"Master, show us the Father"
May 22nd, 2011 (see other dates)
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Is your parish community served by a deacon? You may want to ask him to speak with your group about his work. There are many different ministries in a parish. What other ministries of prayer and service are active in your parish? You may want to invite a representative from each one in order to learn more about your parish and its outreach. How can you help your parish in its call to serve its own people, its community, and the world? Are you drawn to help a particular group in its service? Decide together what you can do.
Reading 1 Acts 6:1-7
Reading 1 ReflectionJust as members of our own families have certain responsibilities toward one another, so did the early Christians. The Twelve, who had been chosen by Jesus, were primarily responsible for prayer and the ministry of the word. They served the others by handing on all that Jesus had taught them. In today's reading, we see the Twelve choosing seven men to serve as deacons. Their primary ministry would be to distribute food to the needy. The role of the deacon in the Church has expanded since the time of the apostles, but deacons are always to be true to their vocation of service. (The word deacon comes from the Greek word diakonia, which means "service.")
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think for a moment about a building. Imagine the cornerstone first and then the many small bricks that form the walls. Each brick has its own place and fulfills an important function in that place. Imagine what the building would look like if some of the bricks were missing, or were only "half-there," or were crumbling. The building would not only lose some of its beauty; it would also lose some of its strength. Are there times when you seem to be "missing, half-there, or crumbling?" How can you get help at these times? How can you be a "living stone" in the building of the Church? How can you contribute to the beauty and strength of the Church?
Reading 2 1 Peter 2:4-9
Reading 2 ReflectionHave you ever noticed the cornerstone of your church or of any public building? The cornerstone is a large stone at the bottom corner of a building where two walls come together. It is often inscribed with the date when the building was built. This reading gives us the wonderful image of Jesus as the cornerstone of the Church. And we are the "living stones" built on the foundation of Christ.
Discussion Questions for GospelThis is a very beautiful gospel passage. Read through it again and pick one favorite verse. Keep it to yourself for a moment. When everyone has finished choosing a verse, take turns sharing the verse you chose. Tell why you chose it. What does it mean to you to go the way of Jesus in our world today? The slogan "WWJD" (What would Jesus do?) has become popular among some Christians. Would you ever ask this question of yourself? Would it help you decide the way of Jesus for you? Why or why not?
Gospel John 14:1-12
Gospel ReflectionJesus and his disciples are gathered for the Last Supper. He tells them that he is going to "prepare a place" for them but Thomas points out that they do not know the place or the way to get there. What Thomas and the others have not yet grasped is that Jesus himself is the way. When Philip asks Jesus to "show us the Father," Jesus makes it clear that he and God the Father are one. The words and works of Jesus are the words and works of the Father.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Church GrowsExplain to the children, "In the first reading we learn that seven people were chosen to spread the word of God and to help the Church to grow. Jesus wants us to spread the good news, too. When we do this we also help the Church to grow." Invite the children to share ways that they can spread the word of God in their school, at home, and in their neighborhood.
Distribute the poem and read it together. Make up actions to go along with the words. Encourage the children to spread God's word by sharing the poem with friends and family.
The Church Grows
The Church is you.
The Church is me.
The Church is all God's family.
We share God's word.
We believe. We pray.
We follow Jesus every day.
The Way, the Truth, the LifeExplain to the children that we will be proclaiming the message of today's gospel. Divide the group into three sections. Give each section one phrase of the words of Jesus to say together. Group 1 will say, "I am the way." Group 2 will say, "I am the truth." Group 3 will say, "I am the life." (The gospel proclamation may be more effective if the group members stand together. Practice the "Amen! Alleluia!" at the end.)
Read aloud these gospel sentences. After each sentence, point to the designated group to make its proclamation.
Leader: Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." (Point to Group 1.)
Leader: Jesus said, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" (Point to Group 2.)
Leader: Jesus said, "I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be." (Point to Group 3.)
Leader: Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." (Point to Group 1.)
Leader: Jesus said, "If you know me, then you will also know my Father." (Point to Group 2.)
Leader: Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones." (Point to Group 3.)
Leader: Yes, Jesus said it: Amen! Alleluia! (Point to Group 1, then Group 2, then Group 3.)
All: Amen! Alleluia!
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Building a Strong FoundationJesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. If we want to build on his foundation, as "the people he claims for his own," we have to follow his word. Tell how you, as a living stone, will follow these words of Jesus. Examples are given in italics.
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged." (Matthew 7:1)
When others gossip about someone, I will point out his or her good qualities.
"I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear." (Luke 12:22)
When I'm worried about material things, I'll turn my worries into prayers and let them go.
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31)
When I receive presents or praise, I'll share them with someone who has less.
There?s a Place for UsIn today's gospel we read that Jesus is gong to prepare a place for us. He says that there are "many dwelling places" in his Father's house. What kind of dwelling place do you hope Jesus has prepared for you and for those you love? Design a beautiful frame. In the frame, describe that place with a collage of words from the Bible, favorite songs, poems, or your own imagination.
My dwelling place will be a house of love, laughter, friendship, and peace.
"The Lord is my shepherd." (Psalm 23)
"The world is charged with the grandeur of God." (from Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Jesus, gateway to life, help us to use each new day to prepare to be with you always. Amen.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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