Andrew was one of the first followers of Jesus and he is also the patron Saint of Scotland !
5th Sunday Year B
One of Jesus' first miracles was to cure Peter's mother-in-law who had a fever.
We followed the discussion in the Liturgy book about the gospel.
Then we talked about how hands have been used in the gospel story.
Jesus reaches out his hand to heal Peter’s mother-in-law. She reaches out her hand to Jesus to get his help and then uses her hands to feed Jesus and the disciples and to welcome those who are bringing the sick to her door for Jesus to heal them by laying his hands on them. Jesus folds his hands in prayer, and finally (with his hands) points to the next village where he is going.
We then had three children read out the following while making the appropriate actions with our hands :
God you created our hands beautiful and useful but…...
Too often we use them to grab what we want,
We might sometimes make them into fists to hit,
Sometimes we hide them behind our backs pretending there is nothing we could do to help when we know there is,
So, we turn our hands up to you asking for forgiveness.
Lead us to use our hands well.
Teach us to open our hands to share with others.
We can shake hands with our neighbours, and say "Peace be with You",
Show us how to join hands with our neighbours to build your kingdom of love.
We pray in Jesus’ name and remember his loving hands.
We finished with singing "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands" which the children really enjoyed singing as I think they must have sung it at school.
Another really good hymn for this Sunday would be "Lay Your Hands Gently Upon Us" which talks about Jesus' healing :
We also gave the children a cut out hand-print with a short prayer "Jesus Help Us to Help Others Amen" on it. A very short prayer was used as it was with the younger children aged 5-7. If you have a longer time or with an older group, they could maybe write their own prayer on it.
2nd Sunday Lent Year B
The Children's liturgy book we have focusses on the reading rather than the gospel, so if you feel that the idea of sacrificing sons/animals etc is maybe a little too much for P1-3 then I focussed on the gospel story of the transfiguration and used the Cafod materials to talk about change so small changes in our lifes can make big changes in other people for example collecting in the Sciaf Wee Box can make big changes to others in other countries.
3rd Sunday after Easter Year B
Talking about Witnessing Jesus - we used a bowl of water and dropped a small pebble in and watched the ripples moving out. This is rather like how ripples of news about Jesus can move out through the world as we all witness to Jesus.
or we could talk about what being a witness is. First talk about how you can be a witness to a crime. You might report on what you saw, what you felt etc etc. In the same way there were witnesses who saw and touched the risen Jesus or who had seen Jesus at all in his life. These people were the first witnesses and now we are new witnesses to Jesus.
Could sing the song "God's Spirit is in My Heart" and look at the words about being "a witness"
4th Sunday after Easter Year B
Good Shepherd Sunday
We looked at pictures of a shepherd in Scotland and compared with a picture of a Shepherd in the Holy Land.
In Scotland, the sheep have a lot to eat and can live in a field. The shepherd can herd them using a dog and we talked about how he can control the dogs and how he can identify his sheep with coloured marks on their coat. The sheep dont tend to have names and dont tend to follow the shepherd.
In the Holy Land, the grass is more spaced out so the sheep need to travel to find enough to eat. They follow the shepherd who calls them and they know his voice. He may have to be brave to fight off wild animals and we hear in the reading about how Jesus tells us about a bad shepherd who ran off and didnt protect his flock and we hear about how a good Shepherd will give up his life for his flock. We talked about how we were the sheep following Jesus and how Jesus was the Good Shepherd and gave up his life for us, his flock.
Some chidren then read the following bidding prayers :
Please help all the farmers in the world. Help them to look after their animals and help them to be able to grow our food.
Lord Hear Us
Please help all the people who are living in countries where it is difficult to grow crops and sometimes they do not have enough food.
Lord Hear Us
Thank you for all the lovely food we have to eat. Thank you for all our favourite foods like strawberries, bananas, peaches and ice cream !Dear Jesus
Lord Hear Us
Lord Hear Us
Help us to remember that you are the Good Shepherd and you will lead us all to do the right thing as long as we listen to you.
Lord Hear Us
As a followup : I just found this letter from "The Tablet" newspaper. I am sure the writer, Fr Dominic Milroy, would not mind us using this lovely story for Children's Liturgy : While walking in the hills of southern Spain some years ago, I encountered a shepherd, who was quietly walking in front of his flock. When I commented on the fact that he had no dog, he replied laconically, “Other shepherds have dogs. The sheep have a stronger relationship with the dog than with the shepherd. It’s a relationship of fear, not of love. I have no dog. I know my sheep, and they know me. When I take a step, they take a step.” A couple of years later, he sent me a message: “I have a dog now. But it’s not for the sheep, it’s for me. I am getting old and I need a friend."
Ascension Sunday : An interesting homily from Pope John Paul II in 1979 In the providence of God – in the eternal design of the Father – the hour had come for Christ to go away. He would leave his Apostles behind, with his mother Mary, but only after he had given them his instructions. The Apostles now had a mission to perform according to the instructions that Jesus left, and these instructions were in turn the faithful expression of the Father’s will. The instructions indicated, above all, that the Apostles were to wait for the Holy Spirit, who was the gift of the Father. From the beginning, it had to be crystal-clear that the source of the Apostles’ strength is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church in the way of truth; the Gospel is to spread through the power of God, and not by means of human wisdom or strength.
21st Sunday Year B
This gospel today continues the theme of the Bread of Life which has been over four Sundays from John's gospel.
This Gospel today is about the Bread of Life and Jesus asks his believers to believe that he is the Bread of Life and they will find eternal life through him. Not all of his followers believe him !
In context, this happened in reality in the days following the feeding of the 5,000 on loaves and fishes, so his followers were literally hungry and looking for food. Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee and yet the crowd still followed him. However it seems that they may have been looking for food as opposed to listening to the message. Jesus explained that they would eat of him and he was the Breaed of Life - many were not able to understand what he meant and turned away from him. But the apostles stepped forward and had faith to continue following him. I asked the children which apostle it was who stepped forward first.
We talked about how Jesus had fed the 5,000 with loaves and fishes. One boy reminded us that Jesus had asked the boy with the basket if they could use his loaves and fishes. We talked about what it would feel like to be the only one with a picnic and be asked to share with 1,000 and how this boy had to have faith in Jesus to hand over the basket. This came up later in the discussion when we talked about how Jesus's followers have had to accept his statement that he is the Bread of Life.
We talked about the Last Supper, holy communion, first communion etc. and how Jesus wasnt wanting to just feed us with food but to nourish us with his message of Love. We talked about how if we did a good deed sometimes you can actually feel better after for doing this.
We talked also about how Jesus would have felt about the people who turned away from him. Some felt he was maybe pleased as there was such a big crowd following him. But we figured that in the end he would want everyone to follow his word.
There is a hymn, which the children could sing "I am the bread of life, He who believes in me shall not hunger....."
For background, in John's gospels, interestingly, Jesus has seven statements in John's gospel where he says "I am ...." :
- I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” John 6:35
- I am the light of the world; he who fallows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.
- I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
- I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” John 10:11
- I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25
- I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6
- I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
27th Sunday Year B - "Let the Children Come to Me"
We talked about how the children got to church and who had brought them - some came with their parents or family just as the parents took their children to see Jesus in today's gospel story.
We talked about how Jesus actually put the children before adults and said that we should all be like children, so we talked about what is it in particular that children are good at that adults should try and be like. The children suggested "doing sums" "drawing" (ie learning and keeping an open mind), praying, the ability to follow a leader, etc. - all good answers. Oh yes and "doing make-up" ! Maybe not exactly what Jesus was thinking about !!
We also talked about what it felt like being in a crowd, such as the Olympics and going to see a sporting hero like Andy Murray and about the boy who gave Andy Murray a hug at the olympics. And how Jesus had been an even bigger hero and parents wanted to bring their children to meet him also.
And then as there was more time we talked about the children in the primary school in Malawi that we are supporting, and looked at some pictures of them.
29th Sunday Year B - "James and John - ask about Heaven"
Here we hear of James and John asking Jesus to let them sit next to him in Heaven. They are heading for Jerusalem and know that Jesus may be nearing the end at this point.
Jesus explains that we should not put ourselves forward like that but should act as servants.
Interesting re: servants etc - obviously this discussion with James and John led on to the reason why Jesus washed the feet at the last supper.
Discussions with the children could include looking at examples of people who serve others, and even children who serve others, and then how the children can serve in their families.
if time allowed they could possibly draw pictures of people who serve others or write "cheques" to their families of the thing they will do to help eg "wash the dishes", "make breakfast in bed" etc.
We can also have some bidding prayers to pray for those who serve us and who help us.