Children's Readings

Sharing Your Time

Opening Question: Does anyone you know take work with them on vacation? Do you have to do chores even on vacation? How does that cut into your fun time?

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

Danny's family traveled by car to their favorite vacation spot. After winding up the road to the mountain top, they traveled in a high valley. The green grass covered the slopes for miles. Danny watched as the signs flashed by.

Suddenly, a flock of sheep caught Danny's eye. "Look, Dad!" Danny said as he pointed to the flock.

"Look closer, Danny," his dad replied. "Did you see the sheep dogs and the four wheel drive truck?"

"Yeah...there's a trailer," Danny said. "Is that where the shepherds live?"

"It must be," his dad guessed. "Danny, did you know many young people get a college degree to become shepherds?"

"Why?" Danny asked.

"To be good shepherds," his father replied. "They study the biology, zoology, and meteorology. They want to know how to take care of sheep, about the land they graze, and about the weather of the mountains. Could you imagine what would happen if they didn't know these things?"

"They would be bad shepherds," Danny said. "The sheep would wander off, starve, or be killed by wolves."

"So, think about what you saw. What is the most important thing about being a shepherd?" Danny's dad asked. "Is it dogs, or trucks or a college education?"

"None of those," Danny said proudly. "Love is the most important thing. You've got to love the sheep. Why else would anyone train dogs, live in the mountains, or get a college education?"

Jeremiah made the same point as Danny. He criticized the shepherds of Israel, the kings who more interested in getting rich and ordering people around than caring for the people. So, God said he would give the people a new shepherd to care for the people. His name is Jesus.

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

Reader 1:

When they returned from their travels, the apostles met with Jesus and told him everything they did and said.

Reader 2:

"Come alone to a quiet place," Jesus replied. "You can rest there a while."

Reader 1:

So many people were coming and going, Jesus and his apostles didn't even have a chance to eat. So they left alone by boat for their quiet place.

Reader 2:

But many people recognized them and saw them leave. From the local towns, these people ran ahead and arrived before the boat landed.

Reader 1:

When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the huge crowd. He felt sorry for the people, for they looked lost, like sheep without a shepherd. So, Jesus began to teach them many things.

Vivi was grumpy! "You promised us a vacation, Mommie! A real vacation!" Vivi yelled. They were at the beach, far away from home. But Vivi felt just as ignored as when she was at home. Her mother sat underneath the beach umbrella typing away on her laptop computer. Her mother mumbled something to herself about work when the cell phone rang.

"Yes, Mr. Hayes," her mother said "I'll take care of it." Her mother put away the phone then turned to Vivi. "What did you say, dear?" her mother asked.

Vivi stood red-faced in anger. One look told her mother she was in trouble. Most times mothers scold their children. This time it was her mother's turn to be scolded.

Vivi's mother looked at her daughter, sighed, and closed her laptop. "I haven't paid much attention to you today, have I?" her mother said.

"You've been working, Mom!" Vivi said like an angry parent. "Vacation is a time to play!"

"Why aren't you playing?" her mom replied, thinking she could change the subject.

"Mom! Vacation is time for us to play together!" Vivi said. She was not going to let her mother change the subject.

"Come on," her mother said as she stood up and dusted the sand off her laptop. "Let's go for a swim."

The water cooled Vivi off. For a while, she and her mother had fun splashing in the water and swimming in the surf.

That evening at dinner, Vivi's mother started to talk about work. "Vivi," her mother said, "I know I promised you a real vacation, but I have to do some work. Can we cooperate on this so I can get my work done and we can have some fun?"

"Is work that important, Mom?" Vivi asked.

"Yes, this work is," her mother replied in a quiet but serious tone.

"Okay, mom," Vivi said.

So, Vivi and mother planned the rest of the vacation, some time for work, some time for play, some time for rest. Viv's mother put off as much work as she could. The time her mother had to work, Vivi got busy with reading or playing on her Game Boy. In the end, it wasn't a perfect vacation, but it was a good vacation.

Jesus invited his followers to spend some time away, like vacation. But their work, the needs of people, would not allow them to rest. Like the apostles, sometimes work follows us no matter where we go. We can even have chores on our vacation. But, as long as we work together, like Jesus and his followers, we will enjoy the time we have together with family and friends.

Reflection Question: How can you help your family and friends on vacation? How do they help you? How can you work together help you have a good vacation?