I am beginning to see a theme here each week as God is reaching out us with a clear message. It is a very timely one for our modern times. In this week's Gospel, Jesus gives us the two greatest commandments.
The first one is love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. The second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. Last week's Gospel, we were called to remember that we are all created in the image and likeness of God.
Which commandment is easier for you to live by? Which commandment is harder?
In honor of All Saints day coming up.... here are some quotes to help us with loving others
St. Mother Teresa- " Spread LOVE everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts."
Pope St. Gregory the Great- "The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists it works great things, but when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
St. Catherine of Sienna- " Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with it's creator; it binds God with man and man with God.
St. John of the Cross-" To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of it's humility."
This week's prayer challenge:
I invite you to pray this scripture throughout the week:
"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you."
1 Thessalonians 3:12
For Children grade k-5:
This week we will be thinking about the two greatest Commandments that Jesus gave us to live a holy life.
1. Love God with all your heart , mind and soul.
2.Love your neighbors as yourself
Sounds easy doesn't it?!
What are ways you show your love for GOD?
What are ways you show your love for others?
If we find it hard.... ask God for help. Jesus gave us the "Our Father" prayer to help us love better.
Here is a catchy song to get us to remember the two greatest commandments. It another song that you can get up and move to the music. When we sing and dance with intention it is also a way to pray and increase our joy!
For those that like to make things to help them remember the lessons: click on the link below. If anyone would lie their craft posted on our website we would love to share it!
ThFor Grades 6- 8:
This week's theme is based on the two greatest commandments that came directly from Jesus!
Its all about LOVE!
1. LOVE GOD
It is that simple! How do we show our LOVE for GOD?
How do we LOVE others?
How do we live this out.....
on the sports field
in the cafeteria
on social media
with our friends
with people that are not kind
with people who are strangers
with people that have a lot
with people that have a little
with people that do not share the same life experience
with people that do share the same life experience
with people that are struggling with addictions
with people that are suffering with poor health
with people that are not as popular as you
with people that have family struggles
with people that are anxious
with people that are not anxious
The truth is that you were made to be a SAINT! You can become a SAINT with God's help!
This week's Gospel challenges us to think about what we give to GOD.
Where do we place our focus and how do we see ourselves?
Prayer for the week:
Thank you for all the many blessings in our lives. Thank you for your patience with each of us as sometimes our lives get filled with distractions. Help us with your amazing grace to keep our eyes on you and may our very lives always reflect the light of Christ. We are are all made in your image, help us to recognize the divinity in each human you have created. Help us to love radically. Increase in us so that we may decrease.
For Children: This week's Gospel helps us think about how important it is to keep God in the center of our lives and how we were made in His image.
This next song..... I dare you to make up your own dance to the Lord and celebrate being made in his image!
For Youth: Everyone needs reminders!
One of my favorite songs that has been made popular in the secular world has such a deep meaning. It is another reminder of our identity as a CHILD of GOD made in his image. Do not listen to the messages out there or in your own head that tell you anything different!
Many of you are in Confirmation and may be looking for Saints to choose for your Saint name. Did you ever wonder why we need to learn about these amazing people? One reason is they are role models. They are role models of faith and they lived real lives in this world. We can learn from their lives how to live a holy life despite the challenges and distractions. We are all called to be saints. We all have a part to play. A holy challenge would be to pick one from the video below to learn more about!
This week's Gospel is about the invitation that GOD extends to us so that we can become "the CHOSEN". The question we all have to answer is .... how will we respond? All are invited.
The Gospel is taken from Mathew22: 1-14
ALL ARE INVITED............
We each need to look at our individual lives and see what stops us from responding to HIS invitation. It is never too late to respond. As you reflect on this invitation....close your eyes and hear the lyrics of the following by clicking on the link below.
For Children: This week's Gospel is about God's invitation to each of us. Did you know that God has invited you to a very special life. When Jesus was explaining this to his friends, he used a story about a king. Jesus often used stories to help us learn important lessons. Here is a song that tells the story about the king..... what do you think the lesson was?
Here is the answer......
For Middle Schoolers: No one likes to feel left out or uninvited. A cool fact about God is that everyone is invited!! You are never ignored or left out when it comes to God. He is not a bully. He will never force you to accept the invitation of a relationship with him. He can be your true best friend if you say "YES" to a life as a follower of Christ.
For Teens: This week's Gospel is all about your personal invitation. You are the MVP . God has invited you to an epic life with HIM.
How will you respond to His invitation?
We are all called to be Saints! You and I are called to become Saints. You can only become a Saint with God's help. No one can become a Saint on their own. There are many teen Saints...check out the story about Blessed Carlos Acutis.
This week's Gospel is really about truth. Some people seem to say one thing but do another. Some people say they follow Jesus but don't and then some people admit they aren't sure or they aren't worthy and actually do follow Jesus.
Which one are you?
For Children: Here is another get up and Dance Challenge! Worship and Praise is fun.... make your words and actions match! We would love to receive videos of kids participating .... try it and see how it lifts your spirits!
This week's question: Who are you when no one is looking?
Do you say you are a follower of Christ, but when it comes down to actually doing what Jesus would do...how do you choose? It's not always easy. Stay on the path that leads to Christ. Keep doing good things even during the pandemic. Be creative, find ways to help others safely. Please mask up... Jesus most certainly would wear a mask if it would help other people and stop a sickness.
Watch the skit below..... Do you keep God in a Box?
This week's Gospel is packed with more instances of God's love for us as grace. We don't earn it, but we are all welcome to His unfailing grace. Jesus tells the story of the worker's in the vineyard and how there were discrepancies in who did what, and how much compensation was owed by the land owner. The people that were there first thought they were owed the most and the people that were there last were given the same amount. It reminds me of the prodical son in how the loyal son was jealous of the Father's generosity to the son that left and wasted his money. I think it comes down to we are not the judge of who is worthy or not of anything that comes from God. All are welcome to God's love and grace. Thank goodness he does not only call those who "feel worthy".
A prayer that has helped me refocus my thoughts and prayers is the Litany of Humility. It hits me in the heart and maybe it will mean something to you as well.
Another important theme this weekend is..... Catechetical Sunday!!!! We are finally starting our classes in person and at home. This ministry to our families CAN NOT be done without the very large group of parents and other special people that have volunteered their time , talent and treasure to help our young people grow in faith!! We are so thankful for each and every volunteer catechist!! We have always been super blessed with parishioner's generosity in volunteering. This year despite the challenges of moving forward in a new and different way.....we really can't say thank you enough for returning or stepping up to be part of our team. St. Francis Xavier parishioners always come through to help in Faith Formation. God Bless you and your families! Thank you for being workers in the vineyard!!
Kids and families who are in person classes.... please make it a goal to find a special way to thank your Catechist! You can write a letter, make a gift, or whatever your heart tells you but make the effort to say , “ Thank you”. Your children are so loved by our volunteers and they do it because of their love and light that comes from God! Please pray for your Catechist as well... the best gift ever!!
For Parents... an object lesson on Fairness
For older youth:
This week's theme is packed with opportunity! We have the Gospel that reminds us that God is generous and we need to be more merciful and kind. The theme of forgiveness is emphasized when Peter asks Jesus ,"Lord, if my brother sins against me,how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus answers," I say to you, not seven times but seventy -seven times."
We also have so many families sending their kids back to school in one way or another.
Here is a prayer that parents can pray over their children's backpack.
Bless this backpack and my child who carries it as they begin a new school year. Help them discover and develop the gifts you have given them. Allow them to be the best student they can be,reaching out to others and setting good examples to all they meet. Help them to be peacemakers and always kind.
As they carry these backpacks may they be reminded of your love and care that surrounds them each school day whether they are at home or in person.
Give them confidence when they are anxious,and encourage them when they are tired.
Help them to be patient with themselves and others as they learn to do some things differently this year.
We pray for all the teachers,parents and school staff members as they help guide our children in faithfulness to you.
Knowing that making transitions and starting new beginnings can sometimes be challenging...here is a song to remember that God's Grace is ENOUGH
FAMILY CHALLENGE :
Start a family prayer journal. Write your first prayer together. Let everyone contribute to the words and intentions. Always remember to thank God for all the ways he has blessed them.
For Children k-5:
ANOTHER FAMILY CHALLENGE!
Tired of sitting down ....... get up and dance...here is a song/dance that is very easy to learn. Send me a video of your family learning this song/dance and I will post.
FOR YOUTH: Grades 6-12
Sometimes Forgiving is hard....have you ever thought about the effects UNFORGIVENESS has on you.
This week's Mass readings themes are loving and forgiving. The Second reading is from Romans 13: 8-10 and the Gospel is from Matthew 18:15-20.
Love your neighbor as yourself is the bottom line in the second reading. The Gospel challenges us to reconcile our differences with one another . These are such important messages yesterday and especially today.
Enjoy the musical meditation below by Brother Isaiah.
For the kids ( and adults to pray together):
Now that we are approaching the beginning of a new year in Faith Formation..... a great way for us all to stay grounded especially during a challenging period in history is to start good routines. The best routine we can give our families is one with prayer. We can also teach our kids to get in the habit of praying independently.
Check out the idea for helping prompt this routine by clicking on the link from Catholic Icing.
I selected the image of a hiker to reflect on this week’s Gospel because Jesus reminds us that following him can have some challenging moments but the view from the top will be an awesome reward. We are called to help each other get to the top but Jesus shows us the way!
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples a heads up to the future and what is going to happen to him. Naturally, Peter’s first reaction is to not want to accept the fact that his beloved friend would face such a hardship but Jesus quickly rebukes him to point out that it is God’s plan and no one should stand in the way. He reacts rather harshly to Peter.
He then goes on to explain what it means to follow him. It is not easy always but it will always be worth it. Jesus shows us what it truly means to love through sacrifice and he calls us to follow.
Just reflecting on this aspect of what it means to love, I recall how my Dad would say to each of us, “ I am offering up my day for you,” when he knew we were struggling with the ups and downs of life. We always felt better knowing that he was with us in this beautiful way. Now as adult children we do the same with him and our own children. What better lesson can come of love than this?
This week's Gospel , Jesus asks the disciples a direct question. He asked the disciples,"Who do you say that I am?"
Matthew 16; 13-20
The refection below is taken from Catholic dailyreflections.com
“Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18c-20
Peter got it right. Jesus was “the Christ of God.” Many others spoke of Him as one who was only a great prophet, but Peter saw deeper. He saw that Jesus was uniquely the Anointed One who is of God. In other words, Jesus was God.
Though we know this to be true, we can sometimes fail to fully comprehend the depth of this “Mystery of Faith.” Jesus is human, and He is God. This is hard to comprehend. It would have been hard for those of Jesus’ time to comprehend this great mystery, also. Imagine sitting before Jesus listening to Him speak. If you were there before Him, would you have concluded that He is also the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity? Would you have concluded that He existed from all eternity and was the great I AM WHO AM? Would you have concluded that He was perfect in every way and that He was also the Creator of all things and the one who keeps all things in being?
Most likely none of us fully would have comprehended the true depth of the meaning that Jesus was “the Christ of God.” We most likely would have recognized something special about Him, but would have failed to see Him for who He is in His full essence.
The same is true today. When we look at the Most Holy Eucharist, do we see God? Do we see the Almighty, Omnipotent, All-loving God who existed for eternity is the source of all good and is the Creator of all things? Perhaps the answer is both “Yes” and “No.” “Yes” in that we believe and “no” in that we do not fully understand.
Reflect, today, upon the divinity of Christ. Reflect upon Him present in the Most Holy Eucharist as well as His presence all around us. Do you see Him? Do you believe? How deep and complete is your faith in Him. Recommit yourself to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is in His Godhead. Try and take a step deeper in your faith.
Lord, I do believe. I believe You are the Christ of God. Help me to comprehend even more what that means. Help me to see Your divinity more clearly and to believe in You more fully. Jesus, I trust in You.
Start a conversation in your family.
Who do you think Jesus is?
Make an illustration depicting Jesus..
Use descriptive words and draw what you think HE would look like. Who is Jesus? Send in your creations and we can share them. Spread the good news through art! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
When you first read this week's Gospel, my first inclination is ,"Ouch, Jesus was unkind to the woman at first." It is not my favorite account of Jesus but if you dig deeper you see that there is more to understanding this story. He actually "SAW HER", she was on His radar. The disciples' behavior was a bit dismissive. The woman was humble, persistent and had great faith. Sometimes we are quick to judge.
Below is a reflection on this Gospel taken from: blog.franciscanmedia.org
Many people face a conundrum when reading the scene in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus meets the Canaanite woman who begs him to release her little girl from demonic possession (15:28ff). The Lord’s first response is silence, and we are struck by how out of character that is for him. No response to a cry for help? Then the woman kneels and pleads, “Lord, help me,” to which the Lord replies that his mission is not to gentiles, but to Israel.
He then says, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” We are stunned by his words. But the woman doesn’t give up. She comes back with, “Even the dogs get the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” We feel like cheering her on in the midst of the Lord’s apparent disregard. Christ then replies, “O woman, great is your faith!” What’s going on here?
A DEEPER FAITH
Right before this scene, the disciples were caught in a storm and called to Jesus for help. He called Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water toward him. Peter saw where he was and realized he was doing the impossible. He began to sink. Christ grabbed his arm and saved him. Coming back to the boats, the Lord chided his disciples with “O, you of little faith.” The apostles, who have seen dozens of Jesus’ healings and miracles, lose faith once they are tested in a storm.
By contrast, this Canaanite woman will not take “no” for an answer. And that is the point. When the woman first approaches Jesus, his disciples want him to send her away. She is bothering them. The apostles had just been saved from drowning, but now think nothing of walking away from this poor woman. What’s happening here is that the Lord, in his goodness and wisdom, is drawing from this pagan woman a deeper faith than his apostles had.
In a way, God's only son knows all along he is going to heal this woman’s little girl. The Lord could never walk away from this situation. But he can also see that she is a strong woman who cares for her daughter. As he talks with her, Jesus draws out from her a strong determination and magnificent act of faith. She would not give up. There are two important lessons here.
First of all, the apostles witnessed this woman display more faith than they had when faced with a critical situation. Second, it is important to remember that, in the Gospels, the most dramatic acts of faith are made by pagans rather than the Jews. Such as: 1) The centurion who said, “I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servent will be healed” (Mt 8:8). 2) The gentile woman who would not let Christ get away without healing her daughter. 3) And, finally, the Roman soldier at the cross who makes the dramatic statement, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39).
Faith is often found in the least-expected places. Faith is a matter of the heart, not the head. And God’s grace can touch the hearts of some people we might tend to dismiss
For Elementary Age Kids:
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.
God's message is very timely as He always is , if you listen. This week's theme continues to be one of ultimate trust in Jesus to bring calm to all the storms of our life and to furthermore walk with HIM even if your mind is telling you it is impossible to go in the direction with Jesus over any obstacle. In this week's Gospel Jesus is calling us to give up our fears of the impossible and walk on. the water with HIM. The disciples were on a boat and a raging storm comes and the disciples call out to Jesus for help. As Jesus address the disciples the wind calms and the storm ceases. How many times does he do this in our lives? Then furthermore he pushes us to our limit in trust. He asked Peter to get out of the safety of the boat and walk on the water with him. Would you go? Would I go? Reflecting on the many challenges in life that we can encounter, what is our first reaction?
Recently, I have had the blessing of getting away and spending time with family near a lake. We had one extremely windy day that created waves that were very big crashing into shore. What caught my attention was this Mother Duck with her ducklings near the edge of the shore. They were getting battered around. She was doing her best to keep them together and battling the waves crashing around them. She was seemingly trying to teach them how to deal with the circumstances safely,
and keep them swimming. Later as the waves calmed down they all nestled together on the shore. She kept them together and taught them how to ride the waves!
This made me think of how Jesus cares for us. He is trustworthy and He loves us. He will see us through the storm and will teach us to walk or swim on the water. We have to let go and trust and eventually we will feel the comfort of being nestled in the shore, many of us have storms that no one is aware of and some that only our friends and those close to us are aware. I think that Jesus responds to our call to calm the storm sometimes in the form of good friend that can be counted on. May we always be open to the way God wants to work in our lives whether it be trusting more, being that good friend, or getting out of the comfort zone of the boat and walking with HIM in ways that we could never expect. Just say "yes" to God 's will and pray for the strength and grace to do so when we are feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances.
This week's prayer:
Thank you for all the blessings and ways you have extended your hand to us to trust you more. Please calm the storms in our lives. Help us to always see you in every situation. We pray for who are struggling to keep their head above the water and help us to see where they are so if it is us that are called to be the hand they need that we seize the opportunity to be an instrument of peace and calm. Help us to TRUST more. Lord , I am sorry for the times when my faith is weak and I sink.
Another way to pray through this scripture is through visio divino using Art.
With Jesus in the Storm: Rembrandt’s Meditation
Linger with Rembrandt’s masterpiece painting of this Gospel story and you’ll begin to feel the stormy gale blowing in your face and the enormous waves tossing you up and down and splashing you with freezing cold sea water! You’ll feel the force of the trials in your life that threaten to sink your boat. You’ll see yourself in the boat and the role you play in your family, work, or other group.
Most important of all, you can find in Rembrandt’s painting Jesus and his cross — you can come to experience more of his peace in the storm.
Visio Divina Spiritual directors call meditating on a picture “Visio Divina.” Applied to a Bible passage, it’s an imaginative and refreshing form of Scripture meditation that helps us to enter into the narrative of Scripture and bring ourselves to Jesus. It’s similar to Lectio Divina, but instead of quietly listening to God through words we use a picture.
In my personal devotions and in the groups and retreats I lead for pastors, leaders, and caregivers I have found that using Picture Prayers that come from the Bible can evoke deep personal emotions and needs, even things that we were not conscious of, which we can then pray about. It’s also a great tool to help us hear God’s voice, often in ways that surprise us!
It seems that a picture provides a generous space for each of us to project our unique self and life circumstances into so that we can then bring ourself to God. What you see in the picture is probably different from what others see. So also, the message you hear from God, spoken to you in part through the picture, is personal to you.
I invite you to join me in meditating on Mark 4:35-41 as it was painted by Rembrandt in The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. You can do this in a time of private devotion or share this with a prayer partner or small group.
Meditate on the Gospel PassageMark 4:35-41 tells the story that inspired Rembrandt’s painting of The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Read the passage slowly and prayerfully. You can do that here.
What is one word or phrase that you’re especially drawn to? Remain in quiet prayer to absorb this word from God.*
Meditate on Rembrandt’s PaintingNow let’s turn to Rembrandt’s meditation on Mark 4:35-41. He painted The Storm on the Sea of Galilee in 1633. His painting of Jesus and his disciples in their boat on the stormy sea is dark, shrouded in shadows, but there is a ray of light streaming down to help us see what is going on in the boat.
You can meditate on The Storm on the Sea of Galilee using this large image of Rembrandt’s painting. (If you’re sharing this meditation with a group then you’ll want to print out copies of the picture.) Ask God to guide and direct your impressions and thoughts as you look at the painting.
What do you notice? What part of the painting or character in it does God especially draw your attention to? Quietly pray and reflect on this for a couple of minutes. [It’s best to do this part before you do the guided parts of this meditation below. Let your mind be open to whatever impressions or thoughts God may give you.]
Finding Yourself in Rembrandt’s Painting (Guided Meditation, Part 1)Let’s meditate on The Storm on the Sea of Galilee one more time. This time I will guide you. An interesting thing about the painting is that in addition to the twelve disciples who accompanied Jesus in the boat there is a thirteenth person sailing in the boat, who is that?
Rembrandt is known to have painted himself somewhere in his paintings. He’s setting an example for us to find ourselves in the Gospel, bringing to God our stress and our sin, our hurts and our hopes. (This is the way we need to meditate on Scripture. It’s also what we need to do with others when we preach or teach from the Bible.)
In Rembrandt’s painting each of the people with Jesus in the boat has their own reaction to the storm. It’s something like the different roles that people play in a family, church, or other group. (Sometimes, particularly under stress, people’s roles and reactions may be very dysfunctional!) Which person do you most identify with? (In different situations or at different times in your life you might find that you have a different reaction.)
In the boat is a man in white that is easy to miss. His back is faced to us. He’s sitting still and alone. He seems to be separated from the frightening storm and the chaos going on around him in the boat. There seems to be a shadowy figure that he’s looking at. Is he having a vision? Is it an angel?
LostA man in a blue shirt on the left side of the boat near the back is standing and holding onto a guy wire. His other hand is on his forehead as he stares blankly out at the dark sea. Maybe he’s flooded with emotion and shut down. It almost seems he is looking to us. He’s close to Jesus but he’s not looking at him.
No one is looking at Jesus, except the two angry disciples and the disciple kneeling at Jesus’ feet. Only the kneeling disciple is looking at Jesus with trust and reverence. Rembrandt has painted a halo on this disciple’s head to signify his faith in the Lord Jesus in the midst of the terrible storm.
Pray About Your Storm
Now, bring your storm into the Gospel story. Some storms that we experience, like this one on the Sea of Galilee are dangerous. Other are storms of stress or not knowing what to do.
Your storm might be a difficulty in your family, work, or ministry. Or something personal that you’re struggling with. How are you dealing with your personal storm? Which character in Rembrandt’s painting do you identify with? Pray quietly about this…*
Look at Jesus (Guided Meditation, Part 2)Look closely at Jesus. Freezing rain is pelting down on him, waves are swamping the boat, winds are whipping against him and tossing the boat around violently. Yet, Jesus is sleeping! Surely he is not unaware of the dangerous storm. Nor is he faking to be asleep. He must be napping. Certainly, he is at peace.
How could Jesus be so relaxed when he and his disciples were in such great danger? Was he planning all along to calm the storm? I doubt it. Jesus said he only did what he saw the Father doing and that always he was submitted to him.
Jesus wasn’t just in the boat — he was in his Abba’s arms. He wasn’t just in the storm — he was in the Kingdom of God. He was at peace in the storm because he trusted his Father to care for them — no matter what happened. This is the hidden miracle in this Gospel story and it’s why after Jesus calmed the storm he said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid?”
On the surface it’s a ridiculously funny question! The disciples must have looked at each other incredulously afterwards, “Let’s see. Why were we so afraid? Oh, it was the storm that nearly drowned us all at sea! Then it was realizing that we were sitting next to the Son of God with power over nature!”
Jesus was being sincere. If they learned to live with him and the Father in the Kingdom of the Heavens then they wouldn’t be afraid — even in a terrible storm. Jesus was so relaxed that God’s peace permeated his body. It was this peace in his body that he spoke into the storm.
In Rembrandt’s painting it seems that Jesus is looking to the opening in the heavens and the light that is breaking through. Most everyone else in the boat is either looking at the storm or at what they’re trying to do to secure themselves. Jesus is the only person on the boat who sees the source of light in the heavens.
Notice, that the light of God is not just coming from the heavens it’s also glowing from Jesus’s body! Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God! He is the Light of the World and the Prince of Peace! The disciple kneeling at Jesus’ feet sees Jesus’ light! Perhaps the disciple at the tiller is also is drawn to Jesus’ light.
By the way, did you see the symbol of the cross of Christ right in the middle of Rembrandt’s painting?
Listen to God.
For K- 2nd grade
For an object lesson- click on link below:
This week's Gospel is one of my all time favorites because it reminds us that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD!! It also reminds us not to worry when you think there is not enough of something because GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES. ( sometimes in the most unusual ways but our needs are met by the ONE who knows us best!) It is the story of Jesus feeding the huge crowd the loaves and fishes. (Matthew 14:13-21)
The second reading this week is epic as well! (Romans 8:35,37-39)
"Brothers and sisters; What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish,or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? NO, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us!"
This is the HOPE we need today!
The prayer coming from my heart after reflecting on the scriptures for Sunday:
Thank you for blessing us so many ways, every day of our life. Thank you for the people that you place on our path, thank you for our families, thank you for our friends, and thank you for the opportunities you give us to shine your light for others!
In this ever changing world during the pandemic....thank you for being the constant! Thank you for helping us calm the waves of insecurities for the future. Thank you for being our peace and salvation always!
Lord we lift up all who are struggling with health concerns in mind and body, all those who are mourning, parents figuring out whether to send kids to school or stay home, and all those struggling with finances. Help us to trust in you. Help us to trust that you will provide way like you did the day when you fed a crowd from a small basket of fish and few loaves of bread. We know you are with us.
Thank you for being our HOPE!
What is the prayer in your heart?
Below is a song we can reflect on the call to lean on Jesus and trust that HE knows exactly what we need!
For Preschool & Kindergarten
For Elementary ages Grade 1- 5Living Inside Out to teach kids that they can trust God to provide. Find more great Sunday school lessons to help kids grow in their faith.
Scripture: John 6:1-14
The Point: We trust God to provide.
Key Verse: “You are the God of great wonders!” --Psalm 77:14
Bible FoundationThe ProblemWord of Jesus’ miracles and life-changing teaching was spreading—he was becoming something of a celebrity. One day, on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee, a massive crowd of over 5,000 people gathered to hear him. In the midst of the crushing mass, a bad situation became obvious to Jesus’ disciples: These people would soon be hungry and clearly there was no possible way to feed them all.
More Than EnoughAndrew found a young boy in the crowd who had food—but just five loaves and two fish. Miraculously, Jesus multiplied the small meal into a feast for thousands, with baskets of leftover food. Jesus knew what the people needed and, from the start, he “knew what he was going to do.” Through this amazing miracle, he demonstrated that he could—and would—provide. And even more, Jesus showed that when he gets his hands on our stuff, blessings explode in abundance.
Coulda, Woulda, ShouldaJesus could have spoken a simple word, and food would have appeared. He could have simply thought about it, and the hunger of all the people would’ve been instantly satisfied. Maybe some people think he should’ve done it that way—it certainly would’ve been faster. But Jesus didn’t. Instead, he let the people experience hunger. He helped his disciples recognize their utter inability to solve the problem themselves, and he used a young boy’s small offering as part of his miracle.
A Deeper AgendaThe day after he miraculously fed the 5,000, the same crowd gathered again. Jesus illuminated the events of the previous day with an even deeper spiritual meaning: “I am the bread of life,” he said, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again” (John 6:35). In the Old Testament, God communicates the same idea, explaining that he purposely allowed his people to hunger and then gave them manna to help them realize that they need him to really live and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Living Inside OutGod often works in this way so we realize that only he can provide for our deepest needs and hungers. He wants us to know that he will provide even when it may not seem possible to us, and that he may also want to involve us (our time, our abilities, and so on) in the process of his provision. Are you aware, in this moment, how much you rely on God? That he is the ultimate provider of your food, your water, your shelter, even the air you breathe as you read these words? Take time to give God credit for his provision. Take stock of divine provisions in your life you may have taken for granted. Praise God for the needs he meets and the lessons he seeks to teach you through your dependence upon him.
Sunday School Lesson: Jesus Feeds the Five ThousandParents - Prepare AheadOn a large sheet of butcher paper, draw a large target with a bull’s-eye and three large rings surrounding it. In the bulls-eye, write “YOU.” On the next ring, write “FAMILY.” On the next, write “FRIENDS.” On the outer ring, write “SCHOOL.” Attach the target to a wall or other hard surface
1. WelcomeSay: Jesus performed amazing miracles for many people. He prayed for people to hear and see again, helped people walk, and even raised people from the dead! Watch one amazing miracle where Jesus feeds over 5,000 people—with just a little boy’s lunch.
Have kids discuss in small groups:
2. Object LessonYou’ll need:
Say: How many corners does your piece of paper have? Allow time for the kids to count their corners.
Say: Your paper has four corners. But what if I want to give someone a corner? Cut off a corner of the paper, and hand it to a child. Hold up the paper, and say: Okay, now that I’ve given a corner away, how many corners do I have? Allow kids to answer, and then say: Wait a minute. I have five. Count the corners to the kids. Then have each child cut a corner from his or her paper.
Say: You see, the more times Jesus divided the bread and fish, the more he had to give away. Have the children count the corners on the cut-off piece they each have. Not only that, the people had more than enough. Encourage the kids to each cut off more corners, each time counting the multiplying corners.
Have kids discuss in small groups:
3. Bull’s-Eye!You’ll need:
Announce which ring the ballhits. Have everyone find a partner and share a way that God has provided for him or her in that area. For example, if the ball hits “FRIENDS” on the target, kids can talk about how God provided them with awesome friends who like the same things they do, who are fun to play with, and so on.
Choose another child to throw the ball. Have kids switch partners. Repeat several times, until each area is hit.
Have kids discuss in small groups:
4. Creative DrawingYou’ll need:
Say: You have a drawing of something ordinary. Now think of two or more ways you can use that item in a way that’s different from what it’s normally used for. For example, a spoon could help build a sand castle. A toothbrush can scratch your back. Allow about two to three minutes, encouraging kids to think creatively. There are no wrong answers.
Once everyone has finished, have kids trade their papers back and share their ideas with each other.
Have kids discuss in small groups:
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Check out the link below for more great discussion starters and talk about the miracles that you have witnessed in your life!
FOR YOUTH in Middle School
What are you hungry for? What would you want from Jesus today? Do you trust him? If you struggle with trusting ...ask Him for help. When was the last time you really prayed? How do you pray? Do you sit in the quiet or do you open the Bible, journal or use music to help direct your thoughts. Your challenge this week is to explore different ways to pray. Go to Jesus with all your heart!
For Teens and Young Adults
This is one of my all time favorite skits....... The Trust Fall. Do you trust Jesus? Do you really trust him with everything going on in your life? What can you do to increase your trust. For me, in order to really trust someone, I have to get to know them. I have to spend time with them. What about you? How well do you know Jesus? What can you do to know him better. Just some things to think about. I hope you take the plunge!
This week theme continues with thoughts on the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is trying to describe the kingdom of heaven to his followers using more parables. He gives several examples to ponder in our hearts. Let's try to break open the message a little further.
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’
For Elementary age kids:
Parables: The Pearl of Great Price
To Remember: God's kingdom is worth all that we have
Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. (NRSV)
Do you have one toy that you like more than all the others? Do you have a best friend? What are you willing to give up in order to have that toy or be with that friend? In these verses, Jesus describes a treasure so great, so valuable, so precious, the men sold everything they had to gain it. They did not value anything of theirs as much as they valued the chance to have the treasure or the pearl.
Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven with this valuable treasure. What Christ has offered us is so great, so valuable, that there is nothing we have that is worth keeping if it means we can't be in the kingdom. Think about the treasure in the field. If the man sold his house, then got the treasure, he would have the money to build a bigger house. The kingdom of heaven is the same way.
True or False
For Grades 6-8:
The Price Is Right
The Kingdom of heaven, what is it worth?
A package of cookies or another item of your choosing. I used Oreo cookies.
Scripture"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!" Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)
There is a television show called "The Price Is Right." Have you ever seen it? It has been on television for more than fifty years! The contestants on the show are shown an item and then they try to guess how much the item costs. The one who guesses closest to the actual price without going over wins the prize. I thought it would be fun to play "The Price Is Right." I brought a package of cookies. Oreo cookies! Yum, yum! On the back of the package there is a tag with the price of the cookies. We will see how close you can come to guessing the price without going over the correct price.
If you think that the price of this package of cookies is MORE than $4.00, raise your hand. No, if you raised your hand, you are out of the game because these cookies do not cost more than $4.00.
If you think the price of this package of cookies is LESS than $2.00, raise your hand. If you raised your hand, you are out of the game because these cookies cost more than $2.00.
If you think the price of these cookies is MORE than $3.00, raise your hand. If you raised your hand, you are still in the game. This package of cookies does cost more than $3.00.
Next, I am going to call out a price, If I call out the price that you think is the right price of the cookies, raise your hand.
$3.39 - No, you're out of the game.
$3.49 - No, you're out of the game.
$3.59 - No! You're out!
$3.69 - Yes! These cookies cost $3.69. If your hand is up, you are a winner! You have won the cookies, but I am sure that you will want to share them with the other children when our Bible story is over.
These cookies are good, but $3.69 is a lot of money for a package of cookies, isn't it? Are they worth it? Perhaps there is another package of cookies that would be just as good for less money. Every day, we have to make choices about the value of things. We ask ourselves, "How much am I willing to pay?"
Jesus once told a story about a man who found a treasure which someone had hidden in a field. He was so happy that he immediately went and sold everything he had and bought the field so that the treasure would be his. (Matthew 13:44)
Jesus told about another man who went in search of fine pearls. When he found a pearl that he thought was the very best, he sold everything that he had so that he could buy the pearl. (Matthew 13:45-46)
These men both found something that they thought was worth giving everything they owned so that they could have it. Do you know what this thing was that Jesus was talking about? He wasn't talking about buried treasure or beautiful pearls, he was talking about the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is the greatest treasure one could ever desire. It is more precious than silver, gold, or jewels. That is why Jesus calls us to give up all that we have and follow him. Is that too great a price? I don't think so. In fact, I would say, "The Price Is Right!"
Father, nothing we have can compare to life in the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
(taken for Sermons4kids)
Welcome to this week' blog on the wheat and the weeds! In the Gospel this week, Jesus tells the parable of the good sower that plants good seed, while behind his back the evil one plants weeds to try and ruin the crop. When the good sower is aware of the weeds he lets them grow with the wheat only to be separated in the end.This sounds ominous but it really gives me comfort. Sometimes it is frustrating when we see evil things happening in the world. What gives me peace and should give you peace is that GOD sees it all. God knows the truth! We should do our best to grow in faith, hope and love. We should do our best to not be distracted by the weeds and keep our focus on God who is loving, merciful and just.
Here is a musical reflection on this parable... "Wheat and Tares" by the Wind Talkers. Let the lyrics resonate in our hearts.
Let us Pray,
Prayer Lord of the Harvest, be with us now as we pray. May we will sow good seed by the goodness of our lives and look forward to a bountiful harvest. • For the eyes of faith to see both goodness and evil in the world. Lord, open our eyes. • For prayerful discernment in difficult circumstances. Lord, sensitize our minds. • For a focused commitment to your Word. Lord, center our hearts. • For patience and mercy as we trust in a future we cannot see. Lord, we surrender our lives. With these prayers we seek the kingdom of heaven. We make them with confidence in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Additional thoughts Ten ways...to ‘tend the field’ within each of us:
1. Be thankful for God’s blessings. Keep a gratitude journal.
2. Develop small, daily, life giving habits.
3. Ponder a little bit of Scripture each day.
4. Stay close to the sacramental life of the Church.
5. Don’t feed your mind junk food. Be discerning about what you read, view.
6. Contribute to the mission of the Church. Put your shoulder to the plough.
7. Seek guidance from a wise, spiritually mature mentor.
8. Stay focused on persons not things; on Jesus, not religious ideology.
9. “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Bringing children into the world, and raising them according to God’s teachings of love is a profound expression of gospel fecundity.
10. Over to you... from your experience, add a tenth point.
"Weeds among the wheat”-reflection
The biblical image of the ‘weeds among the wheat’ (Mt 13:24-30) is used repeatedly by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (‘Joy of the Gospel’). Read the passage in Matthew’s Gospel (see p.3), followed by these paragraphs from Evangelii Gaudium: “Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree... and like the good seed that grows amid the weeds...and can always pleasantly surprise us.” (EG, 278) “Evangelization consists mostly of patience... Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit. An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds. The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among the grain does not grumble or overreact. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear.” (EG, 24) “The joy of the Gospel is such that it cannot be taken away from us by anyone or anything (cf. Jn 16:22). The evils of our world – and those of the Church – must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervour. Let us look upon them as challenges which can help us to grow... Our faith is challenged to discern how...wheat can grow in the midst of weeds.” (EG, 84)
-the above prayers and reflections came from: The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium © 2013 Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Australian edition published by ST PAULS PUBLICATIONS. Scripture: New Revised Standard Version. This leaflet © 2014 MissionServices,Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Broken Bay. www.godsmissionjoyofthegospel.dbbcso.org
For Children K- 3rd grade.... and Object lesson and craft!
For Grades 4-6
For Teens: Something to think about while living in a world full of wheat and weeds (good and evil)... finding GOOD friends helps you stay true to your true identity as a child of GOD. Sometimes we all can get mixed up along the way.Having friends that look out for your best interest will help you grow to be the best version of yourself.
For all of us... making decisions can be tricky in a world full of weeds sometimes.
Fr. Mike Schmitz gives us some great advice on making decisions.