Can you identify with Jesus in this wonderful story from Luke's Gospel? Jesus at the age of twelve is on the verge of becoming a man in the Jewish society of his day. He and his parents have traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. After the departure of Mary and Joseph, Jesus remains behind in the Temple. There he amazes the religious teachers with his wisdom and intelligence.
When Jesus' parents discover him missing, they are upset. Jesus explains the importance of putting God first in our lives. When we do this, everything else in life will fall into place.
Discussion Questions for Gospel
- What do we learn about Jesus in this story?
- How can you put God first in your life?
- Jesus understood his relationship with God. It enabled him to grow "in wisdom and age and grace." How do you think following Jesus' advice will help you in your family life?
Faith-Filled People: Stephen, the first martyr
What would you do if someone came up to you and said, “Only stupid people believe in Jesus”? Would you be quiet or would you tell them that you believe in Jesus. What if they laughed at you? The book of Acts tells us about a man named Stephen who said he believed in Jesus even when people said they would hurt him if he did.
Stephen preached to people about Jesus and God. Some of the Jews got very angry because they did not want Jewish people to listen to Stephen and become followers of Jesus. The Jews got so angry at Stephen that they told lies about him and had him taken before the Jewish court (Sanhedrin). Peter preached a sermon telling about how God wanted the Jews to follow Jesus. Some of the Jews became so angry at Stephen that they threw stones at him until he died.
A martyr is a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs. Stephen is remembered as the first Christian martyr because he is the first person mentioned in the Bible who died because of his belief in Jesus Christ. Stephen is an amazing example of someone who stood up for what they believed in even when it meant they would suffer. He reminds us to pray for people who don't like us and for people around the world who are being treated bad because of their faith. Jesus will give us strength (1 Corinthians 1:8).
Did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas are the days from December 25 to January 6th? Yes, as Catholics we have an entire season of Christmas that extends until the celebration of the Baptism of Christ which falls on January 11, 2016. The Advent season is the four weeks before Christmas day and is a time of waiting for the birth of Jesus. Beginning on Christmas Day, Advent is over and the Christmas season begins and is a time of celebration of the child Jesus who came to save us from our sins.
January 1st is not only New Year's Day. On the same day, the Church honors Mary with the title "Mother of God." Way back in the year 431, people had questions about Mary's part in God's plan. They finally said that because Mary is the mother of Jesus and Jesus is God that Mary can also be called the mother of God.
Do you know any prayers to Mary that call her the Mother of God? That's right! It is in the "Hail Mary" prayer that can be prayed by itself but is usually prayed on Rosary beads. Say it a few times and pay close attention when you call Mary the Mother of God.
The Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on the octave of Christmas. Octave means eight, and January 1st is day number eight of the Christmas season. Solemnity is the most important of the Church's celebrations, above feasts and memorials.
Celebrate the Christmas season by using the calendar below which has suggestions for each day.