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This Week's Liturgy

You Are My Disciples

April 24th, 2016 (see other dates)

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Try to find a map, perhaps in the back of a Bible or a New Testament, of the journeys of Saint Paul. Find the places mentioned in this reading. You might also like to find pictures of the ancient places mentioned, as well as modern day names, if these places still exist. Show what they look like today. Display your map where members of your parish can see it. It may help them as they listen to these travel stories from the Book of Acts!

This reading reminds us that trials were part of the Christian life from the beginning. Our trials may seem small by comparison. Can you name some things that can be trials for us? What should be our attitude?

Christians are still persecuted in places throughout the world. You may want to find out where and why. Keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers. Is there something else you can do for them?

Reading 1 Acts 14:21-27

Reading 1 Reflection

This account of Paul's and Barnabas' first missionary journey reminds us that those who first planted the Church on foreign soil did not have an easy time of it. They had to travel great distances by sea and by land. After they had founded Christian communities in several cities along the way, they had to return to those same cities to build up the believers' morale. Why? Because there was harsh opposition to this upstart new religion.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

The One on the throne promises, "Behold, I make all things new." What is your dream? What in your life needs to be made new again? It may be taking more time for prayer or reading Scripture. It may be making a relationship better. It may be a commitment to eat more fruits and vegetables. It may be feeding pets or doing chores on time. It may be a nudge to do something entirely different, like pursuing a new activity, like joining the debate club, acting in the school play, or pursuing a new career. Some families may be moving to a new town or a new house. Whatever it is, making things new is part of God's plan for us. When we cooperate, we help "renew the face of the earth." We help make things new for everyone around us!

Doing new things or committing ourselves anew to choices we have made is not always easy. What would you say to someone who is thinking of doing something new or trying to make better choices?

At the end of your discussion, ask Jesus to help make things new in your hearts and lives as you continue to celebrate this Easter season of resurrection.

Reading 2 Revelations 21:1-5a

Reading 2 Reflection

If today's reading from Revelation sounds like a dream, that may be because it symbolically represents a dream most human beings share. That dream looks forward to a final union with God and the end of every suffering people have ever endured--no more starving children; no young people ruined by drugs or alcohol; no divided families or abusive parents; no broken hearts or cries in the night.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

The commandment to "love one another" can seem trite. This means that we seem to hear it all the time, so much so that it becomes meaningless. Love, love, love!

However, we can look for other ways to say this. Perhaps then we will understand it better. For example, a TV show popular some years ago had this line: "Take care of each other out there!" Taking care of others is a way of loving. This is part of what Jesus meant.

Can you think of other words that say "love one another" or express what love is? Brainstorm. You may want to put some of them on banners for the parish to see.

Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35

Gospel Reflection

Jesus is saying farewell to his friends at the Last Supper. He tells them that he will soon be "glorified." They still do not really get the message about his death and resurrection. They love him too much to face the reality of his crucifixion. So Jesus gathers them close and says, "My children, I will be with you only a little while longer." He tells them how they are to keep his presence alive within them after he is physically absent. "Love one another," he says.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Love One Another

Jesus gives us a new commandment: Love one another. Encourage the children to show love to others by making and sharing a snack. Provide each child with two slices of bread. Have him/her cut each slice of bread using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Provide various spreads for the bread, such as cream cheese, jelly, butter, and cheese. Invite another class to share this snack. Have each child give one of their hearts to a child in the other class. Let the children enjoy their snack together.

A Missionary Journey

Paul and Barnabas journeyed to many new places to share the good news of Jesus. Take the children on journey around the school so that they too can share the good news of Jesus. Select several classrooms to "journey" to. Upon arriving, sing the following song to the tune of Frere Jacques.

      Alleluia, Alleluia.
      Jesus lives, Jesus lives.
      He is the Son of God,
      Who came to free all people.
      Jesus lives, Jesus lives.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Make Your Love Known

How can you recognize a disciple of Jesus if you see one? How can others be sure that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? He gives us the answer to both questions in today's gospel: "This is how they will know you are my disciples: your love for one another."
For each of the following, describe how you can try to make your love known.

Love for your family ____________________________________________________________

Love for your friends ____________________________________________________________

Love for your neighbors ____________________________________________________________

Love for people who are hard to get along with __________________________________________

Pray: Jesus, help me be a more recognizable disciple!

Opening the Door of Faith

In the first reading we heard how God helped the apostles to "open the door of faith" for others. With God's help, we can do the same thing. Think of people you know who may be searching for the right "door" of faith. On a separate piece of paper, draw a door. Write on it, "Faith Door." On the door, write some ways in which you might help someone you know to discover God's love.

Suggestions: Invite the person to come with you to Mass or to a parish event; listen to his or her ideas or questions about the Catholic faith; be a loyal friend--actions speak louder than words!

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