Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Points to note
The session for today centres round the idea of preparing. Jesus’ statement at the end of the reading is a little provocative and the facilitator will have to consider if she or he wishes to extend to discussion to cover this area. If so, it is recommended that the initial part of the discussion could be briefer with regards to the answers that you will get from the children.
The difficult line in the reading is about hating your parents. Of course, Jesus did not mean to hate as we now understand it. Our God is said to be a jealous God and the question is whether we are prepared to leave our most treasured possessions and relationships to serve God.
It is important that we link up our experience of our daily lives to the calling of God. Watch out that we do not get too carried away with the preparations in the example or for the baptism and do not leave enough time to discuss the preparations to answer our call at baptism.
Acclamation before the Gospel
I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt form my Father.
Explain that Jesus is still on the road to Jerusalem.
The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Lk 14: 25-33)
Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them, “If any man come to me without hating his father, mother, wife children, brothers, sisters, yes and even his own life too; he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
“And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would then start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build but was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down to consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.
This is the Word of the Lord
How many of you have ever saved up money to buy something you wanted, eg., a toy or a book? Get the children to describe what it was that they were saving up to buy. Was it hard saving up money? Let the children tell us how they saved up the money.
Now, get them to imagine the scene: They have worked hard to save up their money to buy a favourite game. Once they had enough money, they were so happy that they ran out to the shop with the money. Imagine the downcast looks when the shopkeeper tells them that the price of the game has gone up about three months ago and the money they have is not enough.
Discuss: What have they not done? Prepare, if they had prepared, they wouldn’t have been disappointed. What could they have done? Check up with the shop before hand to see if the game still cost the same. And then? Saved some more until they have enough.
Discuss why it is so important to prepare. Take another example: preparing for a baby’s baptism. Have any of you ever helped prepare for a baby’s baptism? Let them describe the preparations, but briefly. Does the baby have to prepare? Of course, but later, when the baby is grown up and able to make decisions. Explain that when we are baptised, we are answering a call to be a child of God. Discuss how we answer God’s call to be a child of God.
Discuss how people prepare for mass. In addition to the people who prepare the church for mass – the sacristan, readers, choir, etc – it is also important that everyone who attends mass to also prepare for it. We say our prayers and read the readings before the mass. In a longer time frame, we also make sure that we are clean of sins and sincerely avoid any wrong-doing so that we can receive Jesus with a clean heart.