Sunday, September 24, 2023

26th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time   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.

            Say:  Today is the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

            Ask:  Can anyone tell me what we talked about last week?  <show the symbol of the coin>  We talked about how generous God is to us.  He gives us everything even when we don’t deserve it.

Introduce symbol

            Say:  Today’s symbol is a question mark.  Sometimes things are confusing.  Sometimes it is hard to tell right from wrong.  Sometimes we don’t think God is fair to us.  We’re going to hear some readings today that will help us figure things out.

            Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Remember your mercies, O Lord.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

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 Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 18:25-28)  In this reading, God is talking with Ezekiel.  The people of Israel were complaining that God wasn’t fair to them.  He answered back in this reading that he is fair.  He talks about people living and dying.  Listen to the reading and see if you think that God really meant actual life and death or if you think he might mean something else.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What did you hear that tells about life or death?  <that if you do what God wants you to do, you will live and if you don’t you will die>  We all sin sometimes.  When we do wrong, how do we feel inside? Like when you look into your parent’s face after you do something wrong, what does that feel like?  <BAD>  And what about when you do something that makes your parents happy, how does that make you feel?  <GOOD>  When you feel good and happy, you feel ALIVE!  When we do the right thing, we feel great!  And when we hurt others, we feel like we have cut off our happiness.  That feels kind of DEAD.

Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
            Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of Matthew (Matthew 21:28–32).  In the reading today, St. Matthew tells us about another time that Jesus was talking with some of the important people in the Jewish church.  He was trying to tell them about how to get to heaven.  He told a parable about another vineyard owner.  This man had two sons.  He wanted both of them to work in the vineyard one day.  One of the sons told his father NO and then later changed his mind and did it anyway.  The other told his father YES and then decided not to go.  Listen to the story and think about which son did what his father asked him to do.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
Have the reader begin:  “a reading from the holy Gospel according to…”

Say together:  Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children retell what they heard>  Which son did what his father asked?  <the one who said NO at first and then went to do the work>

Say:  Jesus was trying to tell the important priests that even if they did all the right things in their church, the most important thing they needed to do was to LOVE.  God asks us to love each other.  That’s number one!  God told them that the regular people who made lots of mistakes would go to heaven sooner than the important priests would because they listened and changed their behavior.  They believed in what Jesus said and they shared his love!

Hand out the small poster cut-outs for the children to put their names on.  Collect them to glue on a poster when they are finished.

Hand out the larger Offertory symbols (question mark).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to show how they can obey their parents.

Explain:  Color this symbol of the question mark and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about doing what God asks us to do.

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 the children leave to join the Offertory procession.

This graphic is used for the small poster symbol - cut out in light colors
Use this graphic to make the mid-size banner symbol and the full size coloring page for the Offertory gift
Parent Letter

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time  A

Dear Parents,

            Today is the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of the same readings you did: Ezekiel 18:25-28 and Matthew 20:28-32.

Symbol:  Question mark

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today talk again about how God is fair to us.  The question mark we used as a symbol represents the difficulty we sometimes have figuring out the right thing to do.  The Gospel reading in Matthew showed us the difficulty sometimes in deciding what is right and what is wrong.  Jesus was using this parable in talking to the high priests to show them that regular people who listened and believed in him would have an easier time getting into heaven than they would. Sometimes we are like the high priest and get so wrapped up in the details of our church that we forget the very simple message that Jesus brought us:  LOVE.

Activities to do at home:

*Show your faith in God!  Say a prayer together to ask God to help keep his love in the very front of your mind as you go about your day.

*Love others!  Think of someone who you think has not been fair to you.  Make an effort to set things straight between you.

             *Help your child surprise you!  Think up a few small chores that you would love to have done.  Make a list (of words or pictures) and share it with your child.  Ask them to surprise you this week by doing one.  Be very aware so that you recognize when the effort is made.  Reward your child with a bug hug!

Thank you for sharing your children!

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