When this world gets a little funky, and it seems like there’s not much good in it, hang on! God promises that our King, Jesus, is coming to restore it and make it better. The world we live in now isn’t the whole story–there’s “all this and heaven, too.” And, when we live for God as it said in last week’s Epistle, the things of this world won’t make us weary.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he.
I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Romans 8:9, 11-13
The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
We just celebrated the birthday of our country–Independence Day. And, while we live in a wonderful place with freedoms that most people in the world can’t even imagine, our country isn’t perfect, and it’s not always cultivating peace. Sometimes, it can be in pretty bad shape. But, here’s some good news–we have a King, Jesus, whose reign goes way beyond just our country, and his justice will ultimately prevail, and will establish true peace. More good news is that, as citizens of a democracy, we have both the right and duty to make it better. Jesus calls us to be good citizens and to make life better for other wherever we are–that’s how we bring his Kingship even more into our world.
Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Romans continues to remind us that we don’t just live for this earth. YOLO is irrelevant to Christians. We do make the most of our lives here by living for God, but we know that the life that’s given to our bodies through Jesus takes us into the next life, too–with God in heaven.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel that when we really get to know him, and when we choose to live as reflections of his image, life here becomes a lot more easy. In the Creation story in Genesis, God gave humans a few jobs right away–to have dominion (like it says God does in the first reading) over the planet, and to take care of it. Work was part of what made Adam and Eve happy until they sinned. Then, it became a burden. Jesus tells us that when we allow him to guide us, and do the work that he gives us, the burden becomes very light. Our aggravation and exhaustion becomes joy instead.
What are some things that make you feel peaceful? How can you describe what peaceful feels like? If you don’t have words, try drawing a picture.
Have you ever seen animals used to plow, or to pull heavy objects? They have a yoke across their backs that’s kind of like a steering wheel–it tells them to go left or right when the farmer moves it a certain way. It’s usually made of heavy material to keep the animal focused on it. Jesus tells us that we should allow him to direct us, but his yoke is easy, and the burden his gives us to haul is light. His directions are gentle, and not forcible–we have free will about whether we’ll accept them. How do you see God directing you in your life? How much do you think God offers direction? Have you noticed a difference from when you listen to God’s direction then when you don’t?
What are some ways that you, as an adult, and your family can help to bring God’s peace in our country? What are some tasks that God gives to all of us that naturally make our country better and more peaceful? How can you help bring rest for the weary? Choose one to make a special effort to live out this week.
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.”