October 6th, 2013 (see other dates)
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1In the book of Proverbs, we read, "Without prophecy the people become demoralized" (Proverbs 29:18). Another translation has, "Without vision the people perish." None of us can know what will happen in the future. Yet, just as a vision from God helped Habakkuk, a "vision of what could be" is important for each of us. Looking ahead helps us to focus our lives on what is important.
How do you see yourself a year from now? Five years from now? What would you like to be doing? Going to college? Doing a special line of work? Which one?
(Note: If you are mechanically inclined, this too is a gift from God! This gift tends to be ignored or neglected in our culture. The world will always need people who know how to fix cars, repair plumbing, and build houses. Find someone to teach you in these areas. Volunteer to help them if you can.)
Write down your vision and put it where you can see it. Then act on it when you can.
Keep in mind that it can change, based on new information and experiences! Peter Maurin, a friend of Dorothy Day's, often said, "We can make the future different if we make the present different." What are you doing in your life now to prepare for your vision of the future?
Reading 1 Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Reading 1 ReflectionThe prophet Habakkuk expresses the same question we have all asked at one time or another: Why do bad things happen to good people? Habakkuk pleads with God for an explanation. Even God's faithful ones have been trampled on by their enemies. Why doesn't God help them? God answers the prophet with a vision that will be fulfilled in the future. The violent ones will, by their sinfulness, bring about their own defeat. The just ones, by their fidelity to God, will enjoy lasting happiness.
God does not give explanations for evil and suffering. But God does promise eternal life to those who trust and remain faithful.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Make a list of all the gifts God has given you?family, friends, teachers, and also gifts of personality (sense of humor, kindness, persistence, etc.) and talents (for music, art, dance, writing, sports, etc.). Choose three. How will you "fan these into flame" this week? How will you show appreciation for the gifts of others?
The Sunday Eucharist is a wonderful time to thank God for all his gifts to us, especially his Son, Jesus Christ. The word eucharist means "thanksgiving." Participating in the Eucharist every Sunday is one way we show our thanks to God, our loyalty to the gospel, and our willingness to follow Jesus. This is not always easy. Sometimes it is inconvenient. Sometimes we may not "feel like it." However, hearing the Scriptures together and receiving Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist every week are basic to living the gospel. Take your list of God's gifts to you to the Sunday Eucharist this week. In a quiet moment, when perhaps your mind is tempted to wander, look at your list and offer those gifts back to God. At Communion, ask Jesus to help you bring him to others through the gifts God has given you.
What do you find hard or inconvenient about living the gospel? Share your ideas on ways to bear hardships with strength and even joy.
Reading 2 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Reading 2 ReflectionTo preach the Christian faith at a time of terrible persecution requires great courage. Loyalty to the gospel always involves a certain amount of hardship for any disciple. Anyone who teaches or preaches the faith must also be true to the tradition handed down by Jesus through the apostles. Timothy is reminded that the Holy Spirit will help him to remain on the right track.
Discussion Questions for GospelThink about this gospel passage from Jesus' point of view. Jesus wants to do so many good things for people. He wants to tell them the good news and what his Father wants. He wants the Father's loving will to be done on earth. Yet, so many times, when Jesus wants to move forward, he is held back by his disciples who lack a basic faith and trust in him. They stand around quibbling about details, when Jesus would like to hear: "We've got the idea! Let's do it!"
What is your attitude toward the next good thing asked of you? Is it to stand around and quibble about it? Or do you say, "I'll get it! I'll do it! I'm on it!"? All Jesus asks is that we love one another, not that we just stand around talking about loving one another!
Pray together: Lord, increase our faith and trust in you. May our faith and trust move us to action, not just talk. Amen.
Gospel Luke 17:5-10
Gospel ReflectionThe two sayings of Jesus in today's gospel make us wonder abut the other side of the story. When the apostles ask, "Increase our faith," are they secretly quite satisfied with their record of faithfulness? Jesus tells them that if they really have faith they can tell a tree what to do, and it will do it! The story about the servant tells us that Jesus' disciples should be grateful to God. When we do God's will, we should not expect to receive a gold medal. We have, after all, done no more than "what we were obliged to do."
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
We Are God's Unique CreationGod has created us. We are special and unique. He wants us to care for his world. Make a class picture frame out of tag board or craft foam. Have each child place his/her unique thumbprint around the frame. Let them add features to turn their thumbprints into faces. Place a picture of something that God has created that we can care for inside the frame.
Creation DioramaGive each child a shoebox. Have them make the inside resemble a forest using construction paper, crepe paper, markers, and other materials. Have them cover the sky with blue paper. Read the creation story aloud. Provide each child with a small amount of clay and have them create a man and then an animal and place them in their dioramas. Have the children pinch some clay from the man and shape it into a woman. Have them place her in their dioramas.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Stir the FlameThe second reading tells us that we have to stir up the flame of faith within us. Then, filled with enthusiasm, we can go out to encourage and serve others. Brainstorm how you (alone or with partners) can help to stir up the flame of faith in your group.
In every project, brainstorm! Every suggestion is needed. No suggestion is "wrong." Not every suggestion can be used this time, but all are necessary to provide a wide variety of options. Make a list of the materials you will need, and share the responsibility of getting them together.
Duty CallsTo live God's word is the duty of every Christian. But people cannot answer the call of duty if they are not sure what God's word says. Imagine that you are making a tape or CD of messages from Jesus. Christians can call in and receive a different message each day of the week. Complete these messages:
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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