March 3rd, 2013 (see other dates)
Third Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1For the Israelites, to know someone's name meant that you knew the whole person. Your name and your reputation were inseparable. Your name told others something about your essential self. Therefore, to respect someone's person meant also to respect that person's name.
It was no different with God. What does "I am who am" tell us about God? Some scholars say that the real meaning of God's name could be, "I am the One who is, and is always there; I am always present for you."
How do you show respect for God's name and therefore God himself?
"I'm not a Kathy," the little girl said to her teacher. "I'm a Katie." Do you think it is still true, that your name somehow expresses your essential self? How do you feel when your name is misspelled, shortened in the wrong way, or made fun of? How can you show respect for the names and persons of others in your family and among your friends and classmates?
Reading 1 Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Reading 1 ReflectionWhat a dramatic scene the Book of Exodus depicts for us today! Moses, who had escaped from Egypt, is now a shepherd. He has been leading a simple life tending sheep. But all that changes in an instant when he encounters a burning bush at Mount Horeb. As he takes a closer look, he hears God calling him by name and instructing him to take off his sandals as a mark of respect for this holy place. God assures Moses that the cries of the people in captivity have been heard. God will not only rescue the people but will lead them to the Promised Land.
When Moses realizes that God wants him to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites, Moses says that the people will not believe him because he does not know God's name. Moses learns God's name. It is Yahweh, meaning "I am who am."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2In this reading, Saint Paul reminds us that, wonderful as it is to belong to a community of faith, just "going along" and doing what the community does is not enough. Each of us must believe and act from the heart. This is what conversion really means. Ask yourself: are my actions from the heart? Or do I act for other reasons--to please others, to be rewarded, to be noticed? What do you think would help you to act more often "from the heart"?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Reading 2 ReflectionPaul's letter to the Christian community at Corinth is filled with advice about keeping the faith. In today's reading he reminds the people that they cannot take their new faith for granted. Faith means that we are called to conversion, to turn to God each day.
Lent is a season of penance, a time for conversion. Our challenge is to give evidence that we are truly followers of Christ. Pray together: Lord, teach us the meaning of conversion. Help us to live lives of service and love.
Discussion Questions for GospelThe season of Lent doesn't last forever. We need to turn toward God's reign right away if we are to truly celebrate Easter. How will you show that you have heard Jesus' words about reforming your life?
The parable of the fig tree reminds us that God is patient, too. He is willing to help us, as the man was willing to give the tree extra help so that it would grow. How do you need God to help you in order to change your life for the better? If God gives you another year of life, what do you want to be like a year from now?
Gospel Luke 13:1-9
Gospel ReflectionSometimes when we see a terrible accident or hear about people who are being persecuted, we may think that such things will never happen to us. Some people in Jesus' time believed that those who suffered such tragedies and injustices were being punished because they were great sinners. Jesus sets them straight in today's gospel reading. He says that suffering comes from injustice in our world.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Burning BushReenact the call of Moses. Cut a leaf out of green construction paper for each child. Make burning flames for each child by attaching yellow, red, and orange strips of crepe paper to popsicle sticks. Select one child to be Moses. Gather the rest of the children together to make the burning bush. Each child holds a green leaf in one hand and the burning flame in the other. Read the scripture passage as the children act it out.
A Quilt of NamesIn today's reading, Moses learns God's name. Make a name quilt with the names of the children in the class. Give each child a square of light colored paper. Have the children write their names on their squares using colorful markers. If desired, have them decorate their squares. Arrange these on a bulletin board to resemble a quilt.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
An Urgent MessageThe message from Jesus in today's gospel is as clear as the nose on your face. He says that the time to reform is now!
Our world cannot wait for us to begin working against injustice. The time is now. In the following categories, identify one injustice that you see and tell one way you can try to work against it.
Injustice One Way to Work Against It
In my neighborhood
In my city/county
In my world
Signs of God's PresenceYou might wish to reread the first reading to prepare for this activity.
Moses would have to be asleep to miss the sign of God's presence at Mount Horeb. Since fire was a frequent symbol for God in Old Testament times, and the burning bush did not burn up, Moses knew that God was there.
It isn't always easy for us to recognize the signs of God's presence. Read the sign language below. Explain the way each sign might speak to you of God.
Sign Your Interpretation
ringing of church bells
the smile of a loved one
a new baby
a magnificent storm
Pause this week and look for a sign of God's presence in your life.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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