When people do nice things for us, we want to repay them. Even though God needs nothing from us, God does the same for us. Today we hear that when we live for God by taking care of others, we will receive a reward, too.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
“This time next year you will be fondling a baby son.”
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
We too might live in newness of life.
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Today’s readings have some great stories in them. First, we hear about the Prophet Elisha who’s taken in by a rich lady whenever he’s in town. She appreciates the good work that he’s doing on behalf of God, and wants to make sure that he has what he needs to keep on going. Wanting to pay her back for her kindness, he intercedes for her to God so that she and her husband can have a baby.
Paul’s letter to the Romans delivers a message that we heard just a couple of months ago at the Easter Vigil. It’s so important that we need to hear it a couple of times a year. It tells us that if we’re going to live for God, we have to avoid sin. They can’t go together. In our baptism we died to sin and rose up a new creation in Christ. The challenge for us is to choose to live that way every day. The Gospel acclamation recalls what we each became in our baptism, too, by reminding us that, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
In the Gospel, Jesus says that no thing, and no person can be more important to us than God. If we want to live properly, God is first in our lives. When we put God first, we treat all people properly–not just the ones we love. Jesus says that when we do that; when we treat people with kindness because of our love for God, we will be rewarded for it in some way.
Do you ever help people? If you do, how does it make them feel? How does it make you feel? Can you think of your good feelings like a reward?
Have you ever been kind to someone you didn’t like? If so, why did you do it? How did it make you feel? What do you think the world would be like if everyone treated people according to how God loves them rather than how we felt about them personally?
Have you ever received a (non-material) reward for doing a kind act? Tell the story–what was the sacrifice that you made, why was it a sacrifice, and why was the reward rewarding?
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.”