July 22nd, 2012 (see other dates)
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Name the ways you and your classmates are sometimes called on to serve as leaders. Include specific examples like committee chairpersons, team captains, class and club officers. How do you think those serving as leaders are sometimes tempted to misuse their authority over others? What dangers do you see when leaders of larger groups (communities, nations, churches) misuse their authority?
How do you think we can help those in leadership positions to serve faithfully? Describe someone you believe is a just and wise leader. Pray for this leader.
Reading 1 Jeremiah 23:1-6
Reading 1 ReflectionLeaders who disobey God's laws and fail to serve the people faithfully are often in the daily headlines. In the ancient kingdom of Judah, rulers who abused their power were common. Jeremiah describes them as disloyal shepherds who serve neither God nor the people. But the prophet holds out God's promise of a Messiah and King who will rule with justice.
As Christians, we recognize Jesus as that Good Shepherd who gathers, guards, and protects his flock.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How do you think religious differences keep some people far apart in today's world? What might help these groups to come closer together? How do you think our parishes can be involved in breaking down any barriers between people of different churches? In what way can people of your age reach out to the youth of other parishes or churches?
When and how do you experience your unity with others in Jesus? How can you contribute to this unity?
Reading 2 Ephesians 2:13-18
Reading 2 ReflectionA soft drink commercial several years ago showed people of every nation and race coming together in peace and harmony. Today's reading describes how all people are brought together as one in Christ who is our peace. Paul writes to the Ephesians who were "far off" because they were Gentiles. He assures them that they have been reconciled and made one with the Jews who "were near." By his death, Jesus has broken down the walls between them.
Together the Jews and the Gentiles can approach the Father in the one Spirit. No person or group can ever again be "far off" from God.
Discussion Questions for GospelDescribe your probable reaction to the following scene: You are telling your parents at the dinner table all about an exciting event you shared with your friends. Your younger sister or brother keeps interrupting and demanding your parents' attention. How do you feel? What do you do? When others make demands on you at times when you need to rest, what is your usual response?
What can we learn from the example of Jesus in this gospel story? How will you try to follow that example in your daily life?
Gospel Mark 6:30-34
Gospel ReflectionIf you have ever had the frustrating experience of being interrupted while you were trying to tell about some wonderful adventure, you will understand how the apostles feel in this gospel story. They have just returned from their first missionary journey. They want to tell Jesus all about it. He leads them off to a quiet place where they can tell their stories. But the crowds follow them because they are hungry for Jesus' teaching and his healing touch.
Seeing the crowd, Jesus is moved to respond to them. They are like sheep that have been scattered. Out of love, the Good Shepherd calls them together and guides them. The apostles' adventure stories will have to wait.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Cross of PeaceIn the second reading Paul tells us that through the cross Christ has given us peace. Let the children create a concrete symbol to illustrate this. Give each child two tongue depressors and help them glue them together to form a cross. Reproduce the letters spelling the word peace for each child. Have them cut these out and glue them onto the cross. Then provide various art materials for the children to use to decorate their crosses.
P E A C E
Following JesusIn today's gospel, Jesus and the apostles try to find time to rest and be together. People keep coming to see them. They get in a boat and cross a lake in the hopes of being alone. The people go around the lake, get there before them, and wait for them. When Jesus sees the crowds waiting, he has compassion for them and begins to teach them.
Make an art project illustrating this. Give each student a large and a small paper plate. Have them paint the small plate blue representing the lake. Attach this plate to the larger plate using a paper fastener in the center of both plates. On the larger plate, along the left side, have the children make finger print faces representing the crowd of people. Give each child a small rectangle of brown construction paper to represent a boat. Have the children illustrate Jesus and the apostles crossing the lake. As they cross the lake, turn the larger paper plate to the right so that the crowd gets to the other side of the lake before Jesus and the apostles.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Gathering Good ShepherdsWho are the people who have served as wise and just leaders in the Church? Might they include popes and bishops, pastors and teachers, organizers of peace and justice movements, and founders of religious orders?
With your group, use Internet and library resources to assemble a bulletin board or a booklet honoring some of these leaders. Decide how you will share this "Gathering of Good Shepherds" with others in the school or parish.
BeingDoctors, firefighters, rescue workers, and people in many other helping professions are often "on call" to all who need them. Today's gospel reminds us that Jesus was always on call to those who sought his teaching, healing, and guiding.
Reflect quietly on any times when you have not responded to others' needs because you were too busy or tired or involved in your own pursuits.
Complete the following prayer.
"Jesus, help me to be on call to
at times when ________________________________________________.
I want to remember how you _________________________________________
and become more compassionate to _______________________________________.
With you by my side, I will ___________________________________________
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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