Twenty-eighth Ordinary Sunday
Points to note
Although this may seem quite a vivid narrative, the concepts that underlie it are a little advanced. They revolve around the idea of possessions. Some younger children have very weak grasp of the concepts of personal possessions. They tend to be the ones who would be more willing to share rather than hoard. As such, care may need to be taken to avoid introducing an alien concept to them, especially one that may weaken the sharing instincts. Facilitators would need to be alert to such situations and adapt the session accordingly.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Blessed are you, Father. Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children.
Jesus has just welcomed the little children into the kingdom of God while he was on the way to Jerusalem, as we saw in last Sunday’s reading.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 10: 17-30)
Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must lie; You must not cheat; Honour your mother and father.” And he said to him, “Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.” Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, “My children,” he said to them, “how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were more astonished than ever. “In that case,” they said to one another, “who can be saved?” Jesus gazed at them. “For men,” he said, “it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
What is your most prized possession? Get each child to describe the most valuable thing that they have. Try to limit them to more tangible possessions and leave out the intangibles like love, etc. They can include people as the most valuable thing that they have, such as parents and families.
Does anyone have the right to ask you to give up your most prized possession? Would you? Discuss what the children would do if they were asked to do this, extending the discussion to whatever will make them give up the most prized possession. Maybe, that depends on:
· who asked them: parent; priest; God?
· how they were asked: nicely; not given a choice?
· for how long do they to give it up: a short while; forever?
· for what it would be used: given to one more in need than them?
· what the most prized possession was: can they get a replacement?
Discuss the idea of sacrifice that Jesus wanted in the reading. What does sacrifice mean? Basically, a sacrifice would be something you give up. Describe various types of sacrifices - fasting, etc. Would it be a sacrifice if you were to give up something you didn’t like? Would it be a bigger sacrifice to give up something you cherish very much, like your most prized possession?
Why did Jesus wanted his disciples to give up so much? Was it easy to give up their possessions and families to follow him? Do people still do such things today? Discuss about the priests and religious who have given up things. For instance, Jesuit fathers (or any other religious groups, monks and sisters) do not own anything by themselves. Everything they have is in the name of their Order or Congregation (that is the group or society that they belong to). If they were to earn anything, say by teaching, they would need to give everything they earn to the Jesuit community. They would of course get some pocket money to spend each month.
We do not all of course need to make such a sacrifice. Discuss the little sacrifices that we can make.