July 7th, 2013 (see other dates)
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1In our society today, cities are often seen as dangerous. While this can be true, it is not the only truth about city life. It was certainly not the only fact about a city in ancient times. Cities were islands of safety in the midst of a lonely and dangerous environment. In the wilderness, alone, you could run out of food or be attacked by robbers or even wild animals. In the city, with its strong walls and city watchmen, among neighbors and friends, you were safe. In the city was found prosperity and peace. Here the city of Jerusalem is a symbol of safety and security. It is an image of God. Do you ever think of God as a walled city, safe and secure for you? Do you ever think of God as a mother, ready to carry you and comfort you?
You might like to learn something about the city of Jerusalem today. It is a city of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Look for pictures and articles about Jerusalem. Pray that God's peace and prosperity will overflow once more in the Jerusalem of today. Pray also for the people living in the largest city near you.
Reading 1 Isaiah 66:10-14c
Reading 1 ReflectionHave you ever watched a small baby with its mother? If the baby is nursing or just snuggling, it is completely happy in its mother's arms. That is the image used in today's reading to tell the Israelites how happy they will be when Jerusalem is restored. The holy city is like their mother. She knows how much they have suffered in exile. Now she will comfort and nourish them. And God will comfort them like a mother, too, and once again shower them with good gifts.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Rituals are very important to us. The sacraments we receive are ritual actions that carry God's grace. Weddings, baptisms, and funerals help us find God in our lives. The Eucharist strengthens us each week to live our lives in the power of Jesus Christ. But we bring something very important to these rituals. We bring our faith. Faith is God's gift to us. By faith we say yes to God. Think about the way you celebrate the sacraments and other rituals of the Church. How do they help you say yes to God?
Reading 2 Galatians 6:14-18
Reading 2 ReflectionSome of the Christians of Galatia thought that they should follow all the regulations of the Old Testament. Paul tells them that they do not have to follow ritual laws like circumcision. They have been "created anew" in Jesus Christ. Like Paul, they should trust in the cross of Jesus and boast of nothing but their faithfulness to the Lord.
Discussion Questions for GospelAt this time, Jesus had seventy-two disciples. How many disciples does he have today? The number is probably in the millions. What are we, the disciples of Jesus, doing today to announce the kingdom of God? How are we carrying out Jesus' message of love and peace and justice and hope in our world today?
Imagine for a moment that Jesus sent you and a partner into your town or city to proclaim God's kingdom. How would you do it? What would you do first?
Is there a way you could do this very thing in reality? Why or why not?
Gospel ReflectionIf Jesus sounds like he means business in this reading, he does! What matters most to him in the whole world is to make people understand that the reign of God is at hand. This is why he sends his disciples out in every direction.
The harvest (people who have not heard the good news of the gospel) is ready right now. Jesus instructs the disciples to go quickly and travel light. They are to spread his peace, cure the sick, and proclaim the reign of God.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Like a Mother, God Comforts UsIn the first reading, Isaiah tells us that God will comfort and care for His people just as a mother comforts and cares for her child.
Discuss with the children ways in which their mothers show their love and care for them. Reproduce the flower pot page for each child. On one of the circles, have the children draw a picture of their moms. On the other circles, have them write or illustrate ways their mothers care and comfort them. Then have them add fingerprint petals around each circle to make them into flowers.
Peace to This HouseholdThe gospel tells of Jesus sending out the disciples to spread his message of peace. He instructs his disciples to take nothing with them as they do this. When they enter a house, they are to greet the people there by saying, "Peace to this household." If welcomed, they are to stay and eat and drink what is offered.
Explain to the children that Jesus also wants us to spread his message of peace. Ahead of time arrange with another class to act this out. Ask the other class to have a snack for your class. Then take your class to visit this class. Knock on the door. When it is opened, have your class say together, "Peace to this class." The other children should respond, "Welcome. Come and share a snack with us."
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Working the HarvestToday Jesus reminds us, "The harvest is rich but the workers are few." We are not to waste time but be on our way!
Select one of the following Harvest Projects to do with a partner or group.
With whom? __________________________________________
A Harvest PrayerThe Church today is in great need of generous young people who will listen to the call of Jesus, the Master of the Harvest. Both part-time and full-time ministries are waiting to be filled. Think about a ministry in which you might like to be involved. Write a harvest prayer asking God to help you get involved in that ministry.
My Harvest Prayer
A Note on the National Catholic Rural Life Conference:
When Jesus spoke about the harvest, he was comparing the people of the world to a field ready for picking. Jesus knew and appreciated the rhythms of the earth?planting, waiting for seed to sprout, and then enjoying the fruits of labor. The Church in the United States is also concerned about those who live and work on the land, or who work in supportive fields like farm-related businesses. Find out about the work of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Its Web site is www.ncrlc.com. Among the topics listed is "Global Climate Change." This affects all of us! How can you help? An ecumenical faith-based Web site on that issue is www.webofcreation.org.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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