• Dec 8, 2019 2nd Sunday of Advent A

    2nd Sunday Advent Cycle A

    Welcome children to their worship space.

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

    Introduce yourself and your helpers.

                 Ask:  Does anyone remember what season this is? <Advent>  On the wreath today, we lit two purple candles.  Purple means seriousness and sorrow.  We are spending this time of Advent seriously thinking about getting ready for the coming of Jesus.  Does anyone remember what our symbol was last Sunday?  <show the symbol of the House>
    Explain:  We learned that we need to get our own houses (our own hearts) ready for Jesus.

    Introduce symbol
    Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a scallop shell.  We use the shell to symbolize certain things.  Does anyone have any ideas?  <let the children think about it and offer ideas>
    Explain:  We use the shell to symbolize Baptism, the sacrament where we are received into the church.  We also use the shell to symbolize a person, John the Baptist.
    Ask:  Who was John the Baptist?  <a prophet, Jesus’ cousin>  What did he do?  <told about the coming of the Messiah—who was Jesus>
    Say:  One of the basic beliefs of the Jewish faith is that the Messiah will come to save us all.  The people who listened to John the Baptist believed the Messiah was coming.  John came to believe that Jesus was in fact the Messiah—and Christians believe that too.  All of our readings today will help us learn how we know that Jesus is coming– so the shell represents the clues that God gives us.

    Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say? <Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. 
    Ask:  Whose time are we talking about in this psalm?  <God’s time>  The psalm is talking about a king and how a king should act.  The psalm also talks about how we need to help the king be just like God.  We all have a responsibility to help make the world a better place, a place for Jesus to come to.

    Introduce 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: Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 11:1-4a, 5-6, 9b) One of the big questions is: how do we know that Jesus is coming? One clue is in Scripture.  God left us Scripture to help us know the truth.  Isaiah is an Old Testament prophet who told us all about Jesus many years before he was actually born.

    Have the reader read the first reading.

    Ask:  What were some of the things that struck you about this reading?  <let the children discuss>  One of the most striking images is the one of wolves and lambs lying down together. What do you think that might mean?  <that enemies will make peace with one another>

    Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
    Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace.

    Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of St. Matthew.  (Matt 3:1-9, 11)  This reading tells us about John the Baptist.  Think about the Jews at that time: they had a lot of rules and different classes of people.  There were Pharisees and Sadducees, who did their best to follow all the practices of their religion and worship God.  Many of the religious practices had to do with cleanliness or what to eat or how to conduct business.
    There were many other Jews, including the Samaritans and tax collectors for the Romans, that also did their best to live their lives—but that were not always able to follow some of the strict religious practices of the time.  Choosing what to eat or how to earn money is not always possible unless you already HAVE money.  Listen for two things in this gospel reading: the description of what John the Baptist looked like and who it was that came to him to be baptized.

    Say:  Let’s stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
    Alleluia, Alleluia.

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

    Read:  Read the Gospel

    Ask: What were some characteristics of John the Baptist?  < he was a wild man who lived in the desert, animal clothes, ate grasshoppers, probably dirty, etc.>  Do you think this was someone who would probably be invited to speak in the Temple?  

    Ask: Who came to John the Baptist to be baptized?  <Pharisees and Sadducees>  What did John tell them?  <to go do something to show that they were sorry for their sins>  Do you think that the Pharisees and Sadducees understood what John meant?  <it would be hard for them to understand—they felt like they were a special group who were already pretty close to what God wanted them to be>  They needed to learn that their actions toward others would determine their worthiness, their goodness.  When John told them that someone was coming who was more powerful than he was, who did he mean?  <Jesus>

    Hand out the cut-outs and ask the children to put their names on them for the poster. Collect them as the children finish.
    Hand out the symbols to color  (The symbol is a shell).
    Explain: Color this symbol of the shell and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about how to know that Jesus is coming.

    Ask the older children to write one thing that they will do this week to show others that Jesus is coming.

    If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

    Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

    Use this scallop shell graphic for all three symbols

    Parent Letter

    2nd Sunday Advent A

    Dear Parents,

                 Today is the Second Sunday in Advent.  The children listened to the same readings you did:
               Isaiah 11:1-4a, 5-6, 9b, Romans 15:4-6; Matthew 3:1-9,11

    Symbol: Shell

    To reinforce at home:
    The shell represents John the Baptist, one of the most vivid characters who told us about the coming of Christ.  Our central theme was the question “how do we know that Jesus is coming?”  (besides the fact that everyone says so)  Scripture of course tells us, both in the Old Testament and in the New-and is one of the clues God left for us. But we also know in our hearts when we truly believe and listen to God.  We compared the love God has for us to the love we feel for others.  When we love someone, we always want to be with them.  When we are physically apart, we still think about them all the time, just as if they were with us.  And we get back to them as soon as we possibly can.  Since we know that God loves us more than anyone else can, which is more than we can even imagine, we have to know that God will return to be with us. 

    Activities to do at home:

    *Talk about what it feels like to love someone and be apart from that person.  Compare that to how much God loves each of us.

    * The appearance of John the Baptist was in direct contrast to the appearance of Jews who followed all the practices of the Jewish faith—living in the desert, eating grasshoppers, wearing very little, etc.  Yet the Pharisees and Sadducees still came to listen to him and to be baptized.  Talk with your child about the outward appearances of others, that what people look like has very little bearing on who they are inside.  Find some specific examples in your community.

    Thank you for sharing your children
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