Helping Others Passes Love Along
Opening Question: Have you ever had to ask somebody to help you? Have you ever had to ask them over and over? What happened?
First Reading: Acts 6:1-7
At that time, the number of followers kept increasing. Soon, the followers who came from different parts of the Roman Empire had a complaint. They said local followers neglected to give their widows a fair share of the community's food and charity.
The Twelve Apostles called the community together so the matter could be discussed. "We don't like to stop preaching so we can concentrate on this problem," the Twelve said. "So, brothers and sisters, choose seven men from the community. They must have a good reputation. They must be wise and full of God's Spirit. We will give them the job of taking care of our poor. We will always pray and preach God's word."
The community was satisfied with the answer the Apostles gave. So the community chose seven men for the job. The first was Stephen; he was full of faith and God's Spirit. They also chose Phillip, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus. Nicolaus became a Jew and originally lived in Antioch.
The community had these men stand in front of the Apostles. The Twelve prayed then laid their hands on each man's head.
“Mom! I need help with my homework!” David shouted from his bedroom down the hall.
“Get your dad to help you! I’m busy with your baby brother!” his mom yelled in return.
“Dad! Mom wants you to help me with my homework!” David shouted down the hall toward the bedroom.
“I can’t right now, David! I’m in the middle of a project! You’re going to have to wait!” His dad shot back.
No one seemed to want to help David, so he turned on his radio and began to draw. Homework would come later.
But, later came real soon. When his parents put David to bed, his mother asked if he finished his homework. “No,” David answered, “no one would help me.” David’s mom and dad got upset with David and each other. After a few minutes of disagreement, everyone came to the conclusion that David needed help. The Question was “who?”
A few days later, a teen-aged girl showed up at the house asking for David. “Hi!” the teenager said to David, “I’m you tutor.” David wasn’t so sure of this arrangement, but he gave it a try. After an hour, David had finished his homework and he understood everything on the homework. It was great to get extra help!
Like David’s parents, the apostles didn’t have the time to help with a very important project. So they got help. They put their hands on seven men who would help I’ve food to the poor people. These people were called deacons. Do we have a deacon to help us in our parish? Who is he?
Bridging Question: Who do you look like in your family, your father or your mother? Explain.
Gospel: John 14:1-12
Jesus told his followers: “Don’t worry! Trust God. And trust me. There are many rooms where my Father lives. And, I’m going to prepare a place for you there. If this weren’t true, why would I tell you so? After I go and prepare your places, I’ll certainly come and take you back with me. Then, you and I will always be together. So, you know the way where I’m going.”
Thomas told Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going! How are we supposed to know the way?”
“I am the way to the Father, his truth, and his very life!” Jesus replied. “No one can come to the Father except through me. You’ve know me a while. Now you know and have seen the Father!”
Then, Phillip said, “Lord! Show us the Father. That will be enough for us.”
“I’ve been with you a long time,” Jesus replied. “And you haven’t got to know me, Phillip? The person who has really seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
Then Jesus told his followers: “These aren’t my words. The Father is in me, doing his work. Trust me! I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If you don’t believe that, then put your trust in the things I do. Listen! The person who trusts me will do things I do. He will do even greater things! Why? Because I’m going to the Father."
At Maria’s First Communion party, aunts and uncles gathered to congratulate her. “You were so pretty in you communion dress!” one aunt exclaimed. “You knew all the answers,” glowed another. “We’ve so proud of you,” one relative after another repeated.
Then, Maria’s cousin whispered, “They’re lied to you, Maria. My mom doubted you could do it!” Maria’s inner confidence crumbled. All the nice things people said seemed so distant. Didn’t anyone trust her?
Maria’s mom saw her pouting face, leaned over and asked how she felt. “Really bad,” Maria whispered. She told her mom what her cousin said.
“Maria,” her mom said with a loving smile, “you know the truth. You took the way of hard work and you succeeded. When Father asked your class about Jesus and the Eucharist, you raised your hand for every question. The eager expression on your face proved you knew the answers. And when you went up to receive Communion, you knew you were receiving Jesus. I saw the life in your eyes.”
Maria brighten up. Her mom was right.
Maria rejoined the party. This time, her aunts and uncles again made comments about Maria’s looks. “She looks like mom. After all, she has her mom’s eyes,” one uncle remarked. “And her mother’s nose,” an aunt added. “But she has her father’s mouth. Just not as loud!” another relative snickered. Everyone laughed at that.
Usually, remarks like that made her mad. But this time, Maria just smiled. And, one by one, she went around the room and hugged all her relatives.
“One thing’s for sure,” someone said, “she has her mother’s big heart.”
Through her hugs, Maria showed all her relatives her love, all the love her mother gave her. Someone could see her mom hugging everyone through Maria. Love does that. It’s passed along through people and presents, flowers and candy. Love works through people.
God’s love works like that, too. God the Father loves us through Jesus. When Jesus says, “the Father is in me and I am in the Father,” he’s talking about their love for each other. When Jesus says, “You see the Father,” he’s talking about the love God the Father shows us through Jesus. After all, Jesus is God’s gift to us! And, when Jesus says, “You will do the kind of things I do,” he’s talking about acts of love. As Jesus did kind things, we can do the same.
So, when we love others, we act like Jesus. And we show others God’s love for all people. Love works like that.
Closing Question: How can you pass love along to others?