July 6th, 2014 (see other dates)
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Think about ways to translate the ideas of "wealth and power" into our contemporary status symbols. What kind of cars do kings, queens, and presidents use? What kind of houses do they live in? If Jesus had to choose a car instead of a donkey, what kind of car do you think he would have chosen to proclaim that he came in peace and lowliness, not in wealth and worldly power?
What are your aspirations? Do you want to follow Jesus, the man of peace? It does not necessarily mean that you choose the worst of every worldly thing, but it does mean that you do not define yourself by what you own. What attitudes toward others do you want to adopt in order to be a person of peace? How are these attitudes sometimes very different from what certain sports and media stars might portray?
What can you do for world peace? Find organizations that work for peace and the betterment of the world. Learn about them. Find ways to support them. One is "Doctors Without Borders." Medical personnel volunteer their time to go to all places of the world that need medical help. Another is our own Catholic Relief Services. Share other ideas. See what you can do!
Reading 1 Zechariah 9:9-10
Reading 1 ReflectionOn what kind of animal do you think a great king would ride? Would you picture him on an Arabian stallion or riding tall on a strong elephant? The prophet shocked the Israelites by telling them that the Messiah would not need a royal animal but would come to Jerusalem in a surprising way--on a donkey. Riding this way was a sign of peace. The Messiah would banish all weapons and military campaigns. He would "proclaim peace to the nations."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2"Living according to the flesh" means living on one plane of existence: caring for our physical selves. There is no doubt that we are "wonderfully made," and that we need good food, exercise, fresh air, and proper clothing. However, if we do not nourish our minds and our spirits, we are pretty hollow inside. How can you nourish your mind and your spirit this summer?
Hint: You may be able to do both at the same time. Try saying the name of Jesus, or the Hail Mary or the Our Father, while jogging or swimming laps. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are God's child!
Reading 2 Romans 8:9, 11-13
Reading 2 ReflectionIf we watch too many TV commercials, we easily forget that there is more to us than what we eat, what we wear, or what we drive. Paul reminds us that we are not "debtors to the flesh." We concentrate on the Spirit of God, who gives us the gift of everlasting life. We are called to "put to death" deeds of selfishness and greed.
Discussion Questions for GospelWhat does being humble mean? (Hint: The word humble comes from the Latin word humus, meaning "earth." What do we mean when we say someone is "down to earth"? That is what humility is! It is the opposite of snobby, and a great compliment. Why?)
How will you be humble today? How will you be gentle to yourself and others?
Gospel Matthew 11:25-30
Gospel ReflectionAt the beginning of today's gospel, we hear Jesus' hymn of praise to the Father. He is closer to the Father than anyone has ever been or ever will be. In fact, he is one with the Father. Jesus is both God and man.
Jesus assures us that he is "gentle and humble of heart." This gentleness is not weakness, but the strength to accept us as we are, as well as the strength to help and save us. Jesus tells us that we are to be like him in this gentleness and humility. This does not mean being a pushover. It means being patient with and respectful to others, being a peacemaker, as Jesus was. It means accepting others as they are and trying to help them become even better.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Shout for JoyIn Zechariah 9:9-10, we hear the words, "Shout for joy." We are told to be joyful because our king is coming. He comes to end fighting and bring peace.
Have a parade of joy with the children. Give each child a 15-inch long crepe- paper streamer of various colors. Teach the following song to the children. Have the children wave their streamers as they march and sing this song in parade fashion.
Shout for Joy
(to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Shout for joy, shout for joy,
Hear our call, hear our call. Peace to you, and to you;
Peace to you, and to you;
One and all, one and all.
Rest in the LordIn the gospel we are invited to come to Jesus with all our concerns and burdens and to find rest and peace in him. He will lighten our loads by his presence in our lives.
Have the children lay down on a carpeted area or a grassy area outside. Play soft music and have the children close their eyes and listen to the music. As the music plays, read Matthew 11:25-30. Encourage them to remember that Jesus is with them and that he wants peace for them.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
A Spirit CommercialMost of us have seen enough commercials for junk food, popular clothing, shampoo, and toothpaste to last us for a lifetime. Consider: What kind of commercial might appeal to a person's spirit? First, name some "spiritual goods" worth having and developing (for example: friendship, quiet time, reading, prayer, Bible study, contact with nature, going out of your way to help others, etc.). Sketch or describe a commercial for one of these activities on a separate piece of paper.
How can you try to pay more attention to the spirit-needs of your family and friends?
Teaching PeacePeople who have weapons are often tempted to push others around and overcome others by superior strength. Jesus challenged his followers to be peacemakers. Decide how you will participate in these peace strategies. Suggestions are in italics.
Strategies for Peace
By refusing to argue with or be offended by a friend or family member.
By developing a better sense of humor so I will not be so proud or defensive or insecure.
Tell the other person, "I know you are convinced of your point of view. I'm sorry that I can't share it."
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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