"Listen to Him"
March 16th, 2014 (see other dates)
Second Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Have you come from your original country to a new country? Have you ever moved from one home to another? Then maybe you have an idea of how Abraham felt. It is sometimes hard to move and start over. But it may be exciting, too. Describe your experience. But God calls everyone to obey and trust him, whether we actually move from one place to another or not. He calls us in our everyday lives, each day . . . to listen, to share his word, to help, to care. Each one of us is a son or daughter of Abraham, "our father in faith," as we hear in the eucharistic prayer. What is your journey of faith like today? How are you listening to God along your way? How are you answering God's call?
Reading 1 Genesis 12:1-4a
Reading 1 ReflectionThe first reading is another story of a beginning. This time we see Abram, who was later called Abraham, as an old man answering God's call to "go forth." God promises that Abram's descendants will become a great nation in a new land that will be blessed by God. Although Abram has no children and no idea where God is sending him, he packs up and leaves his homeland. Thanks to Abram and his wife Sarai, God's people will one day enter the Promised Land.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2"It's not fair!" Probably many unfair things happen to you. You may not get the biggest piece of cake. Your new bike may be stolen. You have to work hard for a good grade while your best friend sails along with very little effort. In this letter, Timothy tells his Christian friends to "bear your share of the hardship" of living by the gospel. One of the saints, Saint Therese of Lisieux, made what she called "the little way of spiritual childhood" the central practice of her life. When something unfair happened to her, or something made her unhappy, she gave it as a gift to Jesus. She called it "spiritual childhood" because even a child could do it. However, this does not mean it was easy!
When bigger hardships came, like the death of her father, she offered that to Jesus, too.
She knew, like Saint Paul, that Jesus had robbed death of its power. When life is unfair, how can you be like Saint Therese? Ask for the grace to trust in Jesus, and in the power of his resurrection, no matter what.
Reading 2 2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Reading 2 ReflectionThe second reading gives us a good Lenten reminder: God has saved us and called us to be holy. But to be holy we have to "hang in there" even when it is tough. Being a faithful disciple is a challenge and can carry a price. What will you do during Lent to meet that challenge?
Discussion Questions for GospelHow are you like Peter in this gospel? Seeing Jesus transfigured was so wonderful, he wanted to stay there always. In New Orleans there is a happy slogan, "Let the good times roll!" We want good times to keep going, and never to end. Of course, this will not happen until we get to heaven! Here on earth, we may meet Jesus in the glory of a beautiful liturgy, or a peaceful time of prayer, or in the love of parents, friends, spouse.
But we also see him, if we have eyes to see him, as we walk down the mountain and back to everyday life. Jesus still leads us. How can you keep your eyes on Jesus in works of justice and mercy, in help for those less fortunate? Who or what can help you seek Jesus here?
Gospel Matthew 17:1-9
Gospel ReflectionThree of Jesus' closest friends arrive at a new understanding of him in today's gospel. They are allowed to get a glimpse of him as he will be after his passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus is seen as the fulfillment of the Law (represented by Moses) and the Prophets (represented by Elijah) of the Old Testament. He is Son of God and Messiah, in whom we experience God's presence and in whose image we will be transfigured.
We read today's story of the transfiguration so that we, too, might be led to a new understanding of Jesus. He is greater than we could ever have thought, and tells us, "Do not be afraid. Keep your eyes on me."
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Lord Is Our ShieldIn today's psalm, we sing,
"Our soul waits for the Lord;
who is our help and our shield." (Psalm 33:20)
Explain to the children that a shield is a heavy piece of metal. People in the past used shields to protect themselves. On the shield people painted a decoration or a symbol of their family, or the family of their ruler. When we say, "The Lord is our shield," we mean that Jesus is always with us, helping us in good times and difficult times (hurts and disappointments). With Jesus' help, we keep moving forward in life!
Distribute the reproducible master. Invite the children to decorate and color the shield.
This Is My Beloved SonYou may want to present this gospel as a "chalk-talk" using a chalkboard, erasable board, or a large paper tablet. Read the account of the Transfiguration aloud from a missalette or children's Bible and draw the action as you read. Draw the mountain first. Use stick figures for Peter, James, and John. Draw Jesus as a stick figure with a smiling face, and put "sun rays" around his head to show the transfiguration. Draw Moses and Elijah. Draw a cloud with lines coming from it to represent the Father's voice.
Explain that Jesus wanted his apostles to know that he was truly the Son of God. Jesus wanted them to have complete faith in him. Jesus wants us to have complete faith in him, too. Close the session with this or a similar prayer: "Lord Jesus, we know you are the Son of God. Help us listen to you each day. Help us grow in faith and love. Amen."
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Following God's Lead"Abram went as the Lord directed him." And he received many blessings. Choose on place in the following list and tell how you will follow God's lead to reach that destination. Remember, do not be afraid.
I will _____________________________________________.
Listen to HimWhen the disciples saw Jesus in all his brilliant glory, the voice of God said, "This is my beloved Son. . . . Listen to him." On the schedule below, fill in the time when you will "listen to him" each day. Record something you will do to show that you have listened to each day's message from Jesus. A suggestion for each day is given; make it work for you or make up your own.
"This is my beloved Son. . . . Listen to him."
Take more time to consider what the Sunday readings mean to me.
"Blessed are the peacemakers."
Write to Pax ChristiUSA or any peace organization to express my support.
"Your light must shine before others."
Use my talents to entertain someone who is sick or depressed.
"Give to the one who asks of you."
Give my time and attention to a family member who needs it.
"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."
Pray for someone or some group that dislikes me.
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
Give up my favorite activity and use the time to serve others.
Ask God to forgive me and work at being more honest. Celebrate Reconciliation in my parish.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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