The works of God
August 5th, 2012 (see other dates)
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1When are you most aware of and grateful for God's guiding presence in your life? When do you find yourself grumbling in spite of God's gifts? This week, focus on the ways God makes his presence known and the ways that God offers you the strength you need for your journey of faith.
Reading 1 Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Reading 1 ReflectionImagine the long, hard journey that the Israelites were enduring. It is easy from our perspective today to be critical of their "grumbling"--after all, God had freed them from slavery and was leading them to a new life. Where was their sense of gratitude to God and to Moses and Aaron whom God had chosen?
Perhaps it is God's "parental qualities" that directs his response to the Israelites. Instead of being angry, he hears their grumblings and promises to feed them. "I will rain bread from heaven for you," God says, and so he does.
Later, God will send the Bread of Life, his only Son, to nourish his people.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2God has worked in our lives as he did in the lives of the Israelites and the Ephesians. We may grumble as the Israelites did; we may need to be reminded of Christ as the Ephesians did. Still, God has graced us for the new life we began in Baptism.
Who reminds you of your Christian vocation? Who offers encouragement to you when things are difficult? To whom do you offer encouragement?
Reading 2 Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
Reading 2 ReflectionPaul's letter to the Ephesians is a call to live the new life to which the Ephesians have been called. Verses 18-20, which are not included in today's reading, speak of the "old ways" the Ephesians are to leave behind: darkened in understanding, alienated from God, hard of heart, callous, impure. Paul reminds them that they have "learned Christ" which brings them to "righteousness and holiness of truth."
Paul understands that, even though people know Christ and have chosen to follow him, they need to be reminded of their call. They need to be encouraged.
Discussion Questions for GospelThe people in today's Gospel took boats so that they could seek Jesus. What do you do to seek Jesus in your life?
How does the Bread of Life, Jesus, satisfy your hungers?
Gospel John 6:24-35
Gospel ReflectionIn today's Gospel, Jesus does what he often did as he taught people. He moves them to ever deeper levels of understanding. They had eaten the loaves that Jesus had miraculously multiplied. Now Jesus invites them to consider the "food which endures to eternal life." Finally, Jesus tells them, "I am the bread of life." This bread, then, is the bread they need in order to be able to "work the works of God." We can move to deeper understanding with Jesus too. Consider the food we eat and how, ultimately, every morsel is a gift from God. As food nourishes our bodies for our life and work, so the Bread of Life strengthens us to do God's work.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Proclaiming Faith Activities
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