Proclaiming Faith


Believe

May 5th, 2013 (see other dates)

Sixth Sunday of Easter




Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Notice that the resolution to this question and the peace that followed did not come automatically from "on high." Paul, Barnabas, and some others had to travel to a meeting in Jerusalem. There were discussions. Finally, a decision was made that was "the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us." What does it take to make and keep peace in your family? your group of friends? your class at school? Is there a situation in your life now that needs a peaceful solution? What steps can you take to help that happen? How will you know that your solution is "of the Holy Spirit?"

Reading 1 Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

Reading 1 Reflection

Perhaps you have seen it coming. In recent weeks, our readings from the Acts of the Apostles have shown a growing split between Jews and Gentiles in the early Christian community. Many Jewish Christians in Jerusalem felt that the Gentile believers should be required to fulfill the law of Moses. So Paul and Barnabas went on a peacemaking mission to Jerusalem, where they met with Peter and the others. Together they chose a delegation to return to Antioch with a "peace treaty" letter. In it they assured all Gentiles that the Holy Spirit approved of them as members of the Church. They would not be required to abide by the Mosaic Law.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

In this reading, "the holy city, a new Jerusalem" is an image of the Church. It is an image of beauty and light. How can you make the Church more beautiful? How can you help the Church to follow the light of Jesus?

Pray together: Jesus, be the lamp that guides our steps and enlightens our minds. Be the light that draws us to prayer and worship within your beautiful city, the Church. Amen.

Reading 2 Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23

Reading 2 Reflection

Christian artists would never run out of symbols if they went looking in the Book of Revelation. Our reading today is filled with symbols that gleam and sparkle. The author envisions the gathering of all Christ's faithful ones in the heavenly Jerusalem. It shines like a diamond; its unsurpassed beauty flows from those who have persevered in faith. Its foundation stones are beautifully inscribed with the names of the apostles. And, most magnificent of all, God is the temple in this shining city. And Jesus is the lamp glowing over all.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

If Jesus' gift to us is peace, why do we so often lack peace in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world? What does loving Jesus and being true to his word have to do with the gift of peace that he promises?

We believe that God is Trinity?Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross that we pray so often affirms our faith. One day this week, be aware of yourself as a child of God the Father. How does this affect you, your attitudes, your prayers? Another day, be aware of the gift of Jesus to us. How does this affect you, your attitudes, your prayers? Another day, be aware of the Comforter, God the Holy Spirit, that Jesus promised. How does this awareness of the Spirit affect you, your attitudes, your prayers?

Gospel John 14:23-29

Gospel Reflection

In the gospel today, Jesus continues to speak about love. Those who live will experience God's love in their lives and the gift of peace that only Christ can give. Jesus also promises to send the Paraclete, or the Comforter, to his disciples. The Paraclete is the Holy Spirit, who will guide the Church for all time. Jesus' followers will not be left on their own.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

The Gift of Peace

Jesus tells us in the gospel, "My peace I give to you." In a large gift box, place the word "Peace" written on construction paper. Wrap the box as a gift. Gather the children and explain that Jesus has given us a special gift. Unwrap the gift and show them the word "Peace." Explain to the children that we must take Jesus' gift of peace and share it with others. Ask the children to think of one way that they can share peace with their families at home. Have them write or illustrate this on paper. Give each child a small paper bag. Have them put their papers inside the bags. Seal and tie with a ribbon to resemble a gift. Encourage the children to bring these home to share "peace" with their families.

Give Peace a Hand

Write the word "peace" in large, bubble letters on poster board. Discuss with the children ways that they can share peace with others at school. Have the children agree to do one of these peace-sharing activities each day. As a symbol of their commitment to share peace, have each child place a painted handprint inside the bubble letters of the word peace. Display this for all to see.


Proclaiming Faith Activities

Passing on the Gift

"My peace I give to you," Jesus tells us today. But, like love, peace is a gift that must be given away. It is a gift our world sorely needs. How will you and your friends pass on the gift of peace that you have received from Christ?

On a separate piece of paper, draw four large circles. These are Circles of Peace. In one circle write One Person Alone. In another circle write Two Persons Together. In another circle write My Entire Parish. In another circle write My Entire Religion Group.

Then look carefully at each of the Works of Peace below. List each one in a circle that could most easily fulfill that work of peace. For example, the first work is prayer. One person alone can easily pray. Two persons can easily pray together. An entire parish can pray, and an entire religion group can pray. So "prayer" is a work of peace that can be included in each of the circles.

Works of Peace

  • prayer
  • fasting
  • study and teaching
  • writing letters
  • joining or forming an organization
  • fundraising
  • reconciliation efforts
  • use of the media (TV, radio, newspapers, the internet)
  • use of music and humor
What action or actions appeal to you? How can you make them a reality?

Drawing Revelation Symbols

Choose one of the following symbols from the Book of Revelation. Draw or write about it and explain what it means in your life
  • scroll
  • seven gold lampstands
  • heavenly throne or court
  • Lamb of God
  • lamp
  • white robes
  • shepherd
  • New Jerusalem
  • foundation stones
Suggestions: A scroll reminds us of God's word, which guides and encourages us A white robe reminds us of a baptismal garment and our call to service.
Note: Use your imagination! Be creative! There are no wrong answers!



For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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