April 29th, 2012 (see other dates)
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1In today's world, as well as in ancient times, innocent people are sometimes accused of wrongdoing and good deeds are sometimes met with criticism or blame. What examples can you think of from the news, from TV or movies, or from your own life? Why do you think these things happen? What does Peter's response to his accusers tell you about him? How has he changed since he denied that he knew Jesus when Jesus was under arrest?
In what ways can we show that we, like Peter, keep Jesus at the center of our lives?
Reading 1 Acts 4:8-12
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading presents us with a scene from a courtroom drama. An innocent man has been accused of lying and misleading people. However, the truth is that he has cured a paralyzed man simply by praying for him in the name of Jesus Christ. The Jewish leaders refuse to believe him because they have rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
The defendants in the case are Peter and John. They courageously insist that Jesus is the Savior of the entire human race, Jews and Gentiles alike.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What family resemblance’s do you share with your parents or grandparents? How have your parents and grandparents helped you to realize that you are a child of God? Name some of the ways you, your family, or your friends show that you are children of God.
At our Baptism, we rejected "Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness." What signs of the "father of sin" do you see in the world today? In what ways can your parish help people your age to reject the "prince of darkness"?
Reading 2 1 John 3:1-2
Reading 2 ReflectionOthers sometimes compare us to our parents by saying that we "look just like your father" or "act just like your mother." However, as this reading points out, we are all children of God. And one day our resemblance to God will be revealed. Meanwhile, the world may not recognize us for who we are because it has not recognized Jesus as the Son of God.
By remaining faithful to our Baptism, we show our resemblance to God. By treating all people as our brothers and sisters, we act like Jesus, our Brother.
Discussion Questions for GospelIn ancient Israel, a good shepherd was admired for his courage, dedication, and ability to provide everything his flock required. Who do you think might be considered good shepherds in today's world? Why? In what ways do you see Jesus as the Good Shepherd?
How are the followers of Jesus called to "shepherd" others who may be lost or afraid, weak or without guidance?
Gospel John 10:11-18
Gospel ReflectionWhen Jesus wanted to describe himself, he did not compare himself to a magnificent king or a powerful ruler. He said, "I am the good shepherd." And the people of his time knew immediately that he was speaking of a humble caretaker of the flock that depended on him for survival. Some shepherds work only for pay and leave their sheep unprotected. The good shepherd lays down his life to save them. No one forces him to do so. He chooses to give his life for the sheep he knows by name and loves to the end.
The Good Shepherd looks forward to the day when all people will "be one flock." They will recognize his voice and be gathered into his fold.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The CornerstoneIn the first reading, Peter refers to Jesus as the cornerstone of the Church. Illustrate this on a bulletin board. Give each child a stone drawn on a piece of construction paper. Have the children cut these out and glue torn pieces of gray or tan paper on the stones in mosaic style. Have the children write their names on their stones. Make one large stone and write "Jesus" on it. Use this as the cornerstone as the base stone of a church building. Use the children's stones to make an outline of a church on the bulletin board.
The Good ShepherdIn today's gospel, Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and whose sheep know him.
Play the good shepherd game. Have all the children sit in a circle on the floor. Select one child to be the good shepherd. Have the good shepherd close his eyes or turn his back away from the children. Point to one child and signal to that child to leave the room or hide behind a desk. Then have all the children baa like sheep to alert the good shepherd that one sheep is missing. Have the good shepherd try to figure out who is missing. Then have that child rejoin the group and become the good shepherd. Continue until all children have had a turn being the good shepherd.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Role-playing the Children of GodWith others in your group, role-play how you think a child of God would respond in each of these situations.
At your table in the school cafeteria, a fellow student is being criticized for organizing a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter. She is accused of "trying to get attention" and "pretending to be a saint when we all know what she's really like."
The football team is on the bus, heading for a rival school. Two players are plotting ways to insult and provoke the opposition players to ruin their concentration. The two players then discuss how they can get away with damaging property at the rival school. They are overheard by three teammates.
A group of young people outside a mall encounters a shabbily dressed man who is drinking from a bottle hidden in a paper bag. He stumbles and falls. Other passers-by laugh and make comments about the "wino."
Name the qualities of the children of God you have role-played.
Illustrating a Good LeaderMost modern people have never met a shepherd. Imagine what kind of person in today's world Jesus might compare himself with to illustrate the sort of leader he is. Then sketch or write a description of your version of the Good Shepherd. Explain your choice.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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