Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Points to note
All masses are thanksgiving masses. In fact, the word ‘Eucharist’, which we sometimes use as another word for mass, means ‘thanksgiving’ in Greek.
Thanksgiving is important in our daily lives as it is a way of expressing our gratitude for something received. At this point of the three-year cycle, the children should be aware of the salvation, among other things, that we have received from God. And prayer, most especially at mass, is one way of thanking God for what was received.
The stress is on the fact that thanksgiving to God extends beyond prayer, in that an important facet of thanksgiving is care for what is given. If we do take care of what we have been given, it can only mean that we value it.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Your words are spirit, Lord,
and they are life:
you have the message of eternal life.
Explain what lepers are. They are people with terrible skin diseases. In those days, lepers were not allowed to live anywhere near healthy people (Remember in Ben-Hur, lepers lived in caves outside the city). They may come into the town and beg for food. If they do, they are required to ring a bell and shout, “Leper! Leper!”, to warn other people of their coming. Lepers are outcasts and no one wants to be near them.
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
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, “Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.” When he saw them he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Now as they were going away they were healed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, “Did I not cure all ten? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give thanks to God, except this foreigner.” And he said to the man, “Stand up and go your way. Your faith has saved you.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
If we were to receive something, what would Mom and Dad make sure your do? Say “thank you”. How? Discuss the ways that thank you’s are given. The longer this list is, the longer should be the list for the ways of giving thanks to God, when we come to it later. Discuss also how thanks should be given - with a smile, eyes on the person, etc.
Discuss the fact that we continue to express our thanks even after we have said thank you. After all, we don’t stop being grateful once we have said thank you. We continue to express our gratitude by taking good care of what we have been given. When the giver comes round again, surely he/she will be pleased to see that we have taken good care of the gift as it means that we appreciate it. Imagine how your uncle would feel if he sees the toy he gave you for Christmas lying broken abandoned on the driveway of the house.
Have we all received things from God that we are thankful for? What? Let the imagination run wild. Have we ever said thank you to God? How? Make sure that the list is at least as long as the earlier one.
Also, another thought. Sometimes, we pray very hard to get something that we wanted, maybe even months. Finally, our prayers were answered. So, we say a thank you prayer to God. But often, we only thank him once. Maybe, we should say as many thank you prayers to him as we did asking prayers when we asked him for those things. If we have been asking God for a month, we should be thanking him for a month.
Does our gratitude end the moment we tell God that we are thankful? How do we still continue to show that we are thankful? By taking care of whatever he has given us. It will be interesting to see how they propose taking care of their parents.
In particular with the teaching of Laudato Si, the Church calls us all to be thankful for God’s creation by taking care of it. We can also discuss how to be thankful for God’s creation. This is often a topic children seems to have an affinity with.