August 9th, 2015 (see other dates)
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Think about a time when you felt worn out or dejected. Perhaps you too felt like plopping down under a tree and not bothering to get up again. Who or what helped you to get up and continue your journey? What are some of the ways we can serve others who need to be refreshed or lifted up in times of trouble?
Describe your ideal Sunday that would refresh and strengthen you on your faith journey. What can you do to experience this ideal?
Reading 1 1 Kings 19:4-8
Reading 1 ReflectionSometimes our fears and troubles seem to be just too much for us. We may feel that we cannot go on. The prophet Elijah felt that way after being pursued by his enemies who wanted to kill him. He sat down under a tree and prayed for death. But God awakened him twice, providing food and water for his dejected messenger. The refreshments and the knowledge of how much God cared for him gave Elijah the strength to continue his journey to "the mountain of God."
Each Sunday is our day of rest from the activities and the difficulties of the week. We are strengthened by the Eucharist and our knowledge of how much God cares for each one of us.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Why do you think people your age are sometimes tempted to be cruel to others? What are some of the consequences of cruelty and harsh words? Think about a time when you treated someone who was different or unpopular with kindness. What were the effects of your kindness? Who helps you to be a forgiving person?
Name three ways young people like you can "gladden the Holy Spirit" at home or at school.
Reading 2 Ephesians 4:30?5:2
Reading 2 ReflectionAt our Baptism we received the new life of the Holy Spirit. In this reading, Paul encourages those who have been baptized to avoid acting in ways that "sadden the Holy Spirit." Cruelty and harshness of every kind should be avoided. Christians are called instead to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. In that way they imitate Christ who has been kind, compassionate, and forgiving to them.
It is not always easy to say no to cruelty and bitterness. But, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we have the power to follow Jesus' example.
Discussion Questions for GospelLook back at the reading. What reasons do the murmurers give for not accepting Jesus' teaching? What other reasons might they have? Why do you sometimes find it hard to accept new teachings either in religion class or any other class? How does Jesus respond to those who are resisting his teaching?
What are some of the ways we can prepare to celebrate Eucharist so that we experience this sacrament more fully? How can we help other Catholics who may be staying away from Mass for any reason?
Gospel John 6:41-51
Gospel ReflectionWhen a teacher introduces a completely new idea, students sometimes resist it. They may complain "I don't get it. It doesn't make sense to me.? When Jesus began teaching the Jews that he himself was the "bread that came down from heaven," they muttered and murmured in complaint. They thought they knew who Jesus was. But Jesus responds by promising them that if they eat the living bread, they will live forever. He will give his flesh for the life of the world.
In the Eucharist, we experience the truth of Jesus' promise. We receive the living bread and know that we shall live forever.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Food for the JourneyThe first reading tells us that Elijah is awakened twice by an angel and told to get up and eat because he will need food to give him strength for a long journey. Next to Elijah is a jug of water and a hearth cake. Elijah eats and drinks and then goes on the journey to the mountain of God.
Go on a journey to the "House of God", the parish church. Explain to the children that like Elijah, we must prepare for our journey. Provide small bottles or cups of water and rice cakes or other appropriate snacks. Have the children enjoy their food and drink and then take them on the journey to the church.
Be Imitators of GodIn the second reading, Paul tells us to be imitators of God. Paul encourages us to be kind to one another, to be compassionate, to forgive each other, and to live in love.
Explain to the children that we will be imitators of God for the day. Discuss ways in which we can do this, for example, share a treat, help another child, listen to the teacher, or comfort someone that has been hurt. Encourage the children to do these actions throughout the day. At the end of the school day, gather the children around the prayer table. Light a candle, then say the following prayer:
"Dear God, today we tried to imitate you, by ______ (go around the circle and let each child say what he or she did). Help us each day to live in your love. Amen."
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Gladdening the SpiritWith your partner or group, read the following examples of behavior that "saddens the Holy Spirit." For each example, suggest ways of "gladdening the Holy Spirit."
1) After being unjustly punished by a parent, a young teen refuses to speak to the parent and avoids him or her as much as possible.
If you were the teen, how might you gladden the Holy Spirit?
2) An overweight fourth grader is being pushed around and insulted by several fifth graders in the school corridor. His classmates hurry off.
If you were one of his classmates, how might you gladden the Holy Spirit?
3) Two close friends have had a big fight and are saying cruel things about each other to anyone who will listen. Some of their friends make matters worse by exaggerating the faults of the person who is being criticized.
If you were a friend of the two who were fighting, how might you gladden the Holy Spirit?
Make one action decision about how you will be kind, compassionate, or forgiving this week.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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