4th Sunday in Easter Cycle C
Welcome children to their worship space.
Explain: Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
Ask: Does anyone remember what is special about the season of Easter? If you were one of Jesus’ apostles, what would be going on in your life? <Jesus has risen from the dead, leaving the apostles all alone – he has appeared to them again a couple of times – they are trying to figure out how to keep Jesus’ message alive> Why should we think about what the apostles went through at that time? <because sometimes we are confused, too>
Say: We have spent the last couple of weeks since Easter talking about the things that we need to build Jesus’ church on earth. Do you remember some of the things we have talked about? <we need people to do the work, we need leaders who listen to God>
Today’s symbol is a sheep.
Explain: What do you know about sheep? <discuss> How do they behave? <they follow a leader, they need to be protected; they also follow each other> In the biblical references, who do sheep usually represent? <us> Why? <because God leads us, guides us and protects us> And he expects us to lead others to him.
Ask: Why do you think that the Scriptures talk so much about sheep? <because the people who lived in Jesus’ time knew a lot about sheep. Sheep were important because they provided clothing and food. You could tell how wealthy (or rich) a person was by how many sheep they owned. The people could also understand how much a shepherd cared for the sheep. A shepherd would do anything for the sheep he cared for.
Say: Let’s look at today’s poster. What does it say? < We are God’s people, the sheep of his flock> This is our Responsorial Psalm for today. The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. What does it mean – “we are the sheep of his flock”? <that God leads us – and that we follow him>
Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Words of God.
Say: Today’s first reading is from the New Testament book, the Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 13:43–44,47-48) In today’s reading, we hear about Paul and Barnabas traveling around telling people about Jesus’ message of love. Who remembers who Paul is? <original name was Saul, used to persecute Christians, blinded by God, became a follower> After Paul accepted the message of Christ, he traveled all over the known world of that time, teaching others about Jesus. He wrote a lot of the letters in the New Testament.
Have the reader read the first reading.
Ask: So what happened? <discuss> Did you hear who the people were that Paul and Barnabas were talking to? < the Jews and a few Gentiles> And what did Paul and Barnabas tell them? <that God said they were to be a light for the Gentiles> Who were the Gentiles? <Gentiles were people who were not Jewish>
Explain: Remember, Jesus himself was a Jew. The Jews felt that they were the chosen people of God – and that no one else was as special as they were. To hear that God loved the Gentiles too was a really strange message for them. It was stranger yet to hear that God wanted them to lead the Gentiles to him.
Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm. Your part is to say:
We are God’s people, the sheep of his flock.
Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of John. (Jn 10:27-30). For this Gospel reading, think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Like the parent who loves you so much, like a shepherd loves his sheep, that’s how much Jesus loves you and wants you to follow him and do good things.
Say: Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card) Alleluia, Alleluia.
Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”
Read: Read the Gospel
Ask: What do you think Jesus is trying to tell us? <discuss> So now we know that Jesus relies on our hands to do his work, that he left leaders to help us learn more about him and what do you think about today’s readings? <he expects us to lead others to him, we need to follow him and tell others about him>
Ask children to add their names to the cutouts (sheep) provided. Remind the children that we are making a poster for each Sunday and that they will sign a cutout and glue it on when they are here.
Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a sheep).
Explain: Color this symbol of the sheep and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about how we need to tell others about Jesus and lead them to him.
Fourth Sunday of Easter C
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The children listened to the same readings you did: Acts 13:43-44, 47-48 and John 10: 27-30
To reinforce at home:
Today’s symbol is a sheep to reflect the Gospel about the Good Shepherd. There are many references to sheep in scripture, so we discussed some of the behaviors of sheep and how they were taken care of and valued. We talked about how Jesus calls each of us to be sheep and shepherd, follower and leader.
Activities to do at home:
*With your child, talk about ways that together you can be leaders for Jesus, through your words or actions.
Thank you for sharing your children!