Fifteenth Ordinary Sunday
Out on a journey with Jesus
Points to note
This Sunday’s reading deal with the aspect of missionary work. The perception of missionaries is typified by the story of the old Jesuit who never had his belongings in more than one suitcase, in order to be ready for any call to go anywhere anytime. As such, a missionary travels light and his direction is that given by the Spirit.
We should be drawing parallels between this and travelling done by us. For younger children, lead this to the awareness that Jesus and his disciples too have been travelling a lot themselves. Older children should be led to discuss a metaphorical travelling with Jesus: we never travel on our faith journey alone; Jesus is always with us.
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.
Remind the children that Jesus was rejected by the people in his hometown in last Sunday’s reading.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 6: 7-13)
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, “Do not take a spare tunic.” And he said to them, “If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.” So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Has anyone gone out travelling before? Which ways of travelling do you prefer: plane, ships, car, bus, trains, etc. Get the children to discuss from their own experiences.
Discuss how people of Jesus’ days travelled. Would the children be comfortable with that way of travelling? If they were to travel like that, would they be able to carry a lot of things? That may be why in the reading, Jesus told his disciples not to carry too many things with them when they travel.
Many of the disciples travelled a lot to bring the Gospel to many people. Who are they? Paul made four journeys throughout the Mediterranean while Peter went to Rome, Thomas to India, Andrew to Greece, Matthew to Ethiopia, James to Spain, Jude and Simon to Persia, Philip in Turkey and Bartholomew to Armenia. Discuss why they went to these faraway places.
The disciples often had very difficult times when they travelled. Most of them were persecuted, faced arrest, ridiculed and insulted. Some were even killed for the faith they tried to preach. Yet even when they were thrown into prison, they were not alone. Explain how Jesus said that he would be with them always.
Go on to the story of the footprints in the sand: a man dreamt one night that Jesus showed him how they have walked together during his life story along a sandy beach. The man found that during most of his life, there were two sets of footprints on the sand, but on the more difficult times, there was only one set. He turned and asked Jesus why he had to walk alone during those difficult times and Jesus answered, “During those most difficult times, you see only one set of footprints because I carried you.”
For older children
Discuss the idea of spiritually travelling light. We should not have too many temptations with us on our spiritual journey. Discuss the temptations that Jesus would not like us to carry with us when we travel with him. Use examples from the children’s everyday lives. Would a priest be a good priest if he was more concerned about playing computer games? Can we be good Christians if we are more concerned about our possessions not to share them with others?