This Week's Liturgy
May 11th, 2014 (see other dates)
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1One of the joys of the Easter Season is the reception into the Church of new members through Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Another joy is the reception of First Holy Communion and Confirmation by our children and young people. How can you keep the joy of your own Baptism alive in your heart? What does it mean to you to be confirmed in the Spirit? How do you compare your reception of the Eucharist for the first time and your receiving the Eucharist now? Do you remember and celebrate the anniversaries of your reception of these sacraments? How can this Easter Season be a season of new life for you as you receive the sacraments? (Recall what Jesus said: "Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom!")
Reading 1 Acts 2:14, 36-41
Reading 1 ReflectionToday we hear about the consequences of Peter's fiery proclamation of the Good News. His listeners face the truth: their sins have crucified the Messiah. Deeply shaken, they respond to Peter's message by repenting of their sins A large number seek to be baptized! They open their hearts to God's word and allow themselves to be changed by it.
To repent is to turn away from a wrong direction or an evil way. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can turn away from sin. Remember to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Doing the right thing is not always easy. When have you suffered, even in a small way, for doing the right thing? Suffering for doing right is also called patience. We "keep on keeping on" even if we don?t see immediate results. Patience is a very quiet virtue, so it is good to recognize it in others as well as in ourselves. Who are the patient people in your life? How can you grow in patience yourself, especially when things do not go your way?
There is a saying, "Please be patient with me. God is not through with me yet." Being patient with someone is an act of hope and a vote of confidence in that person. Who in your life has shown patience with you?
Reading 2 1 Peter 2:20-25
Reading 2 ReflectionToday's reading issues a challenge to Christian slaves of the first century and to all of us, who should be slaves, or servants, of God. We are called to follow Jesus' way of life. This means that we must suffer patiently for doing good, just as Jesus suffered for us. His wounds healed us. Now our wounds?from insults, threats, rejection?can help to heal others, as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Discussion Questions for GospelThink about what an ordinary gate does. It keeps safe whatever is in the yard (like small children, animals, a garden) and keeps out what might be harmful. How is Jesus a gate for your life? How does he keep you safe? What does he keep in your life? How can you help others to recognize Jesus as the gate for their lives? One of God's gifts to us is our free will. We can run out of the yard and leave the gate behind if we like. How can you say yes to Jesus, the gate? How can you show him that you appreciate him and love him?
Gospel John 10:1-10
Gospel ReflectionWe are all familiar with the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. But in this reading from John's Gospel, Jesus first refers to himself as "the gate" through which the sheep come to safety. The thieves are those people who try to enter God's kingdom by some other gate. The sheep are those who recognize Jesus as the only door to the green pasture of eternal and abundant life.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Lord Is My ShepherdExplain to the children that this Sunday is often called "Good Shepherd Sunday." All the readings tell us that Jesus is our good shepherd. Emphasize that Jesus, as our good shepherd, is our leader and our guide. He cares for us as much, or even more, as shepherds care for sheep. We follow him as closely as we can. He feeds us with the Eucharist, keeps us safe.
Distribute the reproducible master. Have the children use the letter/number code to find the words that describe what a shepherd does. Then have them complete the sentence. Invite them to draw sheep at the bottom of the coding activity.
I Know My SheepWhen a shepherd calls his own sheep they follow him because they recognize his voice. Ask the children to name people whose voice they can identify. Discuss how safe it feels when you hear a voice that you know.
Point out to the children how wonderful it is knowing that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is always watching out for us. Distribute writing paper. Have the children write a letter to Jesus, the Good Shepherd to thank him for being with us always. Invite the children to share their letters.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Making Creative ComebacksPeter's letter today challenges us to learn how to handle insults and threats with patience. Our response might use humor, silence, constructive questions, or positive statements. What creative comebacks might you make in these situations?
Situation: An older youth makes fun of you because you "still go to church."
- "That's me, all right. I need Jesus in my life. Want to come with me next time?"
- Situation: Several classmates laugh at you when you express your beliefs about justice or peace.
- Smile at them without saying a word. Then say, "I'd like to make a positive difference in the world, not just laugh at what's wrong with it."
Lord, help me to keep a cool head and a warm heart when I am the target of insults and ridicule. I ask this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
In His FootstepsThe second reading reminds us that we should try to live like Jesus. Think of the prayer and good works that filled every moment of his life. Tell how you will try to follow in his footsteps. An example of each is given.
Example: Jesus went up on a mountain or out in a boat to pray when he needed to be alone with God. I will give myself more time to go apart to pray.
Example: Jesus embraced young children and cared for them. I will volunteer to help young children in any way that I can.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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