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This Week's Liturgy


Prophets

September 29th, 2013 (see other dates)

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time




Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Sometimes people feel secure only when they have a nice house, money in the bank, and lots of possessions. How will you show that your true security comes from God's love for you?

Reading 1 Amos 6:1a, 4-7

Reading 1 Reflection

Amos was a shepherd. When God called him to be a prophet, Amos did not forget the values of simple living in harmony with nature. The selfish ways of the rich disgusted him. They thought only of their own comfort and placed their trust in their wealth rather than in God. The prophet warned them that God would not allow their sinfulness to remain unpunished.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

What do you do when you feel like "giving up or giving in"? Faith is a gift of God, but we need to help it grow strong. How do you strengthen your faith? How do you help others grow in faith?

Pray together: Jesus, help us to encourage others by our own example of honesty, compassion, and a peaceful spirit. When we feel like giving up or giving in, call us to "fight the good fight of faith." We ask this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Reading 2 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Reading 2 Reflection

Today's reading is the conclusion of the first letter to Timothy, a leader of the early Christian community. The writer, Paul, urges Timothy to serve others by practicing all the virtues (that is, strengths) we see in Jesus. Timothy must "fight the good fight of faith" and be committed to the truth until the Lord comes again.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

Do we, like the rich man, sometimes forget God's word about sharing what we have with the poor? Do we sometimes ignore or see right through the hungry or homeless person in our own community? How will you show that you have heard Jesus' warning about ignoring Lazarus?

Why didn't Father Abraham let Lazarus go down to the five brothers? The rich man was sure that if someone rose from the dead and went to his brothers, they would change their minds and repent. What was Father Abraham's answer? Do you know Someone who rose from the dead? What was his message to us? Do we follow it?

Gospel Luke 16:19-31

Gospel Reflection

To whom is Jesus speaking when he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus? Luke's Gospel prepares us for this parable by telling us that was the money-loving Pharisees who had made fun of Jesus' teaching that "you cannot give yourself to God and money." We read this teaching in last week's gospel. But Jesus also speaks to us today as he describes the eternal reward of Lazarus and the punishment of the rich man.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Rocka My Soul

You may want to teach this spiritual to the children, if you know it. (If not, maybe someone you know can help you learn it.)

Explain the meaning of "the bosom of Abraham." Abraham is the father of the Jewish people and also our father in faith. This is another way of saying "heaven." The song says that heaven is "so high, so low, so wide" that there is no way through it except through "the door." The door could refer to Jesus' saying that the gate is narrow, and only the just can go through it. Or, it could refer to Jesus' saying that he is the door of the sheepfold. So the song teaches that the only way we can get to heaven, or the bosom of Abraham, is through Jesus.

Remind the children to listen at Mass for the words of the priest when he holds up the Body of Christ for us to see: "Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever." We respond with the Great Amen. "Through Jesus" is not only how we will get to heaven, but how we want to live our lives here on earth.

Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham,

Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham,

Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham,

Oh, rocka my soul! Because it's

So high, can't get over it

So low, can't get under it

So wide, can't get around it,

Gotta go through the door, oh, oh, oh,


(Repeat "Rocka my soul" verse and end with "Oh, rocka my soul!")

Motions: "Rocka my soul," as if rocking a baby; "so high," arms way up; "so low," arms down with hands down in a scooping motion; "so wide," arms extended to the side; "gotta go through the door," bring arms forward straight ahead from body.

Lazarus and the Rich Man

Assign parts for the following play: six readers, Abraham, and the Rich Man. You may want to be the narrator.

Narrator: Jesus told this story to the Pharisees:

Reader 1: There was a rich man and a poor man. The rich man dressed in purple garments and fine linen. He dined sumptuously each day. He had everything he wanted.

Reader 2: But right at his gate, lying at his door, was a poor man named Lazarus. He was covered with sores. He would have gladly eaten the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.

Reader 3: The dogs used to come and lick his sores. But they could not help him. Nobody helped him.

Reader 4: When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. Now he was finally happy. He was with God in heaven! (Note: You may direct the children to sing the song above at this point.)

Reader 5: Then the rich man died. But no angels came for him. He went straight to the netherworld! He was in torment!

Reader 6: And then, looking up, he saw Father Abraham, far, far away. And next to Abraham was sitting the man who used to lie at his doorway, the no-longer-poor man Lazarus. The rich man cried out:

Rich Man: "Father Abraham, have pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames!"

Narrator: But Abraham replied,

Abraham: "My child, remember all the good things you received during your lifetime? And remember how bad off Lazarus was? But now, Lazarus is happy and you are the one in torment. And, between us is a great canyon. No one from your side can come here, and no one from this side can go to your side."

Narrator: The rich man said,

Rich Man: "Then I beg you, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father's house. I have five brothers who are still alive. Tell Lazarus to warn them, because if they are as selfish as I was, they will end up like me, in this place of torment."

Narrator: But Abraham replied,

Abraham: "They have Moses, who gave them the Ten Commandments. They have the prophets, who told them to care about the poor. They can listen to them if they want."

The Rich Man: "Oh, no, Father Abraham. But if someone comes back from the dead and tells them, then they will listen and repent."

Narrator: Then Abraham said,

Abraham: "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to someone like Lazarus, even if he rose from the dead."

At the end of the play, ask the children if they know anyone who rose from the dead. (Of course, the answer is Jesus!) How do we listen to Jesus? We just did! He told us this story so that we could remember to care for others, especially the poor. What can we do this week to show that we are listening to Jesus and caring for the poor?


Proclaiming Faith Activities

Eyes of Faith

The parables of Jesus help us to see things more clearly, with the "eyes of faith." Jesus wants us to see what is really going on in the world and not accept the same, old, easy answers.

Think for a moment about the gospel parable today and what the rich man did not see. The following are typical "easy answers." One possible response based on the gospel message is given. Now write your own! "I had to work hard for my money. Let the poor do the same."

  • Many full-time jobs do not pay enough to support one person, let alone a family. We help in order to spread God's love and justice to all.
"There are too many needy people in the world. One person can't do anything to help them."

  • If each person helped one other person, together we could change the world.

"I've got my own problems. Let others take care of their own."

  • As followers of Christ, we see every person as our brother or sister. We are one in Christ.

    How will you try to avoid the "easy answers" in your life?


Prophetic Television

Look at the reading from the prophet Amos again. When the prophet says that the people, especially the leaders, living a life of luxury "are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph," he means that they are totally unconcerned that their neighbors are going hungry and that the weak and needy of the land have been trampled down.

Imagine that you are Amos (or Amosa) Goodworth, TV news reporter. How would you carry this story of the contrast between luxury and "collapse" on your television news? Would you interview people? Who? What scenes would you film? Why? You might want to ask members of your group to play the people you interview and the people you show in your film clips. End your "coverage" with a snappy, "That's our story, and I'm Amos(a) Goodworth. Good evening!"


For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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