September 30th, 2007 (see other dates)
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Sometimes people feel secure only when they have a nice house, money in the bank, and lots of possessions. How will you show that your true security comes from Gods love for you?
Reading 1 Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Reading 1 ReflectionAmos was a shepherd. When God called him to be a prophet, Amos did not forget the values of simple living in harmony with nature. The selfish ways of the rich disgusted him. They thought only of their own comfort and placed their trust in their wealth rather than in God. The prophet warned them that God would not allow their sinfulness to remain unpunished.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What do you do when you feel like "giving up or giving in"? Faith is a gift of God, but we need to help it grow strong. How do you strengthen your faith? How do you help others grow in faith?
Pray together: Jesus, help us to encourage others by our own example of honesty, compassion, and a peaceful spirit. When we feel like giving up or giving in, call us to "fight the good fight of faith." We ask this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Reading 2 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Reading 2 ReflectionToday's reading is the conclusion of the first letter to Timothy, a leader of the early Christian community. The writer, Paul, urges Timothy to serve others by practicing all the virtues (that is, strengths) we see in Jesus. Timothy must "fight the good fight of faith" and be committed to the truth until the Lord comes again.
Discussion Questions for GospelDo we, like the rich man, sometimes forget God's word about sharing what we have with the poor? Do we sometimes ignore or see right through the hungry or homeless person in our own community? How will you show that you have heard Jesus' warning about ignoring Lazarus?
Why didn't Father Abraham let Lazarus go down to the five brothers? The rich man was sure that if someone rose from the dead and went to his brothers, they would change their minds and repent. What was Father Abraham's answer? Do you know Someone who rose from the dead? What was his message to us? Do we follow it?
Gospel Luke 16:19-31
Gospel ReflectionTo whom is Jesus speaking when he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus? Luke's Gospel prepares us for this parable by telling us that was the money-loving Pharisees who had made fun of Jesus' teaching that "you cannot give yourself to God and money." We read this teaching in last week's gospel. But Jesus also speaks to us today as he describes the eternal reward of Lazarus and the punishment of the rich man.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Called to ShareHave the children make a class picture. Roll out a large piece of butcher paper. Provide a limited supply of markers and crayons. Instruct each child to draw a picture of himself on this butcher paper. Because of the limited supply of markers and crayons, the children will be forced to share and take turns with these items. Observe what happens. Talk to the children about sharing with others. Ask how it felt to want a certain color when someone else is using it. Explain that in the gospel reading, we are called to share what we have with those who have less.
Caring for OthersIn the first reading, the prophet Amos tells us that we should not care only about ourselves but should care about others, too. Encourage the children to bring in canned goods and non-perishable food items. Collect these in a large box. Bring them to a food pantry or a family in need.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Eyes of FaithThe parables of Jesus help us to see things more clearly, with the "eyes of faith." Jesus wants us to see what is really going on in the world and not accept the same, old, easy answers.
Think for a moment about the gospel parable today and what the rich man did not see. The following are typical "easy answers." One possible response based on the gospel message is given. "I had to work hard for my money. Let the poor do the same." Now write your own!
Many full-time jobs do not pay enough to support one person, let alone a family. We help in order to spread God's love and justice to all.
How will you try to avoid the "easy answers" in your life?
Prophetic TelevisionLook at the reading from the prophet Amos again. When the prophet says that the people, especially the leaders, living a life of luxury "are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph," he means that they are totally unconcerned that their neighbors are going hungry and that the weak and needy of the land have been trampled down.
Imagine that you are Amos (or Amosa) Goodworth, TV news reporter. How would you carry this story of the contrast between luxury and "collapse" on your television news? Would you interview people? Who? What scenes would you film? Why? You might want to ask members of your group to play the people you interview and the people you show in your film clips. End your "coverage" with a snappy, "That's our story, and I'm Amos(a) Goodworth. Good evening!"
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