Children's Readings (Cycle B)
What “WOW” experiences have you had this summer? Gone to a great movie? Gone on a fast roller coaster? What happened?
First Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-19
Peter was the leader of the apostles, the men Jesus sent out to teach everyone the Good News. Peter knew Jesus. He was one of Jesus’ first followers. He was one of Jesus’ closest friends. Peter let Jesus down, but Jesus forgave him and told him to take care of his followers. Peter saw a lot of things Jesus did. He had a lot of WOW experiences with the Lord. When Jesus healed people. When Jesus raised the dead to life.
In this letter Peter wrote, he points out one experience that stood out. On a very high mountain, he saw Jesus change before him. This is what he wrote.
When we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his return in glory, we didn’t have you chase after some clever story someone made up. We saw his glory in person. God the Great Father gave him honor when he told us, “This is my Son I love. I am very happy with what he is doing.” We heard that voice when we were with Jesus on the holy mountain.. We are also sure with the words the prophets spoke about Jesus. You should hold onto those words as if they were a lamp that light up dark. You should hold on to them until the day dawns and the morning star shines in your hearts.
Jesus was like a light in the darkness. A light to guide us. A light to show us the way. When we believe in him, we see the way he points out. We don’t see him now, but when we go to heaven, we will always see him the way Peter and his friends saw Jesus on that high mountain top. That will be an incredible WOW experience. One that will never end.
Bridging Question: What’s the biggest surprise you’re ever had? Why were you surprised?
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10
Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of a high mountain, so they could spend some time alone. There, Jesus changed before their eyes. His clothes became so shiny white that nothing on earth could bleach his clothes that white. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and they talked to Jesus.
Peter spoke up, “Teacher! I’m glad we’re here. Let’s pitch three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he didn’t really know what he was talking about because they were so afraid.
A cloud appeared that cast a shadow over them. And there was a voice from heaven. “This is the Son I love,” the voice said. “Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they saw only Jesus there with them. As they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one else what you just saw until the Son of Man rises from the dead.” They obeyed, but whispered to each other “What does ‘rise from the dead’ mean?”
Peter loved to have a “wow” feeling, that experience one just can’t believe. At the movies, he wanted to see great action scenes and great special effects. He couldn’t wait for the next video game to come out. And he constantly surfed the internet for amazing sites.
Peter felt “wow” from the images he saw and the stories he heard, but he never had that experience with others. He never turned to a friend and saw a look that told him: “Wow! You felt that, too?!”
One day, that all changed. Peter and two friends decided to walk to the top of a mountain. The path was difficult, but not impossible. As they walked, they took their time to watch the sunlight stream through the leaves, the changing plant life, and the animals that ran into the background as they approached. They joked and dashed around, played tag and hid from each other, as the path wove around the mountain. One hour passed by, then another. The boys got a little discouraged they had not reached the mountain top. Suddenly, the path cleared from the trees, and the peak was in sight.
Peter challenged his friends to run up to the top. “I’ll beat you up there.”
“No, you won’t!” the others said. And the race was on.
Between the final steep ascent and the thin air, the boys were out of breath when the reached the top. But that could not stop their amazement at the visa they saw. For a moment, they froze as they saw the valleys and the roads and the houses all in miniature. Peter then looked at his friends. They, too, had their mouths open. The look said it all, “WOW!”
Then the boys looked up. The white fluffy clouds they saw at the bottom of the mountain had gathered together and turned gray to black. They could feel the wind shift and the temperature drop. The rain droplets sprinkled, here and there. Then they saw the flash and heard the crack. If they didn’t move fast, they would be caught in the storm. They began to run, but each one stopped to take one last look. Lightening flashed over their heads and the thunder shook their bodies. Their exhilaration turned to fear. If they did not get off the mountain top, their lives could be danger! They didn’t have to say anything. They ran!
After running for twenty minutes, the boys stopped to get their breath. Doubled over, they strained to catch some air. Their hearts pounded and their stomachs turned. But, the adrenalin rush was unmistakable. “WOW!” Peter exclaimed between gasps for air. The other boys didn’t have to say anything. They just knew they would never forget the experience they just shared. They just knew.
Like Peter and his companions, three close friends of Jesus shared an experience on a mountain top. But it wasn’t the view or the storm they would never forget. It was Jesus. The man they thought they knew changed before them. He spoke with two important men from heaven. And, from a voice that cracked like thunder, they were told to hear his words, even if they didn’t understand them.
We have the advantage over Peter, James, and John. We know what the words “rise from the dead” mean. We know what will soon celebrate: the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let’s stick to our preparations this Lent. Let us pray we will say “WOW!” at Easter.
Closing Question: Imagine you were with Peter James and John at the top of the mountain. How could you have a “WOW!” experience, like the followers of Jesus? Could you be amazed and feel fear at the same time? Explain.