Sunday, September 17, 2023

25th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions

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 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

            Ask:  What was the symbol for last week?  <70 times 7>  We talked about forgiveness.  Does anyone remember why we should forgive each other?  <so that God forgives us>

Introduce symbol

            Say:  This is the symbol for this week (hold up the symbol)  This is a coin.
Ask:  Tell me what coins are for.  <they are money, you can buy things>  We take money and we trade it for something that we want or need.  Sometimes we trade it for someone’s time, like when we hire someone to do something for us.  Money is something we understand.  God’s way of thinking is not usually the way we think.  We don’t always understand God’s ways.

            Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say?  <The Lord is near to all who call on him.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

            Ask:  The Lord is near to all who call on him.  Does this mean that he is NOT near to everyone?  <discuss>  Sometimes when we get busy, we don’t think about God very much.  When we don’t think about him, God can seem very far away.  This psalm reminds us that God will always be close when we pray to him.

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 Isaiah. (Isaiah 55:6-9)  This reading from Isaiah reminds us of some of the things we have been talking about in the last few weeks.  Listen to this reading and see if you hear anything that you recognize.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Say:  Did you hear anything that we have talked about?  <forgiveness, that God always forgives us, that God is always near when we call on him>

Ask:  In this reading, we hear that God’s ways are not like our ways.  What do you think that means?  <that we don’t always understand what God does>  God is always fair with us and loving and forgiving.  Sometimes it is hard for us to do that for others.

Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
            The Lord is near to all who call on him.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of Matthew (Matt 20:1–16a).  In the Gospel today, Jesus tries to explain what heaven will be like.  He uses a PARABLE about a man who owned a vineyard.  Can anyone tell me what a vineyard is?  <a place where grapes are grown – to make wine>  The man in the PARABLE went out one day to hire some workers to work for him picking grapes.  Later in the day he went back out and hired some more for the same amount of money.  And near the end of the day, he hired some more workers again for the same amount of money. Let’s listen to Jesus’ story and see if we can understand what happens.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel

Have the reader begin:  “a reading from the holy Gospel according to…”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children re-tell the story>  How much did the man pay the workers?  <a full day’s pay>  Did they all work a full day?  <no>  Do you think that the man was fair?  <discuss – the man actually did pay each worker exactly what they agreed to work for, but most of us would feel that this was not fair>

Say:  How does this story tell us about heaven?  <God promises all of us the same reward – eternal life>  From the moment we choose to follow Jesus and work hard a t being good, whether we are young or old, we get the same reward.  God is very generous with sinners!

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 (Coin).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to try and be as generous as God is.

Explain:  Color this symbol of a coin and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about how good God is to all of us.

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.

Use this graphic for all 3 applications... small ones of a light yellow color for the communal poster, a medium-sized one from construction paper & a full black & white sheet for the Offertory gift.

Parent Letter

Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time  A

Dear Parents,

            The children listened today to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did: Isaiah 55:6-9 and Matthew 20:1-16a.

To reinforce at home:

            God is always near us.  Sometimes we get so busy that we forget about God.  Then God seems very far away.  Isaiah reminds us that God is waiting for us.  All we have to do is call and God is right there.

            The parable that we heard today was about a man who owned a vineyard.  He needed help with the harvest and hired helpers at different times of the day.  The tricky part of this parable comes in when the owner paid all the helpers the same amount of money.  Most of us generally believe that this is unfair – and in human terms, it may be.  But the owner did in fact pay each worker exactly what he agreed to pay them.  God is like that with us.  He promises all of us eternal life when we do what he asks whether we begin when we are very young or when we are very old.  God is very generous with us.

Activities to do at home:
            *Be generous!  Buy an extra item this week when you buy groceries.  Donate it to your local food pantry.
            *Watch the news this week!  Many children live in terrible conditions.  Together with your child, learn about a country you hear about on the news.  Make up a prayer for the children who live there.
            *Do something in your community!  Is there something happening in your community that is unfair?  Get involved.  Write a letter to the appropriate government official or news media to encourage those responsible to fix the problem.

Thank you for sharing your children!

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