"Take nothing for the journey"
July 15th, 2012 (see other dates)
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1When a parent or teacher corrects your behavior, how do you usually respond? When you scold a younger brother, sister or other small child, what kinds of responses do you receive? Amos and the other prophets were often disliked or even hated for delivering God's messages about people's sinful behavior. What examples can you name of modern day prophets who met this kind of response?
How can your faith help you in your relationships with those who rightly correct you? Describe how all Christians are called to respond to authentic prophets.
Reading 1 Amos 7:12-15
Reading 1 ReflectionThe person who points out the wrongs others are doing seldom wins any popularity polls. Amos was a poor shepherd and harvester of figs when God called him to be a prophet. When Amos prophesied that Israel's king would be killed and the people sent into exile if they did not repent, he became very unpopular. The priest Amaziah evicted him and told him never to return.
Amos makes it clear that he did not seek the prophet's job. He simply did what God required of him. His story encourages us to be open to the prophets in our midst who call us back to God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What blessings and good spiritual qualities do you recognize in members of your family? In your classmates? In yourself? How often do you affirm the goodness of others around you? What connection do you see between recognizing others' goodness and praising God?
How do you think you can play your part in God's plan for the world? It what ways do you try to unite rather than to divide others? What blessings for yourself, your family, or your world will you pray for this week?
Reading 2 Ephesians 1:3-10
Reading 2 ReflectionGood parents, teachers, and preachers provide us with genuine praise as well as corrective guidance. Saint Paul did both well. In this reading, he helps us count our blessings and recognize our good spiritual qualities. In fact, he assures us that in Christ God has given us every spiritual blessing. These blessings include holiness, goodness, wisdom, and love.
Paul assures us that we are part of God's plan to unite everything in heaven and on earth under Christ's reign. We participate in this plan by using our spiritual gifts for the benefit of all.
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus sent his apostles forth as missionaries without backpacks but not without training. They had learned from his word and example what they were to teach. What kinds of training have you been given at home, at school, or in the community? How have you shared the training you received? If you were asked to teach younger children a faith lesson, what kinds of materials might you want to take with you?
If you had been one of the Twelve, what would your response to being sent out almost empty-handed have been? Give one example of how you have already participated in Jesus' ministry of teaching or healing. What prayer or practice might help you to grow in trusting God to work through you?
Gospel Mark 6:7-13
Gospel ReflectionIf you and a partner were sent to several different schools to talk about your faith, what worries might you have? When Jesus sent his apostles out two by two, he warned them that some people would not welcome them. He insisted that they take to the road without food or money, trusting in God and the goodness of their hosts. If people would not provide for them or listen to their message, they were to move on to the next place.
But those who accepted the apostles were rewarded. The sick were healed, the possessed were freed of demons, and sinners were reconciled.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
A BlessingIn his letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that we have been blessed in Christ and that we are chosen to be holy and live as God’s children. Share a blessing with the students. Gather the students around the prayer table. Encourage them to hold up their hands with arms extended. Have them bow their heads and repeat the words as you say the following blessing. "May God, who has chosen you in Christ, bless you as you go forth to share his love. Amen."
The JourneyIn today's gospel reading, Jesus gathers the Twelve and sends them out two by two to share the message of God's love. He tells them not to take anything on their journey except a walking stick and sandals. Have the children act it out as you read the gospel to them. Reproduce the sandal patterns on tag board (adjust size as needed). Have the children trace these patterns onto a piece of craft foam and cut out. Then cut along the line on the inside of the bottom of the sandal. Flip this piece up and connect it to the top of the sandal at the X using a paper fastener. Have children gather sticks to be used as walking sticks.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Honoring Spiritual GuidesThe people who have served us as prophets or spiritual guides may include parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, or others in the parish and community.
Plan an event at which you and your classmates will thank and honor those who have served as your guides.
Consider possibilities such as: a special liturgy or prayer service, a pancake breakfast or pot-luck supper, a talent show, or sharing a popular film on video.
Decide how many guides each person may invite. Form committees to share the preparations. Compose a prayer of gratitude for the guides. Be sure to invite your pastor and principal.
Training in TrustTrusting in God and others takes plenty of practice. Share with your group the following training exercises.
1) In two minutes, list ten ways you trust others between the time you wake up and the time you arrive home from school at the end of the day. Read your list aloud to the group and conclude with a prayer like "Thank you, God, for helping me to trust others."
2) Name one way you would share your faith if you were sure you would not fail or be rejected. For instance, would you become a lector? Write a letter to the editor supporting an unpopular moral cause? Speak publicly in defense of nonviolence or against racism or sexism? Begin praying today to trust God and yourself enough to accomplish this good.
3) With your group, brainstorm the ways in which members of athletic teams, music groups, circus and theater groups practice trust. Act out or illustrate trust in action in one of these groups. Choose the example of trust that is most meaningful to you. Complete the following prayer and offer it daily:
Lord, help me to trust you as ________________________________________ trust ___________________________________.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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