"Fear no one"
June 22nd, 2008 (see other dates)
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Jeremiah suffered greatly because of his enemies' hatred. But he knew he was doing what was right and just. So he trusted God to rescue him. Why do we sometimes not tell people the truth they need to hear? How will the example of Jeremiah help you to be a more honest and truthful person?
This reading is also read during Holy Week, when it points directly to the experience of Jesus. He too was denounced by his friends. He was trapped by his enemies. He went through death for us. How did God rescue him? Why does this give us hope in our painful times?
Reading 1 Jeremiah 20:10-13
Reading 1 ReflectionA prophet often has to tell people a truth they do not want to hear. That is what the prophet Jeremiah did. He pleaded with the people of Jerusalem to change their ways and live as God's people. As a result, his enemies were always spreading rumors about him and trying to trap him.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2In some areas of our culture, sin is identified with "fun." Don't we just want to have fun? And people who want to stay away from sin are afraid they will never have any fun at all. Actually, the opposite is true. Sin may bring momentary satisfaction or thrill, but it also brings worry and anxiety and lack of peace and selfishness into our lives. That is not anybody's definition of fun. And, Saint Paul reminds us, sin has brought death into the world. Can you think of some ways that sin leads to worry, anxiety, lack of peace, selfishness, death?
Thankfully, we have Jesus as our Savior. He brings grace into our world, abounding grace. You may know people who have laid aside the burden of sin, and all that comes with it. They are among the most peaceful and happiest people in the world because they have been forgiven by God and even by the people they have hurt. Jesus brings grace, love, joy, forgiveness, and peace into our lives. Where do you find the grace of Jesus?
How will you choose to follow Jesus and live in his grace today?
Reading 2 Romans 5:12-15
Reading 2 ReflectionIn his letters, Paul often contrasts Christ and Adam. He wants us to remember that the power of sin was set loose in the world through human choice. Just as in the story of Adam, we sin when we prefer our own will to the will of God. Yet sin and death suffered an eternal defeat through Christ.
Discussion Questions for GospelNot many of us literally shout our faith from the housetops. Do you speak about your faith with family and friends? Have you shared your faith in any way with others? If not, why not? Why is it hard to do this? Together come up with some ways you can share faith with others: for example, passing along Catholic magazines, contributing to missionary works, asking someone to come to church on Sunday with you. Why should this reading give us confidence? How does it help us face the hard things in life?illness, suffering, even death? There is a Gospel song based on this passage. It is called, "His Eye is on the Sparrow (and I know he watches me)." It is beautiful--try to find it!
We are rightly concerned today about self-esteem. Psychologists have found that people with a good self-image are less likely to harm others, and are more able to cope with life. What truth does Jesus reveal that helps us to know that we are good and that we are loved, the basic building blocks of a good self-image?
Gospel Matthew 10:26-33
Gospel ReflectionAs Jesus prepares the apostles for their mission, he challenges them to face persecution with courage. They are to announce the reign of God by shouting it from the housetops. They are to proclaim in public the truths he has revealed to them in private. Their enemies may harm the disciples' bodies. But their souls are safe in God's hands. Jesus insists that God loves us so much that God has counted every hair on our heads! And God is stronger than all our enemies put together.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
With Merry HeartsIn one of the verses of today's responsorial psalm, the psalmist wishes that everyone who looks for God will have a merry heart. Make a group poster to illustrate the verse.
On a large piece of poster board write the psalm verse and draw hearts. Have each child color one or two hearts and sign his or her name. Display the poster in the church vestibule or send it to a hospital or nursing home in your area.
Proclaim on the HousetopsExplain to the children that, in the gospel today, Jesus encourages the apostles to spread the good news of the Gospel. Jesus told the apostles that, if he whispered something, they were to shout it from the housetops!
Invite the children to participate in "Proclaim on the Housetops" game. It is modeled after the "Telephone" game or "Whispering Down the Lane" game. Arrange the children in a line or in a circle. Whisper Jesus' "good news" to one child (for example, "God loves you") that is not likely to be distorted. That child whispers it to the next, and so on. The last child "proclaims on the housetops" in a loud voice.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
A Prophet's Obstacle CourseJeremiah's enemies watched every step he took so that they might trap him and put him out of the "business" of being a prophet. Prophets today suffer similar treatment. Take a walk in the prophet's sandals. Write how you would deal with each trap or obstacle.
(Note: You might like to draw sandal-prints linking one trap to the next.)
Trap One: Gossip and insults aimed at you
Trap Two: Arguments against doing what is right
Trap Three: Warnings not to tell the truth
Trap Four: Fear of hurting others' feelings
How will you try to "walk like a prophet?"
Up On the Housetops"What you hear in private, proclaim on the housetops," Jesus tells his disciples. In New Testament times, the common people often gathered on the roofs of their small mud houses. It was a convenient outdoor "patio." If someone shouted the good news up there, everyone in the neighborhood would hear it.
How do you think Jesus might advise young people to shout the good news from the housetops today? Choose one of these ways or invent your own!
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