The One Who Seeks, Finds
July 28th, 2013 (see other dates)
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What does justice mean to you? What does mercy mean to you? In this story, the bad are not punished. They are saved with and because of the good and innocent people in the city, even if the good people are very few in number. This is an example of the mercy of God. This story shows us that we all are in "the same boat" or "the same city." As Jesus said, both the weeds and the wheat will grow together until the final harvest. We must learn to live with people who do not always do the right or the best thing, who are weak and sinful. And sometimes those people are us! Can we be merciful toward people who are sinful and weak, including ourselves? How? Our natural tendency is to get even with those who hurt us, to administer our own kind of "justice." What does this story have to say about that?
Much is often made of Abraham "bargaining" with God. This is the way we humans act with one another. We try to make a good deal into a better one. However, God does not need to be persuaded or bargained into being merciful! The story is written in this way to show that our prayers to God for mercy are always answered with a yes. Pray this prayer together: Lord, thank you for all the times you have been merciful to me. Help me to remember your mercy when I feel like getting even with those who have hurt or offended me. In the name of Jesus, your Son and our Lord. Amen.
Reading 1 Genesis 18:20-32
Reading 1 ReflectionCould the author of Genesis have come up with a better story to show the power of prayer and just how merciful God is? Here we see Abraham pleading with God, praying a beautiful prayer for mercy. Abraham's prayer shows us how close he was to God. It also shows that God always listens to our prayers. God's mercy is so great!
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Saint Paul wrote that we are raised to new life because we believe in the power of God. God does not use his power to force us to pray, or to help others, or to forgive. When do you experience the power of God in your life? (Hint: Think of some of the gifts from God you have been given. Think of ways you help others. God's power often works through people, including you!)
How can you show your gratitude to Jesus this week for dying and rising for us?
Reading 2 Colossians 2:12-14
Reading 2 ReflectionWhen you were baptized, you were freed from sin and given new life through water and the Holy Spirit. It is this new life of grace that Paul speaks of today. He reminds Christians that Jesus has canceled the "debt" of our sins by his death on the cross. Our new life is not just something for later, after we die. It begins now!
Discussion Questions for GospelImagine that you are in the group of disciples who asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Are you surprised that this prayer seems so simple and easy?
Try praying one line of the Our Father each day, at various times all during the day. The first day, pray, "Father, hallowed be your name." The second day, pray, "Father, your kingdom come." And so on.
How can you hallow?make holy?God's name? How can you help God's kingdom to come? How can you appreciate and share daily bread and all the gifts you receive from the Father each day? How can you ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness to others?
Gospel Luke 11:1-13
Gospel ReflectionWhat a wonderful scene Luke paints for us today! The disciples watch Jesus at prayer. They see how much prayer means to him. One of them gets up the nerve to ask, "Lord, will you teach us to pray?" And Jesus responds by sharing the Lord's Prayer with them. (This is a shorter version than the one we pray from Matthew 6:9-13.) Then Jesus completes his lesson prayer by telling two parables. The first urges us to persist in prayer. The second reminds us that we do not always pray for the right things. God knows best how our prayers should be answered.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Gifts from GodIn the gospel, Luke tells us that God gives us good gifts because we are his children.
Prepare a gift box to be unwrapped by the children. In the box, put a paper with the words "Holy Spirit." Then wrap the box one time more than there are children in the class. Have the children sit in a circle on the floor. Pass the box around, having each child tell one of his favorite gifts that they have received. Then have the child unwrap one layer of the gift. When all the children have had a turn to do this, there should be one layer of wrapping left. Have the teacher unwrap the final layer and open the box. Remove the paper with the words "Holy Spirit" on it and show it to the children. Explain that God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us when we ask him.
The Our FatherIn the gospel reading, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus teaches them the Our Father.
Write the Our Father on sentence strips, putting one line on each strip. Then gather the children around the prayer table. Discuss with the children each sentence of the prayer as you show them the sentence strip with that sentence written on it. Then have the children join hands and pray the Our Father together. Provide each child with a card with the Our Father written on it. Encourage them to take these home and gather their families together and pray this prayer.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
A Lord?s Prayer MeditationImagine that you are teaching someone the words of the Our Father. You are asked to explain the meaning of the prayer. Take each part of the Our Father and briefly explain it.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
A Prayer CommercialCommercials on TV and other advertisements try to get us to buy certain products or think in a certain way. Think of ways that might convince people to pray more often. Then draw a square TV screen on a separate piece of paper. Draw a TV commercial about prayer on the screen. (Hint: Quotes from Jesus and other Scriptures might help. Can you think of something inviting like, "Have you spoken to your Father about that?")
Design a poster encouraging people to pray. The Jesuits of Ireland have a prayer site on the Internet called Sacred Space, where you are guided through meditative prayer while you sit at your computer. Also on the Web site are posters that can be downloaded. These posters encourage people to pray using the Jesuit Web site. You might like to look at the posters and then design a prayer poster of your own. Make a display for your parish. Click on the Web site at www.sacredspace.ie. Keep moving through the prayer. At the end, a page will state other choices. Click on "Download and print our posters."
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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