God always comes to us, to meet us where we are, to give us his name: I AM, the very fullness of being.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
In this week’s readings, we see how beautifully God comes to meet us where we are.
In the first reading, God comes to Moses in the burning bush and introduces himself as “I AM.” The God of Israel is not just any God—their God is the fullness of being; the very definition of what it means to exist. As if to clarify, God also tells Moses that he is the also the God of their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Both connections are important for Moses and the Hebrews, who had apparently lost track of their relationship with God during their time in Egypt.
When we meet Jesus, we meet God on a totally different level. He, too, meets us where we are, and breaks open the meaning of everything that happened to God’s people before he came. The people at Jesus’ time believed that if something bad happened to someone, it was God punishing them. Jesus says that that’s not how it works. Jesus tells us that we all do things wrong and we all have to say we are sorry.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
God told Moses that he is the God of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” to help Moses and the Hebrew people understand how he was related to them. Who would Moses tell you God is—what family members or friends would Moses tell you God was friends with? (Who are the people who share stories about God with you?)
Think about what it means that God “IS.” If God is what it means to exist, as his name suggests, what does that say about reality? What does it say about what is real, what it means for you to exist, and what really matters about our existence?
When Jesus warns the people that they all need to repent, he (rhetorically) asks them if they think that the people who had disasters befall them were victims because they were evil. It can be tempting to think of whether we should help people because they “deserve it,” or withhold help because others “don’t.” Jesus evens the playing field by reminding us that we all sin. Do you ever catch yourself thinking that someone was suffering because they deserved it? What would Jesus have to say about that?
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.”