October 30th, 2011 (see other dates)
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1
Malachi repeats the phrase "lay it to heart" twice in today's reading. What does that mean? How can we take the word of God to heart in our prayer and actions? The reading refers to giving glory to God's name. What prayers do you know which give glory to God's name? The reading also refers to "turning aside from the way." What does that mean? What word does Malachi use three times to indicate God's displeasure? What does it mean to break faith with each other?
Reading 1 Malachi 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10
Reading 1 Reflection
Malachi reminds us how easy it is to forget God's blessings and to turn aside from God's ways. In our first reading the prophet is addressing some of the evils of his day. He says that the people are not serious about giving God glory because their leaders are misguiding them. They have broken the covenant with God and have broken faith with one another. The prophet calls for repentance.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2
What else beside the word of God did Paul want to share with the Thessalonians? Why? What does it mean when Paul says that the word of God is at work within those who believe? Have you ever met anyone in whom the word of God seemed to be at work? What would help us to become persons and a people in whom the word of God is at work?
Reading 2 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13
Reading 2 Reflection
Although Paul was a brilliant apostle, he did not try to influence people by throwing his weight around. He guided the Christian communities with gentleness and fatherly love. He showed his respect for them because he recognized that the word of God was at work within them.
Discussion Questions for Gospel
What does it mean when Jesus says about the religious leaders of his day "their words are bold but their deeds are few?" Recall people in your own life who have brought you closer to God. What does Jesus say about service? About humility? How will you act so that your life can be a message of faith to everyone you meet?
Gospel Matthew 23:1-12
Today's gospel reminds us that the good example of one person can have far reaching effects. The advice Jesus gives is that our lives--not just our words--should bring the good news to others. In other words, we should practice what we preach. When we fail to do this, we rob our beliefs of their power to affect others. Think of the early Christian martyrs whose example of faith led others to Christ.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Answer these questions in groups of three or by yourself if no group is available.
The first reading reminds us that we all belong to the same family of God. Yet we sometimes "break faith" and forget that we are called on to be responsible people. How can you "keep faith" and act responsibly in the situations below?
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Service and Greatness: An Action Plan
A. Today's gospel message is that our lives, not just our words, should bring the good news to others. Design a poster, a web site, or a one-minute ad to illustrate the words of the proverb, "PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH."
B. Draw a rainbow. In each arc of a different color, print the name of a form of service someone your age could do to show you were practicing your faith.
Choose one of those service opportunities you will pledge to do in the next month, and list the steps you will take to make it happen.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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