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This Week's Liturgy

Remain in me

May 3rd, 2015 (see other dates)

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Imagine that you are Saul. The other disciples are not welcoming you into their midst. They have only known you as a persecutor of Christians. What might you do to prove that you are a changed person? How do you think Christians are called to respond to those who have persecuted or insulted them? What is your advice for dealing with a bully who has not yet been converted? Why?

What admirable qualities do you see in Saul? How does Barnabas serve Jesus in this story? Consider interviewing someone in your parish who is an RCIA sponsor of a catechumen. Find out how he or she is like Barnabas in welcoming and speaking for the newcomer to the faith community.

Reading 1 Acts 9:26-31

Reading 1 Reflection

If someone who had acted like the class bully for a long time began tutoring the slow learners and protecting small children, how do you think his or her classmates would respond? Saul, who would later be known as the apostle Paul, had that same problem. He had persecuted Christians for a long time. But after a dramatic conversion experience in which Jesus asked, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Saul had become a dedicated disciple. At first, the other disciples were afraid of him and did not accept him. However, Saul proved himself by daring to preach the good news Jesus had revealed to him.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

What examples can you think of from comic strips, TV, movies, or books of characters who talk about love or friendship but do not act accordingly? In real life, who comes to mind as a strong example of someone who loves "in deed and in truth"? Explain your choice.

Who or what helps you to act in loving ways even when it is difficult? How do you see people in your school and parish doing what is pleasing in God's sight?

Reading 2 1 John 3:18-24

Reading 2 Reflection

The word "love" easily rolls off our tongues or our keyboards. But living it in a family, a parish, or any community is a greater challenge. This letter of John reminds us that our love for God is tested in action. We are to love "in deed and in truth." When we believe in Jesus and love one another as he commanded us, we can be sure that God is with us.

Whenever we suspect that we are only giving "lip service" to Christian love, it is time to consult our consciences. How does listening to your conscience help you to act like a more loving person?

Discussion Questions for Gospel

Like the good shepherd, the vine and the branches are an agricultural image. In biblical times, many people were familiar with farms and vineyards. What images from modern life do you think Jesus might use to illustrate how we belong to him? What evidence do we as families or as a parish give that we are branches of Jesus' vine? What good works do you most want your parish to produce abundantly? How can you help to make that happen?

Name some of the ways your family, school, and parish keep their branches alive and well.

Gospel John 15:1-8

Gospel Reflection

A family tree illustrates how each of us belongs to a particular branch of the extended family of our ancestors. In this gospel, Jesus speaks about himself as the vine and of us as the branches that belong on the vine. We are the fruitful branches that are "trimmed by" the Father to produce good works in the world.

Without the vine, the branches dry up and die. But when we live by the words Jesus has given us, we produce abundantly all that is good.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

We Remain in Him

In the second reading John tells us that we should believe in the name of Jesus and love one another as he commanded us. If we do this, we remain in him. Illustrate this with the following activity.

Write "Jesus" in bubble letters on a poster board. Take a picture of each student. Have the children cut out their pictures and glue them inside the bubble letters. Place the poster on or near the prayer table.

The True Vine

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches. We must remain in him to bear fruit.

Purchase or bring from home an example of a vine (silk, plastic, or real). Show this to the children and explain that if part of the vine is cut off, it will die. Have the children make vines. Provide a green pipe cleaner for each student. This is the true vine, representing Jesus. Give each child another pipe cleaner cut into four small pieces. These are the branches. Have the children attach the small pieces to the long pipe cleaner. Give the children leaves cut from green construction paper. Have them poke the ends of the small pieces of pipe cleaner through the leaves and bend them to attach the leaves to the vine. Give the children large red or purple dot stickers to represent grapes or berries and have them stick these on the leaves.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Serving Like Barnabas

With your group or partner, choose one of these ways of serving like Barnabas to welcome a newcomer. Plan how and when you will do so.

1) Contact the director of the RCIA in your parish. Ask him or her to connect you with a catechumen. Invite the catechumen to visit your class and share his or her faith story. Serve refreshments. Make a commitment to keep in touch with the catechumen and pray for him or her.

2) Invite someone who has been away from the Church or has never visited a Catholic church to come with you to a weekend liturgy. Introduce your guest to the pastor and other parishioners. Invite the guest to stay for refreshments after the Mass. Follow through by keeping in touch and inviting the guest to come again.

Using newsprint, write down your plan for serving the way Barnabas did.

Enacting Living Branches

Decide how you and a partner will act out what it means to be living branches on the "Jesus Vine." Choose one of the following or come up with your own idea.

  • Pantomime doing a work of mercy or a loving deed.
  • Perform a humorous original skit about a character who talks about love but fails to live it.
Before sharing the pantomime or skit, use face paints to sketch a vine and branches on each other's faces.

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