Last week we were offered something of an attitude assessment, or even an attitude adjustment. God has given us everything; as we the readings told us last week, we are truly blessed. God tells us, very clearly, that if we want to bring light and healing to our own lives, that we have to share our love for God with others. Sharing our love means caring for those who can’t care for themselves. Our own healing starts there.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech…then light shall rise for you in the darkness.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom.
Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Hungry, oppressed, homeless…these are words from today’s readings, but they are also words that are very much in the news right now. There is a division in our country about how we can create a balance between not neglecting the very poor, oppressed and homeless who need our help, and keeping our own country safe. These are difficult and important issues, and require prayer, discernment and care. We can get help in making sense of it all by paying attention to today’s readings.God tells us, through the Prophet Isaiah, that if we bring relief to the suffering, our own wounds will begin to be healed, we will receive light, and God will be there to help us.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that when he arrived in their community to teach them about God, he was not feeling very confident in his mission. He acknowledges that he had to rely on God entirely for the success of his mission–it wasn’t something that he had the strength or courage to do on his own. Trusting in God’s help and power made him open to receive the help that he needed.
Jesus, too, tries to bolster our courage to care for people in situations that scare us. He calls us “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” (a title we use to describe him!). In the time of Jesus, salt was used to preserve food, give flavor, clean and heal wounds. If we are salt, we help preserve people, bring the flavor of hope to the hopeless, and healing to those who are hurting. Jesus warns us not to lose our salty quality. Did you ever eat a low-salt potato chip? If you have, you’ll understand instantly what Jesus was talking about. (they are gross) If we are light, we shine truth and clarity on people who are surrounded by the darkness of doubt and fear. We’re not allowed to hide our saltiness or light–we need to let them be of use to God’s people.
If you had food and a friend of yours was hungry and didn’t have any food, what would you do? Why would you do it? How do you think it would make your friend feel? How do you think it would make Jesus feel?
What have you heard on the news about what’s going on in our government’s new administration? What do you think about the decisions being made? What do you think Jesus would say about them?
Same question as the teens.
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.”