‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon)
A number of people currently live and work in Ireland, and are now far from their homeland. Some are health care workers struggling on the frontline in hospitals, nursing homes and in private homes. Family life is difficult for them because they always live in fear of Covid-19. Quality of life deteriorates and families are challenged in such circumstances. These same families are worried about their own families ‘back home’. On coming to Ireland originally, they said goodbye to family and friends and promised to return. Please God they will return. Hope prevails.
The opening words of the Gospel (John 14:1-12) proclaimed at Mass today are, ‘Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in me! These words Jesus spoke to his apostles. He told them he would leave them and ‘go to prepare a place’ for them, but he would return again and he would ‘take’ them to him. He wanted them to know he would be always with them. Thomas claimed ‘we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Philip asked Jesus ‘to show us the Father’. They were slow to believe in Jesus’ words.
Pope Francis spoke recently about the way ‘the Lord wants to comfort and console’ God’s people, by ‘drawing near to them’, by speaking ‘the truth gently without wounding’ and offering them ‘hope’. Pope Francis acknowledged that ‘it is not easy to allow ourselves be comforted by the Lord.’ Such was the situation for the apostles.
Jesus gently tries to tell the disciples that he remains near to them. He asked them, ‘Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?’ He urges them to believe in him because he is doing the works of the Father (Jn 14:11). Those who believe in Jesus will do the same works. Jesus promises that, ‘anything you ask in my name, I will do.’ (Jn 14:14). Disciples are invited to believe that Jesus is the way and to follow him. Jesus is always with them.
THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME AND FINDING THE WAY OF LOVE
The Grow in Love Religious Education programme explores Jesus’ desire to show the way of love to the disciples. Jesus wants to remain close to each one and wants them to believe in him. Believing in Jesus means believing in God and doing God’s work. He promises them the gift of eternal life.
Jesus was a witness to God’s love and surrendered to God’s will. In proclaiming the Good News, Jesus taught the apostles and the disciples about love, about being loved and about loving.
The children always begin contemplating God’s love by reflecting on the experience of love in their own lives among family, friends, parish and school. Gradually, they learn and experience God’s love in their daily lives. God created the world from love for love. God sent Jesus to proclaim the Good News of God’s love. On reading Sacred Scripture hearts and minds are opened through the Holy Spirit to the power of God’s love. In time, children learn how to love God and others. They make choices about love and live the consequences of the choices they make. In prayer, they learn to communicate with God.
In teaching the disciples about love, Jesus taught the new commandment, ‘And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples’ (Jn 13:34-35).
The disciples heard the Great Commandment, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as yourself.’
Jesus also taught them the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ (Mt 7:12).
The way of Jesus is love. The Holy Spirit teaches children to pray and give thanks to God for the gifts they have. They learn to use these gifts to bring joy and gratitude to their lives and to others. Children witness to and reflect on role models in life who lead lives of holiness.
Children are taught the call of justice to look after those who are in need in our society and those who live in poverty because of war and famine in other countries. They engage in the work of Trócaire and the Society of Missionary Children, the mission where ‘children help children.’
Social justice is a very important part of GIL and children explore the values of justice, charity and mercy.
They also explore the letter from Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, On the Care of our Common Home’.
Resources on the theme of love and working for social justice are accessible on the VERITAS website. From the e-books and the Bible, the children read the Scripture passages about Jesus and about how he shared the Good News by loving, healing, teaching and forgiving.
A Sample of resources that may help are: ‘A Vox Pop with Young Travellers’, a vimeo on ‘The Good Samaritan’, An Interactive Activity on ‘Human Rights’, ‘Climate Change Stories’, ‘Climate Justice Explained’, a vimeo on ‘Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist’, a slideshow on the ‘Rescue of Migrants’, a poster on ‘A map of Israel’, and a vimeo on ‘Working Together for Social Justice’.
SONGS related to the theme of love include: ‘Whatsoever You Do’, ‘God Has Given Us the Earth’, ‘The Summons’, ‘Love’ ‘They’ll Know We Are Christians By our Love’, ‘The Great Commandment’, ‘Where Your Treasure Is’, ‘Make A Good Choice’, ‘Whatsoever You Do’, ‘Use What You’re Given’. All are available as /lyrics video lyrics.
SING from the song ‘The Summons’
‘Will you come and follow me
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t
know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown; will you let my
name be known;
Will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me…?’
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
PRAYER ON OPENING THE BIBLE
Bless me, O God, so that
in opening this Bible
I may open my mind and heart
to your Word.
May it nourish me
as it nourished Jesus. Amen.
PAIDIR AR AN MBÍOBLA A OSCAILT
Beannaigh mé, a Dhia, ionas
nuair a osclaím an Bíobla seo
go n-osclóidh mé m’intinn agus
do do Bhriathar.
Go gcothaí sé mé
faoi mar a chothaigh sé Íosa.
PRAYER ON CLOSING THE BIBLE
Bless me, O God, so that
in closing this Bible
I may enclose your Word
in my heart and in my mind
as Jesus enclosed it in his. Amen.
PAIDIR AR AN MBÍOBLA A DHÚNADH
Beannaigh mé, a Dhia,
agus an Bíobla seo a dhúnadh agam
go gcoinneoidh mé do Bhriathar
i mo chroí agus i m’intinn
faoi mar a rinne Íosa.
‘Whoever remains in me, and I in him, bears fruit in plenty, says the Lord, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘I give you a new commandment: love one another, as I have loved you, says the Lord, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
‘May your love be upon us O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.’ (Psalm 32:22)
Sr Anne Neylon