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This Week's Liturgy


January 30th, 2011 (see other dates)

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

"They shall do no wrong and speak no lies." A lie is an untruth. What happens to relationships between friends when one of the friends lies about something? What happens to family relationships when family members lie to one another? In our country, we have "truth in advertising" laws. This means that a product cannot claim what it cannot deliver. However, many ads use implication rather than outright claims. Can you really jump higher in one athletic shoe rather than another? Is something newer always better? We need advertising and good products, but how can we separate the false from the true in what we see and hear on radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers?

Reading 1 Zephaniah 2:3;3:12-13

Reading 1 Reflection

The prophet in the first reading sounds like he is out of touch with the values promoted by many people today: success, power, and riches. Because he is guided by what God values, the prophet advises us to seek justice and humility. Those who heed this advice and live by God's law will find shelter in the Lord.

We are bombarded every day by temptations to make ourselves "Number One." But God invites us to recognize our dependence on God and on one another. If we do, we will find a happiness that cannot be taken away.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

If we look around our school or parish, we probably see a lot of ordinary people. If we take a closer look, we may find that these ordinary people are doing extraordinary things. This week, take a closer look at your parish or school. What happens during a day? How are people being helped, encouraged, perhaps fed and clothed, prayed for and with? What are these ordinary people doing each day in response to God's love? How can you show your gratitude that God has chosen you?

Reading 2 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Reading 2 Reflection

Paul reminds us that God has not chosen us because we are brilliant, powerful, or perfect. God chooses the weak and the foolish, the lowly and imperfect to show the world that it is God who accomplishes all things through us.

This letter to the Corinthians helps us understand that we do not have to boast about our talents or apologize for our weakness. We can be glad that God has chosen us and loves us for who we are.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

Jesus knew that life, perhaps especially life as a Christian, could be difficult. He knew that there were things to be sorrowing about, that people needed mercy, that conflicts and persecutions would come. In all of these situations, Jesus tells us, we are blest. And, if we are merciful, try to make peace, and try to be holy, we will be consoled and rewarded not with riches, or power, or influence but by God, by joy, by peace. Do we want this reward? Would we rather have riches or power? How can we open ourselves to God, joy, and peace?

Gospel Matthew 5:1-12

Gospel Reflection

Can you imagine a series of commercials telling people that the way to be truly happy is to be hungry for justice, poor in spirit, and single-hearted? Viewers might well wonder where these strange messages are coming from. These and the other happiness guidelines, or Beatitudes, come from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. He wants his disciples to walk the path of littleness, of mercy, and of forgiveness.

The Beatitudes are a great challenge and an even greater promise of reward. If we live by them, we will be happier right now?as well as in eternity.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

God Chose the Lowly

Ask the children who are the people they admire. Write the names of these admirable people on the board. Ask: Why do we admire these people? Do we want to be like them? Why or why not? Explain that God wants us to do our best, but he really does not care if we become the best, or the most powerful, or the strongest, or the most famous person in the world. God wants us to use our gifts and talents, but he wants us to realize that all our gifts and talents come from him. We are all loved by God, no matter if we are weak or strong, rich or poor. When Jesus came to us, he came to a poor country and a poor family. When we care for the poor, we are honoring Jesus. Ask the children to brainstorm ways to help those who are poor in our own neighborhoods or town. Choose one of the suggestions and carry it out as a group. Close with a prayer thanking God for all the gifts and talents he has given to each one of us.

Blessed Are

Choose the beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers," and ask the children how they would make a positive contribution to peace in these situations:

  • Two classmates are friends of yours. They have an argument and want you to choose one friend over the other. What do you do to be a peacemaker?
  • You often tease your little brother by taking away a toy and hiding it. This makes him cry because he is too young to understand this kind of game. Your parents have asked you to stop and you have not. What do you do to be a peacemaker?
  • Your friend across the street often leaves her things in front of her house. You see a scooter there that you have wanted for a long time. You take it and put it in your garage. What do you do to be a peacemaker?
If time permits, choose teams to role-play each situation. Ask for suggestions for other situations, and choose teams to role-play these.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Spotting the Beatitudes in Action

Listed here are the types of people whom Jesus says are "blest," or happy, in today's gospel.

1. Blest are the poor in spirit.

2. Blest are the sorrowing.

3. Blest are the lowly, or meek.

4. Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness, or justice.

5. Blest are they who show mercy.

6. Blest are the single-hearted.

7. Blest are the peacemakers.

8. Blest are they who are persecuted for holiness' sake.

Can you spot these types of people in your life? Name two "Beatitudes people" you have spotted and tell why they are "blest."
For example, Alonzo never holds a grudge or refuses to forgive anyone. "Blest" is Alonzo because he shows mercy.

More examples: How blest is Ruth, who depends on God, not money.

How blest is Grandma, who keeps God at the center of her life.

How blest is _________________, who _____________________________________________ .

How blest is ___________________, who ____________________________________________.

How will you try to be like these "blest" people this week?

Seeking Justice

Design a banner, a bumper sticker, or a T-shirt appealing to young people to "seek justice." Focus on one justice issue that matters most to you. Invent a slogan of three or four words in support of one of these issues. Examples: equal rights, right to life, care for the elderly, care for our environment, poverty, hunger, or substance abuse.

How will you "get the word out" and share your designs with the world?

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