This Week's Liturgy
Proclaim the Gospel
May 17th, 2012 (see other dates)
The Ascension of the Lord, solemnity and holy day of obligation
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Imagine that one of your parents or family members is writing a summary of the highlights of your life. He or she wants to emphasize how your life has made a difference to others around you. What are some of the things you would want the summary to include? Look back at Luke's summary of the events after Jesus rose from the dead. How do you think Jesus prepared his disciples for his departure at the ascension? How did he want them to make a difference in the world?
Name one way you have been a witness to Jesus in your family, school, or parish. Describe how someone in your family, school, or parish has helped you to follow Jesus more faithfully.
Reading 1 Acts 1:1-11
Reading 1 ReflectionIf you have ever had to write a book report summarizing the most important events of the story, you can appreciate what the author of this reading has done. Luke has already written a wonderful gospel filled with stories like The Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Here at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles he summarizes the appearances of the risen Jesus
Luke is writing to his friend Theophilus whose name means "lover of God." He reminds him that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would give the disciples power to be Christ's witnesses throughout the world. Then Jesus ascends into heaven. The summary ends with the joyful reminder that Jesus will come again.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What examples of great and good leaders can you think of from books, movies, or current events? What qualities do these leaders have that inspire others to make the world a better place? How do you think Jesus surpasses all other leaders? How do you show that in your life "Jesus rules"?
Just as Paul prayed for the Christian community of his time, so we share the responsibility of praying for our parish and for the Church throughout the world. What blessings for your parish and for the Church will you pray for this week?
Reading 2 Ephesians 1:17-23
Reading 2 ReflectionWhen a great and good leader receives the recognition he or she deserves, the world rejoices. Today's second reading gives us an opportunity to rejoice that Jesus Christ reigns over all the nations. God has raised him in glory and given us a share in Jesus' inheritance.
Paul prays that the Christian community may grow in wisdom through the Holy Spirit's guidance. He prays that we may recognize Christ's surpassing power and our own glorious inheritance. One day we too will ascend into heaven and live with our God forever.
Discussion Questions for GospelIf you had to list five signs that showed someone was a Christian, what would you say? What are some of the signs by which people recognized who Jesus was? (Note that snake handling was not one of them!) Why do you think it is so important that Christians reflect Jesus' love for the sick, the addicted, the mentally-ill, the poor and those who suffer injustice?
There are many ways to preach the gospel. Only some of them use words. What other ways of communicating the good news will you explore?
Gospel Mark 16:15-20
Gospel ReflectionWhen most people think of a sign that someone is a Christian, they do not usually picture someone handling poisonous snakes. However, that is the most dramatic of the signs listed by the inspired author of this ending for Mark's Gospel. It may be an exaggeration in order to emphasize that the disciples will be able to do great things in the power of the Spirit. What we can be sure of is that Jesus wants us to proclaim the gospel to all people. To do so we use whatever gifts the Spirit provides.
This gospel ends with the disciples preaching everywhere. Their word is verified by the signs the ascended Lord works through them.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
I Am with You AlwaysIn today's gospel, we learn that even though Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised to be with us always.
Help the children share this important message. Have them color the scroll a light tan and color in the letters of the words in the message. Explain that they can add stickers, glitter, or their own drawings around the message. Then have the children take their scrolls home to share with their families and friends.
Hello from Around the World!In today's gospel, Jesus commands his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the whole world. He tells the disciples that they will learn to speak new languages.
Teach the children how to say hello in different languages.
German: Guten Tag!
Somalian: Mahaa la sheegay!
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Imagining the AscensionLook again at the closing sections of the first reading from Acts. However the ascension took place, Jesus entered into his glory with the Father in heaven. His confused disciples continue staring at the sky. Are they hoping he will return shortly?
Using the reading from Acts and your own imagination, do one of the following responses.
1) Write a humorous dialogue between the two men in white (angels) and the confused disciples about the meaning of the ascension.
2) Sketch a cartoon or a comic strip illustrating how the disciples finally get the point about the meaning of the ascension of Jesus.
3) Paint or draw your vision of the ascension of Jesus.
Share and display these responses.
Being WitnessesWith your group, discuss various ways of being witnesses to Jesus in your community. Consider how to preach with actions, with humor, or by using a web site. Ask questions like these:
What message about Jesus do we want to communicate?
What talents do we have to make this communication effective?
What sign do we want to give that we are followers of Jesus?
Who do we want to receive our sign or communication?
Pray that Jesus will make himself known through your witness.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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