January 1st, 2012 (see other dates)
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God (Solemnity and holy day of obligation)
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Who are the people in your life that you consider "blessed?" What qualities impress you? Who might look to you as a "blessed person?" What can you do to become more aware of the many blessings that surround you in your everyday life?
Reading 1 Numbers: 6:22-27
Reading 1 ReflectionIn this reading from the Book of Numbers, the key word is "bless." People who are "blessed" are brought into a close personal relationship with God. God watches over them in a special way, radiates love and joy on them, and favors them with peace and well being.
Today?s first reading gives us the words we can use whenever we want to pray for God's blessing. What a beautiful thing it is to have God's blessing and to pray for that blessing for others! Why not memorize the middle five lines of the blessing in today's reading? Pray it with your family after a meal.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2When do you turn to Mary? Today we celebrate Mary as our mother in the family of faith. How can you help others to learn more about Mary? How will you honor Mary as the one chosen by God to bring Jesus into the world?
Reading 2 Galatians 4:4-7
Reading 2 ReflectionIn this reading Saint Paul tells us that we have become God's adopted daughters and sons. Through Jesus' Spirit, we are made God's own children and heirs of all that God has promised. God is "Abba," like a wonderful parent who is absolutely crazy about us. In a special way, Jesus has given us Mary to be our mother, too. Many cares for us and for all of God's family with the same love she had for Jesus. We can turn to Mary our mother with all our needs and hopes, confident that she will never fail us.
Discussion Questions for GospelWhich qualities of Mary would you most like to develop in your life? Why? What steps will you need to take to acquire those qualities? How can we encourage devotion to Mary?
Gospel Luke 2:16-21
Gospel ReflectionThe shepherds found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. And once they saw, they understood what God's message meant. This knowledge is another gift from God. And in the midst of all these amazing events is the quiet person of Mary. It is through her cooperation that all these blessings have come to us according to God's plan. She does not brag, or talk, or question. Luke tells us that she treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. Today, after receiving the Eucharist, take a few minutes to think about the "treasures" you have been given in the gift of Jesus. Ask Mary to help you reflect on them in your heart, as she did. In this way you will keep alive the meaning of Christmas all year long.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Blessing for the New YearIn the first reading, the Lord explains to Moses how to bless his people. Offer a blessing to the class using the words from this reading. Gather the children together. Instruct them to bow their heads. With your hands extended over the children, say the following blessing.
"The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!"
Have the children respond, "Amen!"
Ring in the New Year with Good NewsNew Year's Day is a time when we resolve to improve our lives. This year make a resolution as a class to learn more about the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection as found in scripture.
Reproduce the bell on construction paper and write one scripture reference on it. Make one bell for each week of school. During prayer time on Monday of each week, place one bell on a bulletin board. Read the scripture passage to the children. Some suggested scripture passages include, Luke 15:4-7, Luke 8:4-8, Matthew 13:24-30, and Luke 15:11-32.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Reflecting on the Gift of LifeToday's gospel tells us that Mary treasured in her heart and reflected on all the mysterious happenings that surrounded Jesus' birth. Talk with your family about the day of your birth or adoption and the circumstances that surrounded it. Look over any pictures you may have of this day. Share together your thoughts about the wonderful gifts of life God gave you through your parents. List some of the important things you want to remember about the day of your birth. My name _______________________________________
My date of birth __________________________________
The time I was born _______________________________
How much I weighed ______________________________
The date of my Baptism ___________________________
Some things family and friends said about me ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________
Writing a Thank-You NoteIn his Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul reminds us of the most wonderful privilege in the world we have been given?being chosen as God's own adopted daughters and sons. Write a thank-you note to God, telling God how grateful you are for this favor and how you will try to live as a faithful son or daughter of God.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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