"there am I in the midst"
September 7th, 2014 (see other dates)
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What more do we learn about being a prophet from God's words to Ezekiel?
- I appoint you prophet
- You shall warn them
- I will hold you responsible
Why is the prophet's task difficult?
Reading 1 Ezekiel 33:7-9
Reading 1 ReflectionIn the first reading the Lord is appointing Ezekiel as the watchman over Israel. Ezekiel must listen to God's word and awaken the people from their spiritual sleep. And if Ezekiel fails to correct the wicked, God will hold the prophet responsible!
God clearly wants those who hear his word to try to turn sinners from their evil ways. How do you think a person your age can participate in this prophetic task? How will you do it?
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How is the word "love" misused in some songs and advertisements? Can you think of any other ways the word is misused?
When Paul says, "your neighbor," what do you think he means? What does "as yourself" mean?
Reading 2 Romans 13:8-10
Reading 2 ReflectionIf we had to choose a song title to fit this reading from Romans, "God's Law is Love" would be a good choice. Paul tells us that all the commandments are really summed up in one great commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." What will you do about it?
Discussion Questions for GospelWhat is the connection between warning someone who is doing something wrong and loving them? Why is the first step "keep it between the two of you?" When someone corrects you, how does it feel? At first? Later? Do you listen? Did you change?
Gospel Matthew 18:15-20
Gospel ReflectionOne of the ways Christians show their love for one another is to offer guidance and correction. Jesus expects his disciples to be "watchers," as Ezekiel was. When a member of the community seriously sins against them, they are to speak about it to that person in private. If the sinner refuses to listen, two or three disciples are to offer correction. And if that fails, the entire community should call the sinner to repent.
The voice of the Christian community is to be taken seriously. Jesus gives us this assurance: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst." How do you think correcting someone can be a sign of love? Are you willing to do it?
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Love Your NeighborIn his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul reminds us to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we show love to our neighbor?
Decorate a shoebox with colorful paper. Cut several hearts from construction paper. Have the children make suggestions on how we can show love to our neighbor. Encourage them to come up with responses such as sharing toys, helping clean up, or giving a smile. Write one suggestion or example on each heart. Place these hearts in the box. Each day, pull one heart from the box, read it, and encourage the children to practice this way of showing love to their neighbor throughout the day.
Gather in Jesus? NameMake a bulletin board to visualize Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Write Jesus' words on a poster and place in the center of the bulletin board. Provide a small paper plate for each child. Have them draw their faces on these plates and embellish with yarn and other craft materials. Place these "faces" in a circle around the Bible quote on the bulletin board. Finally place a picture of Jesus in the center, next to the quote.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Helping OthersIf you find out that someone was using drugs, or was underage and using alcohol, what are some things you could say or do
- if the person were a friend
- if the person were a member of your family
- if the person were an acquaintance
Living God?s CommandmentsSeven of the commandments tell us about loving our neighbor.
Write three of them on a piece of paper.
Do you know the other four? Write them next.
At this point in your life, which one of these commandments do you find most challenging? Why?
A Design with MeaningDesign a badge, T-shirt, or poster with a saying from the words of Paul.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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