Kingdom of God
January 22nd, 2012 (see other dates)
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Who are the people in today's world that help us to turn away from sin and evil behavior? Do we always listen to the Jonahs in our lives? Why or why not? How do you sometimes help others to turn back to God and do the right thing?
How does celebrating Reconciliation show that we have had a change of heart?
Reading 1 Jonah 3:1-5,10
Reading 1 ReflectionGod sent the prophet Jonah to the people of the pagan city of Nineveh. The people of Nineveh were doing many sinful things, and Jonah warned them of God's anger. The people listened to Jonah. They turned from their evil ways, believed in God, fasted, and did penance. Because of their change of heart, God spared them.
No matter who we are, we all need God's mercy and forgiveness. Like the people of Nineveh, we are to turn away from evil and return to God without delay.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Why is it important to live each day as a preparation for God's Kingdom? How do we do that? Who helps us to remember that Christ will come again and that no one knows the time of his coming?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Reading 2 ReflectionIn this reading Saint Paul reminds the people of Corinth that our world is not a lasting home. By this he means that Christ will come again in glory. Until he comes again, we are to do our best to live good lives and to care for the needs of others. When we do these things, we are always ready to meet Christ. Preparing for God's Kingdom should always be a top priority for Christians.
Discussion Questions for GospelWhat does Jesus call his first disciples and us to do? Are there things that might prevent us from hearing Jesus' urgent call? What are they? Who or what can help us to put following Jesus first in our lives? What do you think Jesus means by the term "fishers of men"? Who do you know in your family, school, parish, or community that seems to be a fisher of men, women, or children? Explain what this person does and tell how you might try to follow this person's example.
Gospel Mark 1:14-20
Gospel ReflectionToday's gospel reading recounts how Jesus calls his first disciples Simon and Andrew, James and John. His herald, John the Baptist, has been put in prison. Jesus urgently calls people to repent and believe in the good news. Like the Ninevites in the first reading, the four fishermen immediately respond to God's call. They leave their boats and their nets in order to follow Jesus right on the spot. "I will make you fishers of men," Jesus promises his new disciples. They take his words to heart and make following him their first priority in life.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Fishers of MenRead the gospel to the children. Then select one student to be Jesus and others to be the disciples. Using masking tape, make an outline of a boat on the floor. Provide other props as available. Have the children act out the gospel reading.
Go FishingIn the gospel, we hear that the disciples were fishermen, and Jesus calls them to be "fishers of men." Provide bowls of fish-shaped crackers and clean laundry soap scoops. Let the children be Jesus' fishermen and women, scooping up some fish crackers for a snack.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Staging A SkitRecall together the story of Jonah and the Ninevites from the first reading. Plan a humorous skit in which Jonah walks all around the "city" wearing a "Repent" sandwich board. Decide how everyone who hears Jonah's message will show that they are turning away from evil and returning to God. Act out how everyone celebrates when God takes back his threat to destroy the city.
Writing An Urgent Action PlanIn today's gospel Jesus strongly urges his hearers to do three important things:
(Clue: "Urgent" means we take meaningful action now rather than putting it off to a more convenient time.)
One way I will reform my life is ____________________________________________.
One way I will show that I believe in the good news is ____________________________________________.
One way I will accept Jesus' call to come after him is ____________________________________________.
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