Follow That Star!
January 5th, 2014 (see other dates)
Epiphany of the Lord
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Have you seen "the glory of the Lord" shining in the world? How? In the Sunday liturgy? in a beautiful sunset? in a baby's smiling face? in the love of family and friends? How?
Reading 1 Isaiah 60:1-6
Reading 1 ReflectionIn biblical times, Jerusalem was the center of Israel's life as a nation because the Temple was there. Crowds of people went to Jerusalem from all parts of Israel. Today's first reading describes this holy city as radiating the light of God's presence to all the peoples of the earth. Israel became a light to all nations. Seeing "the glory of the Lord," other nations recognize the one true God and bring gifts "proclaiming the praises of the Lord."
Discussion Questions for Reading 2At Baptism, each one of us is called to reach out to others with the good news. Do you ever share your faith in Jesus with anyone outside the Catholic community? How might you do so? We really can reach people all over the world with our faith and love. Name some of the ways we can do this, in spiritual ways and in other ways. How can your group reach out to the world, especially to those in need, in a practical way?
Reading 2 Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Reading 2 ReflectionThe author of today's second reading recalls how God's "secret," or mysterious, plan of salvation was suddenly revealed to him when he came to know Jesus Christ. He reminds the Ephesians that all people are called to be one in Christ Jesus and that the gospel must be preached to them. Because Jesus was a Jew, some of his followers thought that Jesus' message was only for Jews. The early Church gradually came to realize that the message of Jesus was for everyone in the world. This was God's great plan!
Discussion Questions for GospelThe astrologers, or magi, represent all the peoples of the world. They had to make an effort to find Jesus. Even after seeing the star, they had to make a long journey before finding the Savior of the world. How are you like the magi? Do you have "stars" in your life that lead you on the right path to Jesus? Who or what are they?
Sometimes on long journeys, we are tempted to turn back. What keeps you on the road to Jesus?
It has been said that the star is a symbol of faith. How can your faith be a "star" for others this week? How can it light the way?
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12
Gospel ReflectionAs you listened to the gospel, did you hear any echoes of the Old Testament reading from Isaiah? Perhaps you noticed that in both readings people are being led by a bright light on a long journey. They want to see the Lord's glory and honor him with gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Matthew tells us the story of the astrologers, or magi. They followed a star to find "the newborn king of the Jews." Today's feast is called Epiphany, a word meaning "manifestation" or "shining forth" like a light. We celebrate that day when Jesus, our Light, was first revealed to the nations beyond Israel. Just as light shines forth so that we may see in the darkness, our faith in Jesus shines forth in us.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
My Gift to JesusThe three Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. Ask the children what gift they would give to Jesus. Wrap an empty box to resemble a gift. Gather the children in a circle and pass the gift around the circle. As each child holds the gift, have him/her share what gift he/she would give to Jesus.
Mosaic StarA star led the Wise Men to Jesus. Have students decorate a star with materials available in the classroom. Hang these stars from the ceiling as a reminder to look for Jesus? presence in our lives each day.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
From Youth to JesusAt Epiphany we think of the gifts of the magi and remember that we are called to walk by the light of Christ. Name or draw three gifts you think Jesus would most like to receive from youth around the world today. How will you work, either alone or with others, to make one of these gifts a reality? List the steps you will take.
Walking in the Light of the LordJesus is the Light of the World. How will you let the light of Jesus shine through you during this final week of the Christmas season? Choose from the list of "lights" below or name your own.
Which one did you choose?
When will you walk in this shining light this week?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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