Pope Francis is a global leader engaging in conversations at the highest levels about including people who are poor in our economic life, about caring for Earth, and about the needs of families today.
Sharing God's Story: Mark 9.38-48
In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells his closest disciples that God’s love is not reserved to an “in” crowd. Rather, all human beings fit in the embrace of God’s love.
Jesus wants his followers to be ready to accept others, to work with them, to learn from them, and to appreciate the gifts they have to share. These are four important teachings with which to begin a new year.
Faith-Filled People: Abram
Abram was a good man who owned many sheep and cattle. He lived with his wife Sarai in the land of Haran. He had no children. One day, God came to Abram and He said to him, “Abram! I want you to pack up all your things and leave your home!
“I want you to go to the land I will give you. I promise that I will bless you, and make your family great. I will be with you in all you do, and because of you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
It meant that Abram would have to leave the place he knew and go to a place he didn't know. He would have to trust God that everything would be okay.
Abram took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They packed up everything they owned in the land of Haran and moved to the land of Canaan. Abram was 75 years old when God told him to pack up everything he owned and leave his home - and if you look at a map, Canaan is a long way away from Haran!
Many years later, Abram was resting in his tent after a hard day’s work. People lived in tents back in those days because they had to move from place to place to find food for their many sheep and cattle. It was a night like any other night... until God appeared. God said to Abram, “Do not be afraid! I am your defender! I promise that I will give you a great reward.” But Abram said, “What kind of reward? I don't even have any children!”
And then God took Abram out beneath the starry sky. “Look up at the stars in the sky,” God said. “You will have a son. He will have children, and his children will have children, and they will have more children, and one day they will be as many as the stars in the sky.” Abram said, "How can this be? I am old!" But God had made a promise to Abram.
God promised Abram that he would have children, and from him a great nation would come. God promised that they would live in the land that God had given them. And God promised that because of Abram all people on earth would be blessed. And God always keeps his promises.
Abram believed God's promise, and Abram's faith pleased God. It was Abram's faith in God and his promise that made things right between Abram and God. That is an important thing to remember!
Before God even started to make the world, he had a plan. His plan is for us to know how good he is, and how much he loves us, and that one day we will come to live with him forever in heaven.
This was the beginning of God’s plan.
Explore Being Catholic:
- The Bible is filled with stories about God’s life. Today the Bible is available in almost every language. It’s one of the most widely read and studied books in the world.
- Sacred Scripture is the collection of holy writings found in the Bible. God is the author. The Holy Spirit inspired the human writers of the Bible to write God’s Word for his people. The Church collected these holy writings of God’s people and placed them in the Bible.
- The Old Testament includes 46 books beginning with the story of Creation, Adam and Eve, and the Fall. God and his people, the Israelites, entered into a sacred agreement, or covenant, that God would be their one and only God.
- The New Testament includes 27 books. There are four written accounts of the Gospel named after four followers of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the Evangelists). About the year A.D. 50, the disciples of Jesus began writing about the very first days of the Church as followers shared their stories about Jesus and his life. These writings make up the New Testament, which was completed around the year A.D. 100.
Time With God:
Lights in the World
Signing our foreheads, lips, and chests over our hearts is a gesture showing our faith in God. This gesture helps us to prepare to listen closely to God’s Word.
Leader: Let us prepare ourselves to listen to God’s Word by signing our foreheads, lips and chests over our hearts with a small sign of the cross.
All: Jesus, be in my mind, my lips, and in my heart.
Reader 1: Let us listen to God’s Word. Read aloud Genesis 1:1-3.
All: God, at Creation you brought light to the darkness. May we bring your light to the world.
Reader 2: Read aloud Matthew 5:14-16
All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Leader: Listen quietly to God’s Word in your heart. How can we be God’s light for the world this week? Let us pray together.
All: Lord, may your light shine in our lives. Amen.
- Create and decorate a special place for the Bible in your home. Open the Bible to a favorite story. Ready the story and talk about it.
- Be on the lookout for family members practicing truthfulness during the week. Challenge each other to practice this virtue everyday.