Care for Others
Opening Question: Who takes care of you when you get scared? How do they care for you?
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
Noah had heard God's voice and obeyed. He built an Ark, a large boat, to put himself, his family, and a pair of all God's creatures into. Then God started heavy rain that grew into a great flood. Everything was lost, except the people and animals on the Ark.
Noah and his family must have been afraid. "When would the rain stop?" they must have thought. "When can we leave this crowded boat? God, when will you make this world right?"
Suddenly, the rain stopped. The ark landed. And the land began to dry out. When they got off the Ark, clouds began to gather. Both the people and the animals were afraid. Then God spoke to calm their fears:
God said to Noah and his sons:
I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.
The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let flood waters destroy all life. (CEV)
After God spoke, Noah looked up into the sky. "Look!" Noah exclaimed. "The rainbow!' Everyone relaxed. God showed to the people and the animals he would never have such a great flood again. God would take care of them, the same way he takes care of us.
Bridging Question: What are most kids afraid of? Scary movies? Being alone in the dark?
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
After John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, God's Spirit made Jesus go into the desert. For forty days, Jesus was tempted by the devil and lived in the desert among wild animals. And God's angels served him.
After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus went to Galilee where he preached the Good News of God. "The time is right for God's Kingdom to come!" Jesus proclaimed. "Turn back to God and believe the Good News!"
Jenny didn't like going to bed with her light off. Her parents tried to help her with her problem. They bought her a night light, a radio, and stuffed animals to get her the sense she was not alone. But her parents knew she had to get over her fear of the dark.
Her older brother, James, didn't help the situation with his teasing. James would jump out of the dark and yell "Boo!" to Jenny. He made up little games to scare his sister. He even had her so scared she didn't go out Trick-or-Treating one Halloween.
One night Jenny went to bed with the light off. Her parents had told her a story, said prayers with her, and tucked her in for the night. As she laid in bed, her door slowly opened and a shadow crossed her bed. Jenny closed her eyes as tight as she could in hopes the figure would go away. Suddenly, she could hear steps running closer to her bed. Jenny curled up. The figure grabbed her and shook her once. "Boo!" the figure whispered.
Jenny's heart pounded hard. She could feel her arms and legs turn warm from the flow of blood throughout her body. She listened for the next scare wondering if it would be her last. But, for a moment, all she heard was silence. Then the figure spoke, "It's just me, Jenny."
Jenny opened her eyes. "James!" Jenny exclaimed in a half whisper.
"Little sister, would you like to learn how I stopped being sacred of the dark?" James said in a serious tone.
Jenny began to relax. She knew her brother was in the room. But she also sensed he meant what he said. "How?" Jenny responded.
"Close your eyes. When you close your eyes, you see darkness, don't you?" James asked.
"Yes," Jenny said with her eyes closed.
"Are you afraid?" James added.
"No," Jenny said.
"Good. Now pretend the darkness of your eyes closed is your friend, like your stuffed animal." James said.
"Okay," Jenny said. With her eyes closed, Jenny began to relax. She began to believe the darkness was not her enemy. In fact, she faced her fear of darkness, and the fear went away.
Like Jenny, Jesus went into the desert so he could face fear. But he didn't face his fear, but our fears. What we fear the most: evil. Jesus was tempted by the devil and he won. When we look to Jesus, our fears will go away, too. Because Jesus won in the desert, we win, too! All we need to do is turn to him and believe.
Closing Question: What is the most evil thing you've ever experienced? How has God helped you to overcome that evil?