The Lord bless you and keep you.
NOTE: You might use this blessing this week in your family or in your group
Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God (solemnity, holy day of obligation)
Discussion Questions for Reading 1As we begin a new calendar year, what "clue" does this reading give you about ways to be a blessing for others? How will you share the blessings of God with others?
Reading 1 Reflection
This reading from the Book of Numbers contains a priestly blessing that we still use today. It was given to Moses and his brother Aaron. For us, the blessing presents a reassuring image of God as One whose face is shining with kindness and mercy. God's blessing keeps us secure and gives us peace.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2The first day of the year is a very important day throughout the world. It is a day of beginning. Why do you think this day is given to the celebration of Mary? How can you honor Mary on this day and throughout the year? Take time to pray on this solemnity: Mary, Mother of God, teach me how to cooperate with God's plan for my life.
Reading 2 Reflection
These words from St. Paul's letter to the Galatians are a summary of the way God's plan of salvation has been carried out. They emphasize the contrast between life-before-Christ and life-after-Christ for God's people. With Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we become adopted sons and daughters of God. We call God "Abba," just as Jesus did. This new relationship was made possible because Mary of Nazareth said yes to God's plan.
Discussion Questions for GospelHow will you follow the example of Mary in your prayer during the Christmas season? How will you follow the example of the shepherds in sharing your faith? Recall that the name Jesus means "Savior" or "God saves." We are saved because we can now live our lives in God's grace rather than in fear. We know God loves us and wants the best for us. How can we respond?
The Son of God came to live among us. Jesus gave his life so we might live. How do you show reverence for the name of Jesus?
Luke presents us with an excellent model of prayer. The scene is the manger at Bethlehem, shortly after Jesus' birth. The shepherds, who represent the poor, the "little people," have come to see the child who was announced to them by the angels. Mary, our model of prayer, quietly considers the meaning of the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds. She treasures all these things and reflects on them in her heart.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
New Year's Blessing
Say the following blessing with the children. Invite them to decorate the bell
. Encourage the children to share the blessing with their families.
New Year's Day is here again.
God's love and blessing, He does send.
In each day of this brand new year,
We'll share God's love both far and near.
Mary treasures the events of Jesus' birth in her heart. Have children ask their parents to share a special memory about their birth or early years. Have the parents write this on a heart
and send this back to school. Provide art materials for the children to use to decorate these hearts. Bind these together into a class book titled, "Treasured Memories."
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Giving a Blessing
A blessing is both a prayer and an expression of care for someone or something. In today's first reading, the Lord gives Moses a blessing for the people. Write a blessing for one of the following. You might want to illustrate it or set it to music.
- for homeless or hungry people
- for your mother or all mothers
- for your parish
- for the earth
When will you pray this blessing?
Off to a Good Start
Today's feast reminds us to get off to a good start for the new year. What New Year's resolutions will you make? Look at the topics below. Form a resolution for each one. My Resolutions
- being true to yourself:
- increasing your friendship with Jesus:
- helping others to be happy:
- giving Mary a place in your life:
- overcoming one bad habit: