God's Power and the Christian Life
Opening Question: How old are you? What do you like about being "x" years old?
First Reading: Romans 8:14-17
If the Spirit leads someone, that person is a child of God. You did not become slaves again when you received the Spirit. No, all of you were made children of God! Because of the Spirit, we cry out to God as "Father!" We and the Spirit agree that we are God's children. But if we are his children, we are also his heirs, along with his Son, Jesus Christ. If we suffer like Jesus in this life, God will give us glory like Jesus has in heaven.
At its best, being a child means being free. Free to run and play, free to give hugs to parents, free to be one's self with friends, Of course, there is homework to do and family fights to have and times away from friends. But the best times are the ones when we feel free.
In our first reading, St. Paul tells us that we are children of God. That means we are free to be close to God, so we can call him "Father." We are free to be ourselves, because that's the way God loves us. We don't have to earn God's love or his favor. We are so special to God the Father, he treats us like his own Son, Jesus. Like Jesus, we will live with God forever.
We know we can be free, we can be ourselves with God, because the Holy Spirit works in us. The Spirit is God living in us.
Bridging Question: How would you get people to join a club or team?
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven apostles went to a mountaintop in Galilee where Jesus told them to meet. When they saw him there, they worshiped Jesus, but they still wondered what was going on. After Jesus approached the apostles, he said:
"The Father gave me power over everything in heaven and on earth. Now, make people from every nation my followers:
Go to them.
Baptism them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Teach them to carefully hold onto every command I gave you.
Listen! I am always with you until the end of time."
Lydia had a big job. She led the new members committee which had the responsibility to get people to join her scout troop.
She and her committee came up with a few ideas. They would make fliers to advertise for the troop. They passed the fliers to all the classrooms at school and posted them at all the bulletin boards. That only got people's attention.
Next, Lydia and her committee would throw a party for people who were interested. After all their preparations and work, only eight people showed up. None of them signed up for the troop.
Lydia was frustrated. "How do I get others to join the troop?" she asked her mother.
"What is the troop doing to help you?" her mother responded.
"They put me in charge of recruitment," Lydia sighed.
"The troop has a committee for new members. You're in charge of that committee. But that doesn't make recruitment your responsibility alone," her mother said. "Everyone in the troop needs to help."
"How?" Lydia asked her mother.
"Well, you've got people's attention with your fliers and your party. Now you need to get people's interest," her mom said. "How many girls have invited a friend to troop meetings?"
"Not many," Lydia replied.
"Then, get the girls in the troop to go out to their friends and invite them to visit," her mother said.
Lydia got excited. At the next committee meeting, Lydia and the others began to think of reasons to join the troop and wrote a skit that showed the other girls why they should get involved.
The skit was fun. More important, it got the girls excited about the troop, what they were doing in the troop, and why other girls should join.
At the next meeting, a few girls brought some friends. The excitement of the girls rubbed off. More friends came the following meeting. Soon, there were enough new girls who wanted to join to have the initiation ceremony. They, too, wanted to be part of Lydia's troop, the most exciting troop at school.
Jesus gave his followers the same advice. Go to your friends. Tell them how excited you are to be a follower of Jesus. And invite them to join you. That's what his followers did. And the followers recruited more followers. The Church grew.
Do what Jesus told his followers to do. Invite your friends and their families to come to church. They are welcome any time.
Reflection Question: Who would you like to invite to go to Church with you? How would you invite them?