This Week's Liturgy
Seeds and Weeds
July 17th, 2011 (see other dates)
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1How have you experienced God's mercy and justice in your life? How can you show mercy and justice to others?
Reading 1 Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Reading 1 ReflectionIn the first reading the author of the Book of Wisdom praises God, who is mighty in power yet merciful and just. Unlike the false pagan gods, God does not unjustly punish anyone. God teaches the people that the just must be kind and the powerful must be forgiving. Good leaders are merciful and just. Those who know God, yet still defy God's authority, will be rebuked, or corrected.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Have you ever felt that, "I do not know how to pray"? Prayer is not a matter of words but an attitude of the heart. Such an attitude cannot always be expressed in speech. Recall a time when this was the case with you. Since we are human, however, words help us express ourselves to God. Think of some of your favorite prayers, poems, meditations, or "expressions to God." Share them with your group. Then, together, think of ways you can be more in touch with the Spirit of God within you, each and every day.
Here is a prayer you might like to say every so often. It is called the Breton Fisherman's Prayer, because it comes from Brittany (in northern France):
"Dear God, be good to me. The sea is so wide, and my boat is so small."
Reading 2 Romans 8:26-27
Reading 2 ReflectionIf we think about St. Paul's words in the second reading, we will never be discouraged by our own weakness. He reminds us that, no matter how weak we are, we can always call on the power of the Spirit within us.
Discussion Questions for GospelGardeners tell us that we have to be careful when pulling weeds. Some weeds look very much like the flowers and vegetables around them! Sometimes they have to be allowed to grow a little to be sure they are truly weeds! Also, gardeners must be careful not to pull up the good plants with the weeds, especially when they are growing close together.
Name some weeds in your personal world. Then name some weeds in our country. Then name some weeds in the world in general. What is your attitude toward these weeds? What do you think might be Jesus' attitude toward them? How should we treat these weeds?
If you look carefully, you might find some "weeds" inside your own heart. What is Jesus' attitude toward them? How will you deal with them?
Gospel Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30
Gospel ReflectionIn the gospel reading, Jesus is determined that his disciples will understand how the kingdom grows in their midst. So he tells the parable of the weeds in the wheat field. The sower (Jesus) allows both the wheat (those who work for God's kingdom) and the weeds (those who work against God's kingdom) to grow together until the harvest (the end of time).
The gospel story tells us much about the justice and mercy of God. Even though the weeds are present in our world, the wheat is growing and will prosper in the end. The grace of Christ will triumph over sin and evil. Pray: Help me, Lord, to be your faithful follower until your kingdom comes in its fullness. Amen.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Strength from PrayerIn the reading from Romans, Saint Paul reminds us to call on God for strength to live as his children. By joining our prayers together we grow even stronger.
Help the children make a prayer chain. Cut strips of various colors of construction paper, 1" by 8 ½ ". Say a short prayer and write it on a strip of construction paper. Form the strip into a loop and tape the ends together. Give each child a strip and help him or her to write a short prayer on this strip. One by one have each child say his or her prayer and add it to the chain. You can either have each child say the prayer on the same day or spread it out over a few days, building the prayer chain gradually. Display this chain in the classroom.
Wheat and Weeds in Our WorldHave children use manipulatives to retell the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30). Spray paint craft sticks green on one side and leave natural on the other side. Give each child 5 prepared craft sticks. Explain that the natural side represents the wheat and the green side represents the weeds. Have the children lay their sticks on a table, natural side up, and turn some of them over showing weeds growing as indicated by the parable. Then have them remove the weeds when the servants removed the weeds from the fields (as in the story). Explain that each of us, like the wheat, is called to grow. But sometimes, "weeds", such as fighting, taking what is not ours, saying mean words, not listening to caregivers, grow, too. How can we remove these "weeds" from our lives?
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Imagining a LeaderYoung people need to think about leadership, because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Today is the time for preparing for this important role.
Often we hear of world leaders or rulers who abuse their power by treating people unjustly. The author of the Book of Wisdom says to God, "Your mastery over all things makes you lenient." To be lenient is to be merciful, kind, and forgiving. Imagine a world leader who would fit this description. Describe him or her, and tell how such a leader might affect the rest of the world.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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