Ss Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs.
‘The Lord is a great king: come, let us adore him.’ (Invitatory antiphon)
Parents/ guardians sometimes experience their children testing their patience, by being manipulative, demanding, nagging, confronting and putting them and their authority to the test. Some succeed in pushing their parents/guardians to the limit. This type of behaviour can happen in other relationships between people also, from time to time.
Today’s Gospel (Mark 12:13-17), may be heard proclaimed via webcam or read from the New Testament.
There is a confrontation between the Jews and the authorities. The Pharisees and the Herodians put Jesus to the test hoping to catch him out. They place him in an awkward situation by asking questions about whether taxes should be paid to the Romans. The enemies of Jesus are trying to start a fight with him. They want to show Jesus up in front of the crowd. So their tactic is to ask two loaded questions, ‘is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not? Should we pay them, or should we not? If Jesus says ‘yes’ he is observed as being on the side of the Romans. If Jesus says ‘no’ he could be accused of being insubordinate to them. Jesus doesn’t enter into a discussion but asks for a coin. In asking a question, he let them know they were putting him to the test. Jesus then asked, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered him. Jesus told them to pay. However, Jesus was more interested in telling them, ‘to give to God the things that are God’s.’ He was telling them to act with justice, integrity and honesty.
SEEK GOD IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
In the Grow in Love programme, the children will not read this Gospel (Mk 12:13-17,) but they will notice from time to time as Jesus relates with people, and in his ministry that he is put to the test. They will chat about Jesus’ answer to the crowd, ‘Give to God the things that are God’s.’ They chat about ‘what does belong/ does not belong to God in my life?’ In the ‘Our Father’ children pray, ‘Thy will be done’, ‘Lead us not into temptation’, and Deliver us from evil’. They chat about what this means in their personal life.
Children also reflect on times that they too have been tempted and put to the test to choose the right thing to do in life circumstances. They pray to choose God’s way of love. They recognise Jesus’ teaching on love and his witness to love.
In Sacred Scripture they read how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert and tempted by the devil (Mt 4:1-11). Jesus too felt weakness but he never gave into temptation. He made sacrifices by giving up his own will and trusted his Father. He invites his disciples to do the same. He will help them along the way of love. Jesus understands our weakness and the times when we fall. He is always ready to forgive and wants us to start anew by his grace.
Children reflect on the prayers they say and their personal communication with God. Sometimes we too, put God to the test by making demands or manipulating God. People recognise God as all powerful but they belittle God by saying, ‘why did God let this happen?’ That has been said in this time of Covid-19. Acting in this way, we are setting down conditions for our way of being a disciple. We want to control God; to play according to our rules.
Pope Benedict reminds us that when we do this we are ‘placing ourselves above God.’ Children are taught to recognise this attitude as they explore the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4-3:24). This is how the devil tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. The devil said, ‘Eat this apple, and you will be like God.’
In prayer, children learn at their appropriate level, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was true to himself right to the end of his life. He was single-minded in doing God’s will.
Building sound and healthy relationships are key to a person’s life. God desires that we grow in love with God, God’s people, ourselves and with the environment. This is life-long learning and God plants seeds in hearts that are open and free.
Resources are available on the VERITAS Grow in Love website to help children and families deepen their knowledge of Jesus and the call and challenges to discipleship.
SING: ‘Jesus Remember Me When You Come into Your Kingdom’, ‘O Lord hear my Prayer’, ‘The Summons’.
READ: ‘The Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4: 1-13).
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
ACT OF FAITH
O my God, I believe in you
and in all that your holy Church teaches
because you have said it
and your Word is true.
You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
Lord, I believe; increase my faith. Amen.
ACT OF HOPE
O my God, I put my hope in you
because I am sure of your promises.
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and
grant us peace in our day,
as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, Amen.
ACT OF LOVE
O my God,
I love you with all my heart,
with all my soul, and with all my strength.
Lord, increase our love.
Help us to love one another. Amen.
‘The Lord has raised up a mighty saviour for us, as he promised through the lips of his prophets.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘My spirit exalts in the Lord God, my Saviour.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.’ (Psalm 89:1).
‘ The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth… beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.’ ‘These problems are closely linked to a throwaway culture which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish.’(Laudato Si’, no. 21-2).
Ss Marcellinus and Peter, please pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon