Children's Reading (A)
Doing God's Work
Opening Question: What can you do best? Describe how you do it.
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1,6-7
As a writer on the school newspaper, Tommy got many assignments, but this one was different. Tommy's teacher, Ms. Hamilton, wanted Tommy to write a personal advertisement in the classified section. In the fewest words possible, Tommy was to write what the job was about, how to do the job, and include why the job was important. He had to write the advertisement so people would want to volunteer. Here's what he wrote:
Wanted: Special people who take pride in our school. Work with others for only a short time during lunch twice a week to make our campus beautiful. See Ms. Hamilton for more information.
What job do you think Tommy was writing about?
The prophet Isaiah wrote a classified advertisement for Jesus. Isaiah said that God's servant would guide people like a light because he would give people sight and free them from prison. As Christians, we believe Jesus is God's Servant. For some people, Jesus would cure their eyes so they could see. For others, Jesus would open the eyes in their minds and help them understand God's ways. For some people, Jesus would freed them from illness; for others, Jesus would free them from bad habits that hurt them. Because Jesus can help us see and free us, we believe Jesus is God's Son.
Let us pray to Jesus so we can see and do God's ways.
Bridging Question: Have you ever finally understood how to do something? What was it? How did you feel when you understood?
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
Jesus left Galilee and went to see John in the Jordan River valley. Jesus wanted John to baptize him. John kept trying to talk Jesus out of it. "Why do you want me to baptize you?" John told Jesus. "I need to baptized by you!"
"Do it this way, now," Jesus answered. "This is what God really wants."
So John baptized Jesus. Afterwards, Jesus immediately came out of the water. The clouds parted. And he saw God's Spirit come down and rest on him like a dove. Then, a voice from heaven spoke, "This is the Son I love!" the voice said "I really like what he is doing!"
Gwen was a very intense young girl. She always worked hard, but she got easily frustrated. Many times people could hear Gwen scream and stamp her foot, not at another person, but at something she just didn't get.
Gwen loved softball most of all. She practiced hitting and fielding. And she got good at softball. But she wanted something more. She wanted to pitch. She pestered her father, her PE teacher and her coach to help her learn pitching skills.
In her backyard, her father set up pitching mound and target box. Everyday before dinner, Gwen practiced pitching. Overhand, underhand, and side-arm. When she missed, she would grunt and groan. When she got it, she would smile and whisper, "All right!"
As she improved, she wanted to learn to pitch a slider. "That's a very difficult pitch," her coach warned her. The coach knew he might as well be talking to a brick wall. Gwen wanted to learn the pitch, so he might as well teach her.
The next month was frustrating for everyone. Gwen worked hard, but just could get the mechanics of the pitch. Her coach kept trying to move her arm in just the right way, but to no good. When the day of the first game arrived, the coach announced Gwen would be playing center field. "Coach!" she said out loud, "I want to pitch."
"I know, Gwen," the coach responded, "but you can help the team the best fielding. You're very good at it."
In anger, Gwen stomped onto the field.
The game was tight. At the end of the fourth inning, the score was tied. Then, Gwen's team got in trouble. After two hits and a walk, the bases were loaded. The coach went out to talk to the pitcher. Then he turned a signaled for Gwen to approach the mound. Surprised, Gwen ran to the coach. "You wanted to pitch," the coach announced, "now you can." He tossed her the ball and walked back to the dugout.
The catcher called for a fast ball and Gwen delivered. Strike one. Another fastball. The pitch was fouled away. Strike two. The catcher then called for a slider. For a moment Gwen felt panic. She said a quick prayer and tried to remember what her coach told her. Then, she wound up and threw the ball. The ball left her hand like a fast ball and at the last moment, slid away just catching the edge of the plate. Strike three.
Gwen stood there with her mouth open. Then she jumped into the air. "I got it!" She shouted. Her coach agreed. "Yeah!" he shouted in return.
It just takes a moment to understand, to know what you need to do. Jesus had that moment, just like Gwen. At his baptism, he got it. His Father poured the Holy Spirit on him and he knew what he had to do. He had to share that Spirit with others. Now he had the power to help others follow God's will.
Have you ever had a time you understood others needed your help? What did you do? How did God help you at this moment?