Do you ever feel like you’re not really sure what’s going on around you? Well, you’re in good company this week! Abram, Sarai, Peter, James and John are all in the same boat! The good news is that we don’t always need to know the whole story to play our part in it.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Abram went as the LORD directed him.
Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Abram and Sarai barely knew God when God asked them to follow him. They were elderly, unable to have children, and had just been introduced to God. God told them the he would make a great nation out of them, and for them to go where God told them. And, without question, they did it. Abram and Sarai’s faith is inspiring–they didn’t know how God could possibly keep his promise, or what it was going to be like for them, but they believed and put their trust in God.
When Paul writes to Timothy, he tells him that he is going to have some hardship for the Gospel. He also tells him that it’s God’s grace that moves us along, not that we have to carry the whole thing by ourselves. Jesus carried the cross for us, and helps us to carry ours, all the way to heaven.
When Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountain, they had no idea what they were going to see. When they saw Jesus dazzling white, and Moses and Elijah standing there, they didn’t know what to make of it! The icing on the cake was hearing God’s voice booming down telling them all that Jesus is his “beloved son with whom I am well pleased, listen to him.” They knew that what was happening was good, but they didn’t know how to act, or what it meant. They fell to the ground, afraid. Jesus put them back on their feet and told them not to be afraid. Then, he told them not to do anything about it. They just needed to wait. When the event finally made sense (which wouldn’t be until Jesus rose from the dead), then they would have a job to do. We don’t always have to understand every situation perfectly, but God doesn’t want us to be afraid no matter what happens. We know that, when the time is right, everything will make sense.
Can you think of a time when you were very confused about what was happening in your life? Were you scared when you didn’t understand? Who helped you to understand it?
When the Apostles experienced the Transfiguration, there were a lot of clues about what was happening: Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets, and they were there to honor Jesus who fulfilled them both. The mountain, the voice, and Jesus’ dazzling appearance represented God’s Presence. But, the Apostles couldn’t understand the significance until Jesus died and rose from the dead. Can you think of a time when you couldn’t see the whole picture in a situation you were in? When you looked back, were there clues about what was happening? Looking back, what was meaningful about the situation? What did you learn, and what impact did it have on your life?
What has “bearing your share of hardship for the gospel” meant for you in your life? What meaning did that hardship wind up having for you? How has it shaped your view of life and your choices?
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.”