Sunday, July 16, 2023

16th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Sixteenth 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.

            Say:  Today is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a seed.  We talked about how Jesus’ teachings are like seeds and we are the soil that the seeds fall upon.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is a scale.  What is a scale for?  <it is for measuring or weighing>  Where do you find scales?  <at a doctor’s office, in a grocery store>  Why would we weigh something?  <to find out how heavy it is>  Why do we care how heavy objects are?  <discuss>

            Say:  We are gathering information about something to make a decision.  A doctor would decide about the health of a person.  In a grocery store, you decide about buying food.  Our readings today follow the readings of last week.  We will be talking about crops and harvest, but our message is about a word called JUDGMENT.  Can anyone tell me what JUDGMENT is?  <deciding whether people are good or bad>  Whose job is it to JUDGE people?  <God’s job!>

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Lord, you are good and forgiving>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
            Ask:  What does “good and forgiving” have to do with the word JUDGMENT?  <”good and forgiving” would be FAIR>  WE TRUST God to make good JUDGMENTS about our behavior.

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 Wisdom (Wis 12:13, 16-19).  We know that God is all powerful.  We trust in God’s justice and mercy.  We trust that God will judge us fairly.  In this reading, we also hear something about how we, God’s people, should act if we want to do good.  Listen closely to the reading and see if you can hear what it is.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Did you hear anything special about how we should act?  <God tells us that if we want to be good, we will do what God does – we will care about others>  Sometimes we get so involved with doing good things that we forget that what we are supposed to do most of all is love others.  Can anyone think of an example where someone is so caught up in their own business (even if it’s good!) that they don’t show God’s love to others?  <perhaps being in such a hurry to get to church that you ignore someone who needs you along the way – an example might be from the parable of the Good Samaritan>

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            Lord, you are good and forgiving.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 13:24-30)  Matthew brings us another parable to go along with the one from last week.  Last week we talked about seed being scattered in different places and what happened to them.  Today we hear about some seeds which grow very well, both good crops and weeds.  The question is:  what do we do when it is time to harvest the crop?  Pretend that you are a child listening to Jesus tell the story.  Remember that a PARABLE is a teaching story.  See if you can find out who the plants are and who the farmer is.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read:
            “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  Can anyone tell me about the plants, the good crops and the weeds?  <the good crops are people who follow God’s laws and the weeds are the ones who don’t>  Who is the farmer?  <GOD>  Who planted the weeds?  <the devil>  What happens next?  How does the farmer get rid of his problem?  <he waits until harvest time to make the judgment>  What might this mean to us?  <that it is God’s job to figure out who does right and wrong>

Say:  The harvest time is the end of the world when God makes the decision about who goes to heaven to be with him.  There will be bad things happening in the world until then.  It is our responsibility to do our best to follow God’s laws and not judge other people.  God knows what is in everyone’s hearts and will make the final decision.  God will weigh everything we do in our lives, the good and the bad to make that decision.

Hand out the poster cut-outs of a rectangle so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the scales and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about God’s judgment of us and others.
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to show God’s fairness to someone in their lives.

If there is time for discussion, try to ask questions and reinforce what has already been discussed.  This helps the children to remember what they learned.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.

Add caption

Use this graphic to make the medium-sized banner symbol (with construction paper in colors) and plain on a full-sized sheet of paper for the Offertory symbol to color.

Parent Letter

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time  A

Dear Parents,
            Today is the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Jeremiah 20:10-12a, 13 and Matthew 13:24-30.

Symbol: scale

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today tell us about God’s judgment of us and others.  The selection from the book of Wisdom reminds us that we are to show God’s love to others.  This is more important than what we might think are good works.  The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of people who were too busy going about their business (which might even be GOOD things) to notice a person who needed them along the way.

            Matthew’s Gospel reading tells the parable of the farmer who planted good seed and had an enemy come in and plant weeds.  Once the plants were growing, the farmer could do nothing without hurting the good crops.  The solution is that the farmer waits until harvest time to separate the plants.  God will do that with us too.  He will allow us to exercise free will on this earth – for good and bad – and God will make the final judgment about us at the end of our lives.

New word / concept:  JUDGMENT

Activities to do at home:

            *See the other side! With your child, think of someone that you think does not act like Jesus taught us to act.  Make a list of all the reasons WHY that person might act the way he or she does.
            *Catch yourself and model Jesus’ behavior!  This week, with your child, watch for examples of harsh judgment – on tv, from first impressions, and in daily conversation.  Pray about how to stop being judgmental toward others.

            *Do something!  Write a note to someone you may have judged unfairly.

Thank you for sharing your children!

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