October 19th, 2014 (see other dates)
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1God speaks to Cyrus. Find three lines in the reading from Isaiah that indicate God's good relationship with Cyrus. What does it mean to say God opens doors for Cyrus? What doors has God opened for people you know? What doors might God be opening for you? How will you answer as God's calls your name?
Reading 1 Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Reading 1 ReflectionGod is full of endless surprises. Who would have imagined that God would use a pagan king to free the Israelites from their Babylonian captors? But that is exactly what happened in 538 B.C. Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon. He then liberated God's people and sent them home to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. Today's first reading tells us that God called Cyrus God's "anointed." Even though Cyrus did not know the one true God, he acted as God's agent. Good people everywhere can carry out the will of God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2St. Paul thanks God for the people he is writing to and remembers them in his prayers. What is he remembering about these people that makes him grateful? What are the three most important virtues that he mentions here?
Reading 2 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Reading 2 ReflectionWhen St. Paul preached the good news, he was always careful to practice what he preached. Only in that way would people recognize the Holy Spirit speaking through him. Paul spoke with conviction, a strong belief backed up by a strong faith life.
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus' enemies want to trap him and they start the conversation by saying nice things. What do they say? What is the trick question they finally ask? How does Jesus answer? What would you say that in your life belongs to Caesar? What belongs to God? Can you think of any issues in our country where the ideas of the government might be a problem to one who is trying to live for God?
Gospel Matthew 22:15-21
Gospel ReflectionJesus too is full of surprises! When his enemies think they have laid the perfect trap for him, Jesus doesn't get caught. His questioners ask whether it is against God's law to pay taxes to the Roman emperor, a pagan ruler. If Jesus says yes, he will be in trouble with the Romans. If he says no, he will be in trouble with the majority of his own people. Jesus gives a masterful answer. He tells his questioners that if they use Caesar's money, then they have to pay for it. But they must also pay what belongs to God, who takes care of our needs. Jesus' answer addresses a much more important issue: our relationship with God.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Quilt of NamesIn Isaiah's reading, we are told that God calls Cyrus by name to do his will. God also calls each of us by name to do his will.
Make a name quilt. Write each child's name on a 6" by 6" square of construction paper in bubble letters. Let the children color and decorate their names. Place the name squares together on a bulletin board to form a quilt.
Belonging to God
The gospel reading for this Sunday is Matthew 22:15-21. Re-read the passage to the children. Then emphasize that as children of God we belong to him.
We're children of God; we belong to him;
Gather the children and have them join hands to form a circle. Invite them to turn in a circle as they sing the words above. Then have the children take turns going into the middle of the circle and acting out one way we can show God our love: fold hands in prayer, move arms as if sweeping, move one arm or hand as if writing. As each child is doing the action, have the other children sing the following verse:
This is the way we show God our love,
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Take My Hand, LordIsaiah tells us that God grasped Cyrus's hand. In a way God takes our hand, too. Do you feel safe with God holding your hand? Is God congratulating you with a handshake? Or leading you somewhere beyond where you are? Is God showing you that he cares for you, or that you are loved?
Write a prayer telling how you feel to have God take your hand.
Give ThanksSt. Paul tells his friends that he thanks God for them and prays for them, thanking God for their faith, hope, and laboring in love. Think of someone who labors in love for you, who works hard for you, helps you, believes in you, and hopes for only the best for you. Write this person's name, and what you could say to be thankful to them, the way St. Paul did.
Make this into a thank you card for the one you are thinking of, or into a poster you could give them.
Trick QuestionsJesus was asked a trick question and gave a good answer. Here are three trick questions. Can you give good answers?
1 What difference does it make if I cheat? No one knows.
2. Why do I have to be told what to do? I can think for myself.
3. All the popular people have a lot of money. Does money mean everything?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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