Twelfth Ordinary Sunday
Points to note
While our children, by and large, grow up in safe, stable and loving environments, the discussion on fears and being afraid may need to be taken sensitively. Talking from a safe position as they would be in church on Sunday, I expect the children to be free to talk openly as the fearful situation would have been in the past. Be alert, however, for any child who seems to be talking as if the fearful situation is still continuing. A bit of assurance is called for.
While you may wish to use such a situation as material for discussion, take care you do not push the child to talk more than what he or she is ready to share. If you are confident enough for this, though, it will make for a powerful testimony and discussion.
Acclamation before the Gospel
May the father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.
Explain that Jesus has just been round Galilee, preaching to the people.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 4: 35-41)
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the back of the boat, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him,”Master, do you not care? We are going to drown!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet now! Be calm!” And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, “Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” They were filled with awe and said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Does any one like to be afraid? Limit the discussion to fears that the children do not like: we are not talking about horror movies here.
What makes you afraid? Why? We normally do not like to be alone, abandoned, scolded or in danger
How do you react when you are frightened? You can broaden out the discussion to people in general. Some children may suck their thumbs while others cling to their parents or older siblings.
Would you like someone to help you when you are frightened? Who normally helps you? Our parents, teachers, older brother, sister or friend. What do they do? They protect us, make the frightening thing go away or sometimes, a few comforting words or a cuddle is enough.
Would you seek help from someone strong or weak; someone who knows what he is doing or someone daft; someone comforting or someone threatening? Why?
Explain that, in the reading, the disciples in the boat with Jesus were likely to be fishermen. Fishermen are frightened of the sea and they often say special prayers before going out to sea, whatever their religion is. In this story, the disciples were afraid when a storm blew. The person they turned to was Jesus, who seems pretty cool about it: he was fast asleep while everyone else was panicking over the storm!!
Wouldn’t we too want to turn to Jesus when we are frightened? Discuss why: he is someone who is strong, who knows what he is doing, and who is comforting. How do we call on Jesus for help? Discuss the various ways of praying and how to compose a prayer to ask Jesus for help.