• Sept 10, 2017 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time A

    Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time  Cycle A

    Welcome the children to their worship space.

     Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

    Introduce yourself and your helpers.

    Introduce Sunday

    Ask:  Does anyone remember what Last Sunday was?  <show the cross>  It represented doing what God wants you to do, even when it’s not easy.

    Say:  Today is the twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

    Introduce symbol:
     Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up symbol> is a person and a heart. What does the heart make you think of?  <love> We are the people and what did Jesus ask us to do?  <LOVE>  Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments that have to do with love.  Who are we supposed to love?  <#1.  Love God.  #2.  Love each other.>

    Explain:  Last week we talked about how sometimes it is hard to behave the way God wants us to.  Today we are going to talk about how we need to not only make sure that we do the right thing ourselves, but that we also need to help each other to do the right thing, too.

    Say:  Now we are going to practice the Responsorial Psalm, that part between the readings where you get to help.  The Responsorial Psalm comes from the Bible just like our readings do.  Today’s psalm is:  If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.  Can you say this with me?  <Have the children repeat it.>

                Ask:  Are hearts Hard?  <no>  What do you think it means – “to “harden your heart”?  <to turn away from God, do decide not to listen, to choose not to love.>

    Introduce the readings

                We have two readings today.

    Say:  Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

    Say:  The first reading today is from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.  (Ezekiel 33:7-9). In this reading, the Lord tells Ezekiel that being good is not enough.  We have to do more.  Listenclosely and see if you can hear what else the Lord asks Ezekiel to do.

    Have the reader read the reading.

    Ask:  Did you hear what else God asked?  <God asked Ezekiel to help others to be good>  When someone else does wrong, can that ever be your fault? <NO – discuss>

    Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm that we practiced.
    Repeat after me:  If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.

    Have the reader read the psalm.

    Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book written by St. Matthew.  (Matt 18:15-17)  This reading is about a time when Jesus was telling some people how to treat someone who sins, someone who did something wrong.  Think about that for a minute.  What do you do when you see someone do something wrong? <let the children answer – nothing, tell them, tell a grown-up, etc.>  Listen to hear what Jesus told his friends to do.
    Say:  Now we will get ready to read the Gospel.  Please stand and say: 
    Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

    Have the reader begin:  “a reading from the holy gospel…”

    Read the Gospel.

     Ask:  What did Jesus tell his friends to do? <to tell the person what they did wrong>  This is important – did Jesus say to talk to other people about it?  <no> How are we supposed to tell the person who did something wrong?  <in private – just the two of you>  Why do you think he said to tell them privately?  <to give them a chance to do better, to fix the problem, so that no one else needed to know about the sin>

    Say:  Jesus loves us.  He wants us all to do the right thing.  But we all make mistakes and do things that are not right.  Jesus asks us to help each other to be good.

    Hand out the large Offertory symbols (person with heart) for the children to color and the smaller symbols (persons) for the children to put their names on for the poster.

    Remind the children that the large symbol is to be offered in the Offertory procession to show the congregation what they have learned about how to treat other people. 

    Remind them to put their names on the back and that they can retrieve the symbols after Mass.

    Collect the smaller symbols to glue to the communal poster.  Remind the children to bring their parents back after Mass to see it.

    While they are coloring, go over the procedure for entering the church at the Offertory, how they approach the altar and put their symbols in the basket that the lead child will place at the altar.

    Give out parent letters, coloring hand-outs and stickers.

    Use this graphic  or a heart in a small size for the communal poster
    Use this graphic to make the mid-sized banner symbol of constructions paper and to make the full-sized coloring sheet to use for the Offertory

    Parent Letter

    Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time  A

    Dear Parents,

                Today we celebrate the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did:  Ezekiel 33:7-9 and Matthew 18:15-17.

    Symbol: Person with heart

    To reinforce at home:
                Today’s we discovered how much Jesus wants us to help one anther to obey Him and do the right thing.  We are ultimately only responsible for our own actions, but in the reading from Ezekiel, God asked Ezekiel (and, therefore, US) to be a watchman for each other.  He says that it is our job to help each other follow God’s laws.  Jesus tells us exactly how to handle a situation where we know that someone has sinned.  He reminds us to go to that person in private first.
    Activities to do at home:
                *Think it through together! Together with your child, think of some things that you know have gone wrong between you, some examples of times when you may have sinned against one another.  Talk about ways that the situations were handled and think up some better ways for next time.
                *Pray about it! With your child, think of some people you know who have done things that have hurt you.  Ask God to help these people learn more about him.

                *Have a family celebration this week!  God wants us all to be happy together with him.  Celebrate together the love that God shares with us.

    Thank you for sharing your children!
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