The Narrow Gate
August 25th, 2013 (see other dates)
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Each week we gather to worship the one true God, too. As Catholics, we consider our gathering for worship on Sunday or Saturday evening to be a priority?an obligation that we do not take lightly. Why do we worship together? Some answers might be: to share the body and blood of Christ, to show God our gratitude for all his gifts, to strengthen our faith, to pray for ourselves and others. What reason seems the strongest for you right now? What reason do you tend to forget? Why might that be?
Reading 1 Isaiah 66:18-21
Reading 1 ReflectionThe prophet stirs up God's people with a vision of how they will participate in revealing God's glory to the world. Scattered throughout the world, they will spread the knowledge of the one true God. They will attract all people to Jerusalem and its Temple. What a colorful procession! Pilgrims of every race and nation are traveling side by side on horses, mules, and camels. They have been gathered to worship the one true God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2The word discipline comes from a Latin word meaning "to listen." From this Latin root we also get our word disciple. Discipline does not mean that God makes bad things happen to us. But we are often faced with the consequences of our own mistakes. Then we say, "If only I had listened to my parents and my teachers!" The more we listen, the less discipline we need! Think of a time when you decided not to listen. What happened? Then think of a time when you really listened to a parent, a teacher, or a good friend. What happened?
Good listening leads to freedom. It takes practice. It is important to think through the choices we want to make. "If I do this, what might happen?" It takes practice to think about the consequences. This is part of growing up. Parents and teachers need to help explain consequences. This is part of listening to one another. When we understand the consequences, we can make a freer choice.
God wants us all to listen to him and to one another. That is why he gathers us into families and communities. No one can make it through life totally alone. We need one another. To live together happily, we must listen to one another?s needs and problems. Parents are not perfect. Teachers are not perfect. Children are not perfect. But we can all help each other if we listen. How have you helped your parent, your teacher, or your child in the past few days? Did this help involve listening?
Reading 2 Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
Reading 2 ReflectionAt times we have to struggle to live the Christian life. But God prepares us for the difficulties we will encounter. Like a responsible parent, God must at times discipline us. That discipline may cause some grief. But through it, we learn God's ways of love, justice, and peace.
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus reminds us that we are not to judge others as "worthy" of the kingdom or not. Our human judgment is faulty. We only see so much. God sees the entire person, heart and soul, past, present, and future. Some who seem to be "last" ("losers" in our current slang)
may well be "first" with God. And some we look up to as "first" (the winners in our world) may turn out to be "last" in the kingdom. We just don't know. And where others are with God is really not our concern. The question is: where do YOU want to be with God? How can YOU stay close to Jesus?
Gospel Luke 13:22-30
Gospel ReflectionWhen someone asks Jesus how many will be saved, he answers by using the image of the narrow door. Those who do not remain faithful to him will be left outside. Jesus is warning people of faith not to take their salvation for granted. Just because we worship every weekend, we cannot assume that we can squeeze through the narrow door. We may be surprised to discover that some who seem less worthy will enter the kingdom before us.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Praise the Lord All You NationsIn the first reading and in the responsorial psalm, all the nations of the world are encouraged to praise the Lord.
Illustrate this on a bulletin board. Place a large picture of the world in the center of the bulletin board. Give each child three copies of the person shape. Have the children paint each one a different color and then cut the people figures out. Attach these "people" to the bulletin board around the outside of the world. Put the words, "Praise the Lord All You Nations" on the bulletin board.
Make Straight the PathIn the second reading, we are told to make straight paths for our feet. The straight path is listening to parents and teachers and doing what is right. Straight paths are shorter than curved paths.
Illustrate this point with a measuring activity. Have the children trace each foot on construction paper and cut these out. On the floor, make a straight path and a curved path using masking tape. Have the children use their foot prints to measure each path. Compare the number of "feet" needed to travel each path.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Celebrating God's KingdomA great feast with music and dancing has been prepared in the kingdom of God. You and your friends want to be there for the celebration. Tell how you will follow one of these ways to help you reach the celebration.
My choice is:________________________________________
I could: ___________________________________________
ParentingIf you were a parent, how would you help your child to develop habits of love, justice, and peace? Tell what you would do in each of these cases.
A younger child refuses to share any of his or her possessions.
(Note: Children can start to understand sharing when they are 3 or 4 years old. Even then it is not easy for them to understand because their brains have not grown enough yet. Children 5 years of age and older should be able to share.)
What would you do or say to help your child learn to share?
Your twelve-year-old is constantly getting into fights at school.
What would you do or say to help your child to find other ways of solving problems?
Your eight-year-old joins his or her friends in making fun of someone who is different.
What would you do or say to help your child show respect to each person God made?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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