God so loved the world
March 18th, 2012 (see other dates)
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Who are the messengers and prophets in today's world who call us to turn back to God and live faithfully? How are their messages often received? Why is that? What evidence do we have that God is merciful ?
What are some signs that people are truly repentant? How can you express sorrow for your sins during Lent? How would you like to repair or rebuild any relationships in your family, school, or parish?
Reading 1 2 Chronicles 36:14-17,19-23
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading paints a shameful picture of God's people repeatedly piling up one sin upon another. No matter how many messengers he sends them, they refuse to hear God's call to repentance. Like a parent who has run out of ways to discipline his or her children, God has "no remedy." So he allows them to be defeated by their enemies and taken into exile for seventy years. Only after they repent sincerely does God free his people through Cyrus, king of Persia. And Cyrus orders them to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem to "fulfill the word of the Lord."
We too are in need of God's mercy when we fail to repent and seek forgiveness for our sins. Lent is a good time to rebuild what needs repair in our lives.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Who do you know or know of who is "rich in mercy"? How does he or she show mercy? Recall a time when you acted mercifully by forgiving someone who had seriously offended you, or by helping someone who was in need. What difference did your actions make?
How would you most like to have your family, school, or parish join together in doing one meaningful good deed during Lent? What actions can you take toward that goal?
Reading 2 Ephesians 2:4-10
Reading 2 ReflectionThe second reading begins with the reassuring truth that "God is rich in mercy." We know God is merciful because, despite our sinfulness, he brought us to life in Christ. We have not earned our salvation. It is Jesus' gift to us.
Paul tells us that we are God's handiwork. And our goal in life is, by God's grace, to "lead the life of good deeds" which God has planned for us.
Discussion Questions for GospelPicture the entire world today as a patient in a doctor's office. What might the doctor say is wrong with the world's health? List some of the problems Jesus might point out and name some of the ways the followers of Jesus can be healers in our world.
How do members of your family, school community, and parish show that they are living in the light? What can we do to help others choose to live truthfully in the light?
Gospel John 3:14-21
Gospel ReflectionIn teaching Nicodemus, Jesus uses a familiar story from the Old Testament (Numbers 21:4-9) about Moses. When Moses lifted up a bronze snake in the desert for all to see, those who had been bitten by snakes were healed. Jesus says that he too must be lifted up so that all might have eternal life through him. He will be lifted up on the cross. But he will also be lifted up in his resurrection and in his ascension to the Father. Whoever looks at him in faith will receive eternal life.
Followers of Jesus recognize him as the light that came into the world. They live truthfully in the light, unlike those who choose the darkness and do evil deeds.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
God’s GiftIn the gospel, we hear that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Jesus is the Light that has come into our world.
Give each child a picture of a candle. Have them make crosses on the candle using fingerprints of paint.
Jesus is the LightProvide a votive candle for each child. Have available stickers, sequins, and other craft materials. Let the children decorate their candles. Encourage the children to take these candles home as a reminder that Jesus is the Light that takes away the darkness of the world.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Designing a GameWith your family or group, design a game that encourages people to become rich in mercy. It might be a board game, a card game, or a video game.
Use the space below to begin working out your plan.
- Name of the game _____________________
- Type of game _________________________
- How players will make gains ______________
- What characters or symbols will represent being rich in mercy or poor in mercy ________
- How many can play this game at one time ___
- Make a sketch of what the game might look like __________________________________
- How you will share the game during Lent ____
Loving the LightJesus is the light that came into the world. Make a symbolic sketch of yourself lifting up a light (e.g., a candle, torch, lantern, floodlight, etc.).
Around the outline of your sketch, print several deeds you will do during Lent to show that you love the light.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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