"Thinking as God does"
September 13th, 2015 (see other dates)
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What is the personal cost of following Jesus Christ? What does it "cost me" to live the Beatitudes and the Commandments, to participate in the liturgy each week or oftener, to seek God in all things (as Saint Ignatius Loyola put it)? What do I want more of in my life of discipleship? How can I "open my ear" to hear God in my life? What do I need to stay away from if I am to be a more sincere disciple?
Reading 1 Isaiah 50:4-9a
Reading 1 ReflectionIn this reading, the prophet describes the servant of God who will lead Israel back to God. The servant will suffer, but God will uphold him. In New Testament, these words take on new meaning for us. Jesus was the suffering servant in Isaiah, the Messiah who was destined to suffer and so enter into his glory.
As followers of Jesus, we must follow him in his mission and in his trials and suffering. W e may not be asked to die for our faith, but we will be asked to live our faith with courage and full faithfulness.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think of a time when you asked someone for help and you received help. How did you feel? Think of a time when you asked for help and the person you asked said, more or less, "Goodbye and good luck!" without helping you. How did you feel?
The first Christians were known for their sharing with each other, their help to one another and to all in need. "See how these Christians love one another!" their neighbors said. We are witnesses to Christ. How does what we do bring people to Christ? When we neglect to help others, what does that tell people about Christ? How does it feel to be a witness, a representative, of Christ to the world--to have Christ's reputation resting on your actions?
Reading 2 James 2:14-18
Reading 2 ReflectionIn this reading the difference between merely talking about faith and practicing it is stressed. What good are kindly wishes to those who need clothing and food for today? Faith without good works is dead.
Let us be concerned for the people around us who are in need. Good intentions are not enough. The love of Christ urges us to act for justice and peace for all God's people.
Discussion Questions for GospelYou may wish to have the group respond to these questions in writing.
Why do people reject other people? Have you ever been rejected for doing what was right or for "not going along with the crowd"? (Remember: God created each of us as unique persons. The person who rejects knowing you is the real loser! He or she is missing a unique creation of God!)
What "crosses" do you have to "take up" in your life right now? Will you ask Jesus to help you?
Gospel Mark 8:27-35
Gospel ReflectionIn this reading, Jesus teaches his disciples what they have gradually come to discover: He is indeed the Messiah. But he is a Messiah who must suffer and die.
Peter found this hard to accept. For Peter, the Messiah would not, could not, suffer. Judging by human standards, not God's, Peter failed to accept God's will for the Messiah. Jesus assured all his disciples that they, too, must suffer: deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow him.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
A Cross HuntShow the children pictures of various crosses. Encyclopedias and the internet are good references for crosses found in art. Then ask the children where they have seen crosses. Take the children on a walk around the building or into church and "hunt" for crosses. As each cross is found, stop and look at it as a group. Notice any unique qualities about it. When you return to the classroom, have the children discuss the similarities and differences of the various crosses seen. Then provide paper and markers and let the children illustrate their favorite cross that they saw.
Edible CrossProvide each child with six square crackers. Show them how to arrange these in the shape of a cross. Provide various toppings for the crackers such as cream cheese, jam, etc. Let the children put toppings on their crackers, if they would like, and then eat their crosses.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Expressing Faith in ActionIn the second reading we are told that we need to do more than express our faith in words; we need to show our faith in actions. Tell how you can express in action each of the beliefs listed below.
I BELIEVE THAT
I SHOW THIS BY
1. God is more important than anyone or anything in my life.
2. Jesus is my Savior and gave his life for me.
3. The Holy Spirit lives within me.
4. I am called as a member of Christ's Church to bring the good news to others.
Note: Some possible ways to show faith in action are: making time for prayer every morning or evening; carrying my crosses out of love for Jesus; respecting my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit; respecting others as created and loved by God; helping the poor and the sick. Do these or similar ones express your beliefs?
Responding to Jesus' QuestionIn the gospel reading Jesus asked the apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" Write Peter's response here. "You are..."
What would you answer if Jesus were to ask you this same question today?
What words in today's gospel show that Peter did not understand what kind of Messiah Jesus would be?
What message was Jesus trying to teach about following him?
How would you share this message in the world today?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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