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God’s Extravagant Love | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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The readings for this Sunday, Sept. 24, come on the heals of God’s reminder of how forgiving we should be. God’s generous, extravagant love invites us to participate in a more generous love ourselves.

 

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

 

The readings for this Sunday, Sept. 24, continue to build on the theme of God’s mercy and forgiveness–through that mercy comes abundant generosity. God’s love for us is self-giving; always reaching out and drawing us in as pure gift. We can’t earn what God offers, we can only accept it in humility and gratitude.

Readings

Isaiah 55:6-9
Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.

 

Psalm 145
The Lord is near to all who call upon him.

 

Philippians 1:20C-24, 27A
Brothers and sisters: Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

 

Matthew 20:1-16a
“Are you envious because I am generous?”

 

You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for September 24, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Animated Scripture preview for kids at CathKids

 

Reflection

We are made in God’s image and likeness, and should always try and imitate God’s actions, as we heard in last week’s Gospel. However, we have a sense of justice that doesn’t quite fit with the way God sees justice. Our sense tells us that things should be fair. God doesn’t see it that way. Fair isn’t in God’s vocabulary. In fact, God tells us that, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.” If God was fair; meaning that everybody got what they deserved, we’d all be in trouble. But, because God loves us so much, we’re given far more than we deserve–and so are the people that we don’t necessarily like.
The parable that Jesus tells us this week, like last week, asks us some questions: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” Just as I can never pay God back for what I’ve been given and need to treat people with the same forgiveness that I’ve received, I can’t be annoyed with God when God is generous with someone who isn’t me. I need to be happy for someone who experiences God’s mercy, even if I don’t think they deserve it. God makes a point that if I live my whole life as a good Christian, I will have chosen heaven with my actions. If someone else doesn’t live his whole life as a good Christian, but at some point–even if it’s very late in life–chooses a relationship with Christ, he will also receive heaven. The only response I’m entitled to in this case is joy.

 

 

Kids

Are you happy for people when they receive gifts and you don’t? Are you able to be happy for a friend or brother or sister when they receive something that you wanted?

 

Teens

Can you think of a situation where you’re glad things aren’t “fair”? Are there circumstances that you can think of where it’s good, and where justice is served, that someone is given more than another (it could be more time, more resources, more attention)? What’s the difference between being “fair” and being “just”?

 

Adults

Parents know that each child is different and has different needs. Discuss some instances when you’ve had to treat your children differently that each other because of the needs of each.

Or, if you want to go a different way (or don’t have multiple children), think of a time that you experienced God’s extravagant love. What did you receive? What did it mean to you? Can you think of a time when you were given an advantage, or a gift that you needed that someone else close to you didn’t get? Or a time that someone else got something that you didn’t, and why you were okay with it?

Related: How to Preview the Sunday Scriptures with Your Kids

 

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

 

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

 

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

 

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Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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