Sunday, January 22, 2023

4th Sunday Ordinary Time A

4th Sunday of 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.

            Explain: Today is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Does anyone remember the season that will begin soon?  <Lent>  And what does Lent mean?  What do we do during Lent?  <prepare for the feast of Easter—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ>

Ask:  Does anyone remember the symbol for last week?  <hold up the symbol of the fish> We talked about how Jesus calls each one of us and we must be ready to answer the call.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a heart on fire.  Today we are going to talk about bringing the warmth and love of God to other people.
            Ask:  Tell me what you know about fire.  What does it do?  <it burns things up (or cleanses to make way for new), it warms you, it lights up a room>  Fire is another form of light.  God’s love is like fire—it warms us, it lights our life and it fills our hearts, getting rid of all the unhappiness.

            Say:  Let’s look at the poster we will make to day.  What does it say? <Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.> This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  Psalms were originally songs, so make sure you pray the response clearly and loudly.  You can sing it if you like.
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 Zephaniah. (Zeph 2:3, 3:12-13)  Zephaniah tells us to be humble.  What do you think that means? <to put others before yourself>  Being humble means thinking of other people first, worrying about how others are instead of how we are, making sure other people have what they need before making sure we have what we need.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Do you think that it is easy for us to be humble?  Why or why not?  <discuss>

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
            Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of St. Matthew.  (Matt 5:1-12ab).  This reading tells about a special talk that Jesus gave on a mountainside—called “the Sermon on the Mount”.  During this talk, he said something we call the “Beatitudes”.  The Beatitudes tell about God’s feelings toward people who suffer while they are on earth.  We have Jesus’ words to tell us what God thinks about our behavior.  Listen closely and try to remember one thing that Jesus says to you.

Say:  Now we will 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 did you hear?  Did you hear anything new or that surprised you? <discuss>  Which Beatitude do you think you might want to work on?

Hand out the poster cut-outs and Offertory symbols.

Ask the children to add their names to the cutouts (hearts) so that they can be glued onto the poster.
Explain: Color this symbol of the heart on fire and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about God’s love and blessings.

If there is time, ask the older children to write one thing that they can do this week to show that they understand what Jesus said on the mountainside.

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 graphic for the participation poster

Use this graphic for the mid-size banner symbol and the full-size Offertory symbol

Parent Letter

4th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Dear Parents,

            Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13 and Matthew 5:1-12ab.

Symbol: heart on fire

To reinforce at home:
            For several weeks, we have been talking about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry .  Today’s readings focus on the virtue of humility.  The reading from Zephaniah emphasizes how much God values people who are humble.  St. Paul reminds us in Corinthians that God has chosen each of us, those who the world considers important and those the world doesn’t consider important.  And in the Gospel today, we hear the Beatitudes from Jesus’ sermon on the mountainside.  Blessed are the poor inspirit!  God blesses the downtrodden, the lost, the depressed, those who did not put themselves first.

Activities to do at home:
            *Discuss with your child WHY God blesses those who put themselves last.

            *Watch the news together and identify some of those people that God specially blesses and try to think of a way to help them (pull together a bag of clothes to donate, purchase a sleeping bag to donate to a homeless shelter, go as a family to help serve in a soup kitchen.

            *Read over the Beatitudes together and choose one that is hard for you to practice and work on it together!

Thank you for sharing your children!

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