The Keys of the Kingdom
August 21st, 2011 (see other dates)
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What "keys" have you been given to exercise authority, at home, at school, in your parish or neighborhood? What ways will you try to serve, lead, and influence others in order to further God's kingdom here on earth?
Reading 1 Isaiah 22:19-23
Reading 1 ReflectionIn the first reading, God is speaking to Shebna, an official in the king's palace. Shebna has been more concerned with building up his own power than in serving God. He exercises his authority over others rather than for them. So he will be replaced by Eliakim, who will hold the "key of the House of David on his shoulder." This key is a symbol of authority that comes from God. A good leader places his or her trust in the Lord.
In the Bible a key is often used as a symbol of authority and of opening and closing. Leaders have the responsibility of opening the doors of happiness and wisdom for those whom they serve. Pray for all who have positions of leadership, that they will use their authority wisely.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think of the people in your life whom you might call "wisdom figures." Why? What qualities does a person of wisdom possess? What will you do to become a person of wisdom to others?
Reading 2 Romans 11:33-36
Reading 2 ReflectionAlthough this second reading is from a letter, it sounds more like a song. Realizing that God created everything and keeps everything in existence, Paul bursts into this hymn of praise. He is awed by God's mysterious ways, which are beyond our understanding. Make the prayer of St. Paul your own: To God be glory forever. Amen.
Discussion Questions for GospelHow do you respond to the question Jesus asked the disciples in today's gospel? How will you live that response?
Gospel Matthew 16:13-20
Gospel ReflectionJesus challenges his disciples with the question "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter, the spokesman of the group, replies, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." As soon as Simon confesses this deep faith, Jesus changes his name to Peter, which means "rock." Peter is to be the firm foundation on which Jesus will build his Church. Jesus also gives him the symbolic "keys of the kingdom of heaven." Peter would have the authority of leadership in the Church after Jesus' ascension. Today, the Pope with the bishops, the successors of Peter and the apostles, exercise that same authority.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Prayer KeysMake copies of the prayer key, one for each child. Help the children cut out the keys and glue them to construction paper. Place a piece of magnet on the back of each paper. Read the prayer with the children and explain that we are praying for all those people who have positions of leadership and authority in our world, such as the pope, the bishops and priests, the president of our country, members of Congress, the principal, teachers, and parents. Encourage the children to place these keys on their refrigerators at home and to pray the prayer with their families often.
Hymn of PraiseGive each child a musical note cut out of construction paper. On the note have them write or illustrate one thing for which they want to praise God. Ideas include for creating them, for loving them, for all their many gifts, for listening to them, etc. Place these notes on a bulletin board to resemble a musical score. Title the bulletin board, "We Praise You, Lord."
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Who Are You?People had many different ideas about who Jesus might be. Today's gospel tells us that Peter was one of the first to recognize him for who he really was. Imagine the responses you might receive if you asked others, "Who do you say that I am?" Record their responses, then record your own response.
"Who do you say that I am?"
Your parent(s) or guardian(s):
A classmate who is not a close friend:
A coach or teacher who knows you:
Your best friend:
Which of these responses is most important to you right now? How will you act as a person of faith in reply to these responses?
Marking the KeysOn this or a separate piece of paper, draw three keys with a round or rectangular key tag attached to each one. Keys are symbols of leadership and influence on others who come into our lives. They are also symbols of service in our Church. Mark each key tag with one way you will try to serve, lead, and influence others toward the kingdom of God.
· I will encourage others to work with me against racism and other forms of discrimination.
· I will pray for and practice the leadership skills of wisdom, unselfishness, and drawing out others? gifts.
· I will influence others by my example and by speaking up for those who are abused or forgotten by society.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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