Live as Children of Light

03-26-2017Weekly Reflections

The second encounter from John’s Gospel this Lent is with a man born blind. As with the Samaritan woman last week, we too are invited to know Jesus in an intimate way, this time as bestowing the sight to recognize him as the One sent by God. Our first reading foreshadows today’s Gospel by presenting the experience of the prophet Samuel, who comes to “see” David, the youngest son of Jesse, as the one God has chosen to replace King Saul, rather than the eldest son, Eliab, whom Samuel assumed would be God’s choice. Eliab, like Saul, is tall. “Don’t judge by appearances,” God chides. In the Gospel, we see once again a person’s gradual coming into the light that is Jesus, finally recognizing him as more than a prophet, as the Son of Man who is the Lord. For those of us who are baptized, seeing goes even further than recognizing Jesus as the Light of the world. As Ephesians proclaims, we who “were once darkness…

now...are light in the Lord” (5:8) and should lead lives of goodness, righteousness, and truth.

Are you a child of the light?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Fourth Sunday of Lent:Source of light

03-26-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a (Samuel anoints David)
Reading II: Ephesians 5:8-14 (duty to live in the light)
Gospel: John 9:1-41 (the man born blind)
Key Passage: For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as Children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. (Ephesians 5:8–9)

Adult: What are you doing in your life right now to move toward light rather than darkness?
Child: How can you let the light of your faith in Jesus shine for others to see?

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Third Sunday of Lent: Source of strength

03-19-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Exodus 17:3-7 (water from the rock)
Reading II: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 (faith, hope, and love)
Gospel: John 4:5-42 (the Samaritan woman at the well)
Key Passage: Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." (John 4:13–14)

Adult: Where have you found a source of "living water" for your own journey of faith?
Child: Name some times when your belief in Jesus helped make you stronger.

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Jesus brings us to the Well of Salvation

03-19-2017Weekly Reflections

In calling us to return to the Lord with all our heart, our readings put before us in the coming weeks three personal encounters with Jesus. In each one, Jesus reveals who he is and the impact he continues to have on the lives of those who open their hearts to him. Today we reflect on Jesus as the one who satisfies our thirst for God. He is the living water God has sent, just as God provided water for Israel in the desert by having Moses strike a rock. In the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus confronts a hardened heart, and by his loving care and concern for her, leads her to drink from the well of salvation. We see her gradual transformations from a person suspicious of a stranger to one who brings her fellow villagers to him, resulting in their recognition of Jesus as “truly the savior of the world” (John 4:42). Paul reminds us today that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit at the waters of Baptism.

How do you bring others to Jesus by witnessing to your faith in him?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Second Sunday of Lent: Call to faithfulness

03-12-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Genesis 12:1-4 (call of Abraham)
Reading II: 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 (exhortation to faithfulness)
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9 (Jesus transfigured)
Key Passage: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. (Matthew 17:1–2)

Adult: How has your faith in Jesus transformed you? What difference does your faith in Jesus Christ make in your life?
Child: How has the example of Jesus helped you become a better person and a better Christian?

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Do Not Be Afraid

03-12-2017Weekly Reflections

The Second Sunday of Lent takes us in a different direction than last week, both geographically and spiritually. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray. Arriving there, they—and we—get a glimpse of the glory that Jesus set aside when becoming one of us. More importantly, they—and we—hear God speak to us about who Jesus is and who we are to be. Jesus is the Beloved Son who lives in intimate relationship with the Father; we must listen to him. This glimpse of glory encourages us as we enter more deeply into the season of Lent, a time to turn toward God, to open our hearts, so that God can enter our lives more completely and make us more fully a people of the covenant that began when God called on Abram to leave e everything. Because he trusted in God's promises, Abram became the father of a great nation. We are to trust in the promises God makes to us through Jesus by listening and obeying his words, thereby becoming beloved sons and daughters.

"Do not be afraid," Jesus tells us. Are you?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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First Sunday of Lent: Overcoming temptation

03-05-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7 (the fall of humankind)
Reading II: Romans 5:12-19 (humanity's sin through Adam)
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11 (the temptation of Jesus)
Key Passage: Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)

Adult: What helpful advice could you offer someone faced with a temptation?
Child: What helps you do the right thing when you want to do something wrong?

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The Choice is Basic, Follow God's Will or Our Own

03-05-2017Weekly Reflections

Saint Paul quotes a hymn in his letter to the Philippians: "Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave" (2:6-7). This hymn presents a truth: If Jesus chose to be a slave, then we must be willing to serve. Serving involves self-emptying, which is played out in the story of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert and throughout his ministry. In contrast with Adam and Eve, Jesus chose to serve God and not to use his power, whether to feed himself (stones into bread), to test God (throw himself off the Temple), or to submit to anyone other than God. Because of his obedience to the will of the Father, Jesus won salvation for all who believe in him and follow him in service. Temptations came for Jesus and come for all who follow him. The basic choice concerns seeking God's will or our own.

How are you being tested at this time of your life? Do you turn to God's word for strength?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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