Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A caring God
Points to note
This reading may be a little difficult for the children to follow in its entirety. It is best to concentrate on a specific focus of the discourse. It is recommended that the dominating imagery used be that of the sparrows and the hair that the Father has counted. Relate it to the fact that people who loves us knows us very well. So does the Father.
Acclamation before the Gospel
The Word was made flesh and lived among us;
So all who did accept him
he gave us the power to become children of God.
Explain to the children that Jesus has been talking to his disciples about the mission of the Apostles and that they will follow the same fate as him.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Mt 10: 26-33)
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ”Do not be afraid. Anything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell publicly in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim aloud from the housetops.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both the body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one lands on the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more to the Father than hundreds of sparrows.
“So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But anyone who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.”
This is the Word of the Lord
Who are the people who you think love you a lot? What would they know about you? Likes and dislikes; when we are angry or sad or upset; birthdays and other important dates; many other things. Try and drag out as long a list as possible. Emphasise that God loves us more than any other person and he knows us more than anyone else. God loves the whole of his creation. So, he knows them all. Imagine, he knows when every sparrow lands on the ground. He has counted every single hair on our head. (Be ready for some smart remarks on this one.) Dwell on both these imageries.
Sometimes, there are people who do not like us. Sometimes, even people who loves us a lot get upset with us, even if it is only for a little while.
Do you think God has stopped loving us if these people are upset with us? It is important to emphasise that God is all loving, both in the sense of loving everything and loving at all times.
So, even if there are people who do nasty things to us, Jesus promised that God will continue to care for us. We are worth more to him than a whole flock of sparrows. That is why Jesus told his disciples not to despair even if they are being persecuted. God still loves them and remembers them and Jesus promises them that there will be a place in heaven for them. Similarly, there will be a place for all of us who endured hardships and nasty things done to us because we are followers of Christ. You may wish to bring out examples: the apostles, the saints, the missionaries, etc.