June 7: The Most Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:16–20)
—In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—
In today’s Gospel Jesus sends his disciples to baptize and to make disciples of all nations. Remind children that they became disciples of Jesus when they were baptized, using this ancient formula, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Although we can never understand God completely, the Trinity offers us one way to describe what we know about God.
June 14: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Mark 14:12–16, 22–26)
—The bread, the cup, and the cross—
The Gospel for Corpus Christi relates the events of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples before he suffered and died on the cross. Draw children’s attention to the central images of this Gospel — the bread, the cup and the cross. These images help us to see the gift of love that Jesus has given us.
June 21: The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 4:35–41)
—Even the seas obey him—
Summer storms come up quickly and can be frightening just as the disciples were frightened in the boat with Jesus when a terrible storm occurred on the Sea of Galilee. Assure children that Jesus wants to calm all our fears. Jesus shows that God reigns through him, for even the seas obey him.
June 28: The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 5:21–43)
—Jesus and the young girl—
In this story Jesus and a few disciples went to the home of a sick girl. Help children focus on the father’s concern for his sick daughter and his faith in Jesus. As in the storm of last week’s Gospel, Jesus calmed everyone, healed the young girl, and showed his human concern by saying, “Give her something to eat.” Again, God’s reign is clear in the works of Jesus.
July 5: The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 6:1-6)
—Jesus is not accepted—
At some time children will experience being rejected or left out. Jesus is rejected by people in his own hometown of Nazareth. He was amazed by their lack of faith, but he continued teaching and proclaiming God’s reign. Tell children that God is with them in both good and difficult times, and remind them that when they bless themselves, they accept Jesus and show faith and hope in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
July 12: The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 15 (Mark 6:7–13)
—Jesus sends the “Twelve”—
In today’s Gospel Jesus sends the twelve disciples to participate in his work. Help children to name the Twelve and encourage them to see themselves as disciples of Jesus. Here are the names of the apostles from the Gospel of Mark: “Simon (Jesus renamed him Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon (the Zealot), and Judas Iscariot who later betrayed him” (Mark 3:16–19). The apostles were ordinary men and most were fishermen. Remind the children that we do not need material supplies to spread the joy and mission of Jesus. We need only faith, hope, and love.
July 19: The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 6:30–34)
—A good shepherd—
The disciples return to tell Jesus of their activities and their teaching. He sees that they are tired and tells them to take a little vacation, but the crowds follow, preventing them from being alone. The disciples must have been disappointed, but they could see how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, put the needs of others first.
July 26: The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:1–15)
—The miracle of the loaves and fishes—
The story of feeding the multitude is filled with rich imagery and Johannine theology, as are the Gospels for the next four Sundays. Children may have difficulty understanding these texts. Consider using related themes, such as friendship with Jesus and that Jesus gave his life for his friends. John’s version of the story of the loaves and fishes is the only one that mentions a child bringing the loaves and fishes. Use this detail to explain how everyone, even a small child, is part of the mission of Jesus to feed the hungry.
August 2: The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:24–35)
—I am the Bread of Life—
At other times in John’s Gospel Jesus describes himself poetically, saying, “I am the good shepherd” and “I am the true vine.” Today he says, “I am the Bread of Life.” After Jesus fed the multitude of hungry people with bread and fish, he says of himself that he is spiritual food for our souls. Remind children that in the Eucharist Jesus gives himself to us as the Bread of Life. It is special language for special sacred food.
August 9: The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:41–51)
—I am the living bread—
As John’s Gospel continues so does the metaphor of bread. Remind children again of how Jesus fed the crowd and of our need today for the sacred bread promised by Jesus. Tell the children to pay special attention to the words of the priest in the great prayer of blessing. Draw their attention to the actions of the priest as he takes bread, praises God, and offers the bread to the assembly as the bread of life.
August 16: The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:51–58)
—The bread from heaven—
This Sunday provides another opportunity to foster in children a love for the Eucharist. Prepare your children for the celebration of Mass by reciting with them the “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Sing or recite the “Memorial Acclamation” after the institution narrative that your parish uses most often. Also sing or recite with them the “Lamb of God,” explaining it is the song we sing when the priest breaks the Bread of Life before Communion.
August 23: The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:60–69)
—You have the words of eternal life—
This Gospel ends the series from Chapter 6 of Saint John. The previous Sundays have provided opportunities to emphasize the sacramental presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Today children should hear that, by participating in the Eucharist, they become one with the Lord, who lives and will never die. They can repeat or memorize Peter’s beautiful profession of faith that ends this Gospel: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God’s holy one.”
August 30: The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23)
—What matters is inside a person—
Today we return to the readings from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus meets some religious leaders and tells them they are ignoring the true commandment of God. He quotes Isaiah’s prophecy, “This people honors me with lip service, but their heart is far from me.” Read the appropriate parts of this Gospel to your children. It is enough for children to know that that should both listen to the words of Jesus and hold in their his words of love for all people in their hearts.
Jack Miffleton is a teacher and musician. His songs are sung in classrooms and churches around the world. He is theological consultant and music director for the I Am Special program published by OSV Publications
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Offers assistance for adults who proclaim God's word to children from pre-school through grade six, with activities ranging from story-telling and singing to gesture, drama, group readings and art projects.