This Week's Liturgy
January 24th, 2016 (see other dates)
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1It is very true to say that God accepts us completely as we are. It is also very true that God invites us to grow. Just as we would not want to be, for example, six years old forever, so we do not want to be "stuck" in our spiritual growth. Everyone grows and changes. As we grow and change, we can do more and be more. We take on more responsibility for ourselves. We can do more for others. God helps us grow and change by giving us the Scriptures, the Eucharist, our parents, families, teachers, and friends. How is God asking you to grow and change?
Reading 1 Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
Reading 1 ReflectionToday's reading presents an interesting picture of the priest Ezra standing above the people to deliver his interpretation of the law of God. His reading goes on for hours and saddens the people as they consider how much they need to reform their lives. Perhaps their weeping finally convinces Ezra to "take it easy on them." He and Nehemiah, the governor of Judah, then encourage the people to celebrate their observance of the law. The people, they say, should have a great feast because "rejoicing in the Lord" will be their source of strength.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Think of the groups you belong to—your class at school, an after-school class or club, your neighborhood, and your parish. Think about these questions quietly in your own heart: In what ways do you feel you belong? Do you ever feel "left out"? Do you ever try to keep others "out"? Share your answers with your group: What are some good ways to help others feel included? When we were baptized, we each became a member of the body of Christ. What are some good ways to show that we are all one in Christ, that we all belong to him, that we are all "in"?
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27
Reading 2 ReflectionHuman beings have a desire to belong—to another person, to a community, or to God. We can imagine how the Christians at Corinth welcomed Paul's letter assuring them that they were all "one body." They were not to create divisions among themselves by identifying as Jews or Greeks, slaves or free people, women or men. Because they had all been anointed by the Holy Spirit, they had become together the one body of Christ. Each was a member; no one was left out.
Discussion Questions for GospelIn this reading, Jesus identifies himself as the Messiah, as the one Isaiah foretold would come to the people. He did this at the weekly worship at his local synagogue. The gospel tells us that he was in the habit of worshipping there weekly. Why did Jesus worship weekly? What does this habit of Jesus' tell us about the importance of our weekly worship? Where do we meet Jesus, the Messiah, on a weekly basis?
Gospel Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Gospel ReflectionJust as Ezra, in our first reading, read to the people from Scripture, Jesus reads from the book of the prophet Isaiah about the Servant of the Lord. He announces that he is the fulfillment of Scripture. Then he tells the crowd in the synagogue that he is the one sent by God. His presence is their guarantee that a "year of favor," or time of salvation, has begun. All eyes are glued on him as he puts down the scroll and takes his seat.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Honoring HeroesA true hero is one who shares God's love with others. Invite children to think of someone in their school, parish, or community who shares God's love with others. Have them bring a picture of this person to class or draw one. As this picture is attached to a bulletin board, encourage the child to tell how this "hero" shares God's love.
A Class of HeroesWe are all called to be heroes by sharing God’s love with others. Make a medal for each child. Reproduce the medal on yellow construction paper and attach to a piece of ribbon. Have each child tell one way that they will share God’s love that day. Pin the medal on the children to remind them to do this.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
A Disciple's ID CardWhen Jesus did the reading from the Book of Isaiah, he identified himself by what he was doing for others. As a disciple of Jesus, you can identify yourself by the ways in which you serve, or will serve, those who need you. Make your disciple's ID card. On a piece of paper, draw a box about 4 x 2 inches. Then cut it out. Inside, write the following:
Disciple's ID Card
Member of ________________________________ Parish.
On the back, write:
I have made the poor glad by . . .
I have helped others be free by . . .
I have helped others to see the truth by . . .
You may want to draw a sign of the cross on your card.
How can you practice one of these works of discipleship this week?
The Many are OnePaul tells us that all of us who have been baptized in the Spirit are members of the one body of Christ. Saint Teresa of Avila tells us that Christ has no body on earth now but ours. "Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now," she says.
Write or illustrate one way in which you can be either the "feet" or the "hands" of Christ this week.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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