This Week's Liturgy
June 23th, 2013 (see other dates)
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1
Where in the world is God’s grace needed today? What difference can it make when people cooperate with God’s grace? Where in your own life do you most need God’s grace? What will it mean for you to cooperate with God’s grace?
Reading 1 Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
Reading 1 Reflection
The first reading is from the prophet Zechariah whose initial prophecy is dated around the year 520 B.C.. Today’s reading from Chapter 12 is part of the Book of Zechariah attributed to other authors and is sometimes called "Deutero-Zechariah."
Chapter 12 begins the oracle proclaiming the victory of God’s people. The blessings that will be poured out on Jerusalem come through the suffering of "him whom they have pierced." There will be mourning, but also purification from sin and uncleanness.
One cannot help but think of Jerusalem today and the mourning that takes place daily in the midst of divisions and wars. Where is the "spirit of grace"? It remains, of course, for God never abandons his people. The spirit of God’s grace lives in the hearts of those who have mourned for all those who have known suffering and even death in the Holy City. Grace abounds in those who work ceaselessly for peace against tremendous odds. Pray that God’s grace will be poured out on the people of Jerusalem and on all God’s people who know mourning.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2
If you were to name the divisions that exist today what would they be? (e.g. rich and poor) What injustices do you see in your own community? What have you done or can you do to right those injustices?
Reading 2 Galatians 3:26-29
Reading 2 Reflection
In this letter to the Galatians, Paul is writing to the people he converted from paganism to Christianity. He writes to correct some of the errors that have been presented to the Galatians by those Jews who believed that any converts must follow Jewish laws--circumcision and other obligations. Paul proclaims that faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism make all one in Christ, regardless of one’s former state.
Paul writes of the divisions and inequities which existed between people at that time: Jews and Greeks, slaves and free people, males and females. From the time of Saint Paul until this day, all who are baptized in Jesus Christ are clothed with him, belong to him, and are heirs of the promise of Eternal Life. We have only to recognize any divisions, inequities, injustices and correct them. Preserving the unity of the Body of Christ must be the concern of all who belong to him.
Discussion Questions for Gospel
Discipleship means continually answering the question that Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?" We can answer in many ways: in prayer, in our words, in our decisions, in our participation in the community of faith, in our efforts to share his Good News with others. Who do you think answers Jesus' question effectively today? Name one way in which your life answers who you believe Jesus to be.
Gospel Luke 9:18-24
Today’s Gospel from Luke is perhaps one of the most poignant accounts of Jesus. Before this exchange with his disciples, Jesus has already cured the possessed man, cured Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, cured the leper, taught the multitude about God’s love, healed the paralytic, healed the centurion’s slave, raised the widow’s son from death, pardoned the sinful woman, calmed the storm at sea, healed the Gerasene demoniac and Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage. He had fed the 5,000 men plus women and children with 5 loaves and 2 fish.
Now, he is in praying in solitude and the disciples are with him. He asks, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" What did Jesus feel as he asked? What answer did he expect, or hope for? And what did he think when the disciples answered: John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the ancient prophets arisen?
Then, the Gospel says, he said, "But who do you say that I am?" Did Jesus hope--after all the miracles and teachings--they would finally understand? Today, we might reflect on that same question that Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?" We have the witness of Peter who was the first to reply to Jesus, saying Jesus is "The Christ of God." But when he turns to you and me, how shall we respond?
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Take up the Cross
One way we answer who Jesus is for us is the way we deal with suffering in our lives. Today’s Gospel ends with Jesus telling his disciples that if anyone wants to follow him, they must take up the cross. Make a small cross out of paper or twigs to keep in your pocket as a reminder to accept the crosses in our lives and to pray for those who carry crosses of illness or loss or loneliness.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Living the Sunday and Holy Days
One thing that enabled Peter to proclaim Jesus "the Christ of God" was that he witnessed Jesus’ words and actions. What Scripture stories help you to answer who Jesus is? Jesus is still active in our lives. What experiences of Jesus in your own life helps you to answer who he is? List them here or on other paper. Post them as a reminder that Jesus is the Christ of God.
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