This Week's Liturgy
A grain of wheat
March 22nd, 2015 (see other dates)
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What difference does it make whether God's law is written on stone or on human hearts? Why is today's reading from Jeremiah good news? How can we show during Lent that we are God's people?
What words in this reading do you find most meaningful for your life? Why? How would you describe God as God is revealed by Jeremiah?
Reading 1 Jeremiah 31:31-34
Reading 1 ReflectionHave you ever heard the expression, "It's not carved in stone"? We sometimes use this expression to refer to a decision or a rule that is not as definite as the Ten Commandments which were written on two stone tablets. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah promises the Israelites that God will give them a new covenant even though they have not been faithful to the old covenant. This new law will be written on their hearts. It will not be something outside the people but inside where they will know they are God's people.
The full meaning of this new covenant will be made clear in the New Testament, a term that means "new covenant." In Jesus, God's people will see how he forgives their evildoing and remembers their sin no more.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2When you hear the word "obedience," what comes to your mind? Recall times when you found it hard to obey your parents or other adults. How did you handle those situations? What are some of the ways in which adults too are required to practice obedience? What petition in the Our Father is a prayer for obedience to God?
How does the example of Jesus who offered heartfelt prayers to God inspire or affect you? What do you think we can learn from suffering?
Reading 2 Hebrews 5:7-9
Reading 2 ReflectionThe word "obedience" is not very appealing to young people who are in the process of becoming more independent. However, this reading reminds us that even Jesus himself had to learn obedience from what he suffered. When he knew that his enemies wanted to do away with him, Jesus prayed that God would save him from death. But he ended his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane by saying, "Not my will but yours be done." Jesus shared our human fear of suffering and death. Yet by accepting God's will completely, he saved us all.
Discussion Questions for GospelIn this gospel story, to lose your life means to lay down your attachments to anything or anyone that prevents you from following Jesus. For people your age in today's world, what might some of those things and persons be? Who or what helps you to be a faithful follower of Jesus, not only during Lent but on a daily basis?
How do you think Jesus draws people to himself? How can you help others whose words or actions say "We should like to see Jesus"?
Gospel John 12:20-33
Gospel ReflectionHere Jesus compares his life and ours with a grain of wheat. If the grain falls into the earth and dies, it then rises as a stalk of wheat that gives life by feeding others. Like the grain of wheat, we must be willing to lose our lives in order to gain eternal life.
Jesus knows that the hour of his death when he will be lifted up on the cross is coming soon. But he also knows that when he is lifted up, he will draw everyone, Jews and Greeks and all the world's people, to himself.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Upon Our HeartsIn the first reading, Jeremiah tells us that God will make a new covenant with his people. He will place his law within them and write it upon their hearts.
Give each child a small paper or plastic cup to be used as a flower pot. Provide heart stickers to decorate the cups. Use the cups for the activity below.
A New LifeIn the gospel, Jesus refers to a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. This grain produces fruit.
Have the children fill the flower pots they made previously with potting soil. Provide grass seeds, bean seeds, or flower seeds and encourage the children to plant these in the soil. Have the children care for their plants as they grow to bear fruit. Explain that the buried seed produced a whole new life.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Designing a BadgeToday's readings all speak about the identity of the People of God. With your group, design an identity badge using words or symbols from these readings.
Using available craft materials, make and wear the badges at a Lenten event in the school or parish.
Lifting Jesus UpBrainstorm a project of "lifting Jesus up" so that others can see and know him better. Consider the following and suggest additional ideas. Choose one to carry out during Lent.
- Show a Passion segment of a film like "Jesus of Nazareth." Invite members of the audience to discuss their responses to it.
- Create a mural depicting Jesus' Passion, death, and resurrection. Display it in a central place in the parish.
- Plan a prayer experience during which people are invited to share stories, songs, poems, and prayers that express how Jesus makes a difference in their lives.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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