Sunday, February 19, 2023

1st Sunday of Lent A

1st Sunday of Lent 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.


Explain: Today is the First Sunday of Lent.  Did anyone notice any changes in the way we celebrate Mass this week or in the decoration of the church? <the color purple, less music, more somber atmosphere, etc.>  One change that you will see a little later on is that we will not say the ALLELUIA before the Gospel any more until Easter Sunday.  We will say “Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”

Explain:  Does anyone remember what the symbol for last Sunday was? <a lamp with a basket>  And what did it represent?  What was Scripture telling us? <not to hide our lights under a basket, that we have a responsibility to share our love and talents with others>
Introduce symbol

Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is an apple.

Explain:  What does an apple make you think of?  <let the children answer>  Do you remember any story in the Bible with an apple in it? <Adam & Eve>  That is the first reading today.  The apple represents temptation and sin.

Ask:  Today our thoughts are on temptation and sin.  Can anyone tell me what the word ‘temptation’ means?  <discuss>  Temptation is whatever makes you want to do the wrong thing – or to sin.

Say:  Let’s look at the poster we will make today.  What does it say? <Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today, a psalm of praise.

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 Genesis. (Gen 2:7-9, 3:1-7) God created a beautiful world for us.  Do you remember what happened next?  He gave one command to Adam and Eve – not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden.  Listen closely to see if you can hear anything new in this reading.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask: What did you hear?  <discuss>  Why did they eat from the tree in the middle of the garden?  <because the snake told them that they would know as much as God did, they believed the snake instead of God>  Do we ever do that?  Believe in something other than what God says?  Of course – we all do.  We all do wrong things sometimes.  We are all tempted.  And we all sin.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to pray the words of praise nice and loud:
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book of Matthew.  (Matt 4:1-11) This reading tells us about a time that Jesus went out into the desert before he began teaching.  Someone came to see Jesus in the desert.  Does anyone know who it was?  Listen closely and see what happened to Jesus.

Say:  Now let’s stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Read:  Read the Gospel

Say:  Did you already know this story?  Did you hear anything in the Gospel reading that reminded you of the first story about Adam and Eve?  Because Jesus was man as well as God, he was tempted.  It wasn’t easy for him to say NO to temptation… just like is isn’t easy for us either.  The difference is that Jesus managed to do the right thing.  We all have choices whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing.  During Lent we think about how we behave and we try to change.  We try to show God that we are sorry for the things we do wrong.

Hand out the poster cut-outs and Offertory symbols.

Ask children to add their names to the cutouts (red circles) so that they can be glued onto the poster.
Explain: Color this symbol of the apple and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we need to do when we are tempted

Ask the older children to write down one thing they can do this week to avoid the urge to sin.

If there is time, review the lesson.

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

Use this graphic to create a banner symbol.  Use "apple" colors for the banner symbol.
Use this graphic for the communal banner.  Cut small circles of any light color.
Use this graphic for the full size coloring sheet to use for the Offertory gift.

Parent Letter

First Sunday Lent A

Dear Parents,

              Today is the First Sunday in Lent.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11.

Symbol: apple

To reinforce at home:
Today we talked about the beginning of the new liturgical season, Lent.  We talked about the differences in the way that the church is decorated and the differences in the liturgy.
Our focus today from the readings was temptation and sin.  The first reading was about Adam and Eve and their temptation and fall from grace.  We talked about how we are all tempted and that we need to try to do the right thing. In the Gospel today, we hear about Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert.  We need to try to be like Jesus and not give in to temptation.

Activities to do at home:
*Talk with your child about how your family observes Lent.  What special things will you do together to prepare for Easter?

*Offer sliced apples with peanut butter and/or cheese as a dessert one day this week.  Share with each other some of the temptations that you have experienced that day and what you did about them.

*Plan to eat a simple soup and bread supper one day this week.  Put the money you didn’t spend on dinner into the Rice Bowl program.

Thank you for sharing your children!

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