September 11th, 2011 (see other dates)
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What line in the lesson from Sirach tells us why it is necessary to forgive? Can you think of additional reasons?
When we pray the Our Father, we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. What does the word "as" mean in this prayer?
Reading 1 Sirach 27: 30-28:9
Reading 1 ReflectionThe Book of Sirach contains many maxims, or brief sayings, about how we should conduct our lives. Today?s first reading gives us several maxims on why and how to forgive our enemies. We are told that even though "wrath and anger are hateful things" that harm us, we sometimes hang on tight to them. Forgiveness is good for us and for those who have harmed us. If we refuse to pardon others, how can we expect God to pardon us?
We are also advised to think about the final days of our life. This may help us to find it easier to forgive. Why do we sometimes hang on to anger and grudges? In what ways will Sirach?s maxims help you?
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What are some actions we can do that will prove "we are the Lord?s"
Reading 2 Romans 14:7-9
Reading 2 ReflectionPaul believes that a Christian should have one answer to two basic questions: For whom are you living? For whom would you die? The answer is: our Lord Jesus Christ. He has given everything for us, and we belong to him. In what ways will you live for Christ?
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus told a parable of forgiveness in this story. How does this story make a connection with the Our Father which says: "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?"
Gospel Matthew 18:21-35
Gospel ReflectionLike Peter we can sometimes think we can limit forgiveness to a certain number of times. We say to ourselves, "I have forgiven that person two times already. I?m not forgiving again." Yet Jesus insists that we forgive again and again, just as God forgives us. Today?s parable reminds us that God is always ready to forgive. But God expects us to forgive others too. This is part of our understanding of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
The message of forgiveness and reconciliation is a strong one in today?s gospel. Take a moment to think about it. When will you celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation?
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Ways to ForgiveHave the children role-play forgiving each other. Present them with various situations such as the ones listed below. Discuss forgiving ways to react to each situation. Then have them act these out.
Prayer for ForgivenessThe readings for this Sunday all center on forgiveness and our call to be forgiving. Gather the children in a circle and join hands. Offer a prayer to the Holy Spirit to ask for help in forgiving people who have hurt them.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Love Your EnemiesAfter someone tried to kill Pope John Paul II several years ago in St. Peter?s Square, the Pope visited him in prison and spoke words of forgiveness from the heart. How do you think the gunman felt when he heard the Pope?s words? The Pope represents Christ for us on earth. How did this action represent Christ?
The United States Bishops wrote a public statement on the death penalty. Look it up on the Bishops? web site at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/criminal/cappunishment.htm and find three quotes that speak about forgiveness.
ForgivenessThe sacrament of Reconciliation helps us to understand and receive forgiveness. Which part of this sacrament helps us to
connect with the Church?s power to forgive _________________________
recognize we are sinful _________________________________________
admit our sinfulness ____________________________________________
be sorry ______________________________________________________
ask forgiveness ________________________________________________
receive forgiveness _____________________________________________
thank God for being forgiven _____________________________________
promise not to sin again _________________________________________
do something to show we are trying to change _______________________
A Prayer BookletWrite a prayer you could say before or after receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Fold a piece of paper in half and then in half again to make a four-page booklet. On the cover make a design with these words:
Forgiveness--70 X 7--Thank you, Lord.
Print your prayer inside the booklet.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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