"Share Your Bread"
February 9th, 2014 (see other dates)
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1People who volunteer to help others often remark that this work is a real joy to them. Why do you think this is so? How does this relate to this second reading? Does this match your experience? How are you doing some of the good works written of in the Book of Isaiah? To which ones will you pay more attention from now on? You might like to ask volunteers from parish "helping" organizations to speak with your group. Ask them to describe their experiences in helping others.
Reading 1 Isaiah 58:7-10
Reading 1 ReflectionIf we hope to receive God's mercy for ourselves, we must extend mercy to those who need it most. The first reading spells out some works of mercy we are to do: share our food with the hungry; shelter the homeless and oppressed; clothe the naked; take car of the suffering; remove all forms of oppression; stop judging others unjustly.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2"Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting despite fear." Weakness and fear are not bad. They are perfectly human! Our fears tell us that we are in danger, and that we must do something about it. We must listen to our fears and make a decision about them. When are you fearful? When have your fears helped to keep you from danger or lead you out of danger? Sometimes we are afraid of things that are not dangerous. We can be afraid of speaking before a group, or meeting a new person, or moving up in school. It is good to talk about these fears, because we can get encouragement from others to act in spite of them. We all have fears. We all can say, most of the time, "I've been afraid of that, too." How does admitting your fears to others help them face their own fears?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Reading 2 ReflectionWhy was Paul the early Church's greatest preacher and missionary? Was it because he could speak with such charm and originality? He assures us today that it was the Holy Spirit and the power of God working through him that won people's hearts and minds.
Whenever Paul began to preach, he felt weak and fearful. He trembled at the power of God that overcame his own weakness. His hearers were drawn, not to faith in Paul, but faith in God. This passage reminds us that all of us, even leaders and teachers and parents, are human. We all have weaknesses and fears. We all look to God for help and strength.
Discussion Questions for GospelThere is a saying, "Charity begins at home, but it doesn't end there." It is wonderful to be good to those at home, and to others who love us. But what is Jesus asking us to do here?
How can you and your family take the light of goodness and bring it out to your town, your city, your world? Can you think of ways that individuals or families in your area have spread light and hope to others? How has their example helped others to do the same? How has their example helped others to find God?
Gospel Matthew 5:13-16
Gospel ReflectionImagine a hamburger with nothing on it but some salt that proved to be chemically impure and tasteless. Imagine a house at midnight with one lamp, and that lamp is covered by a basket. Finally, imagine a disciple of Jesus who either does no good at all or hides his or her good deeds. In each example, something crucial is missing.
Jesus insists that our light must shine before others. He wants us to bring the brightness and flavor of God's word into our world.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Here I Am!Explain to the children that in today's first reading, God tells us that he wants us to help others. We can help people by praying for them. Ask the children to name people who may need our prayers. Pray with the children for each person or group named, "Dear God, please be with _________. Please help them."
You Are the Light of the WorldIn today's gospel we hear the words, "You are the light of the world." Explain that we make the world better when the light of Jesus shines for all to see. We can make life better!
Distribute the reproducible master. Ask the children to think of one way they can be a light to others today. Invite the children to write or draw their idea on the sun.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Prayers and Works of MercyWhich people most need your kindness and compassion? Think of those close to you, those farther out in your community, those you hear about on TV. For each of the works of mercy below, name someone or some group who needs it. Write a prayer for that person or group. Then write the work of mercy you will do. The first one is filled in for you as a suggestion.
Take care of those who suffer.
The suffering: youth with multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
Prayer: Lord, be their comfort and strength. Inspire many to help them.
Work of mercy: to make friends with these young people in my community and to serve them in whatever way I can.
Practical steps: Call an agency or organization that helps these young people. Follow their suggestions.
Share your bread with the hungry.
Work of mercy:
Shelter the oppressed and homeless.
The oppressed or homeless:
Work of mercy:
Get Salty!Jesus says to us, "You are the salt of the earth." He warns us not to lose our saltiness, or our ability to sprinkle the flavor of faith, wherever we go. Salt adds flavor and liveliness. It preserves or keeps food from going bad. In the Bible, salt is also a symbol of the friendship that seasons our relations with others.
Write a brief prayer, commentary, or description of "saltiness" below. Try to make it rhyme! Use your sense of humor! Read the example and then use your own saltiness!
I pray to get salty
so my faith won't be faulty.
Wherever I go,
I'll spread the good news
and journey in love,
though I wear out my shoes!
May I season the earth
with friendship and mirth.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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