, or people of faith, who have died and are now cheering you on as you run the race of faith? Think of loved ones, favorite saints, and people in the Bible. Choose two of them and tell of some real, everyday ways you will follow in their footsteps.
Suggestion: draw the outline of two large shoes on a piece of paper. Write the name of a relative who has died, or a saint, or someone from the Bible, in each shoe. Then write one or two qualities of this person that you would like to follow. For example:
St. Francis of Assisi?He respected every creature God made. I will treat all animals with kindness and respect. I hope to study animals and become a zoologist in the future.
My aunt Nell?She always had time to talk with me. I helped her make cookies. I want to be as good a listener as she was.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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