Opening Question: What is the best thing to say or do to someone who feels down?
First Reading: Acts 14:21, 43-47
After Paul and Barnabas went through the city of Perga, they arrived at Antioch, near the area of Pisidia. They entered the synagogue at Antioch on the Sabbath and sat down.
After the synagogue service was over, many Jews and converts followed Paul and Barnabas. "Brothers and sisters," both of them said, "we urge stay close to God's grace."
A week later, almost everyone in the city came to hear God's word. When the synagogue leaders saw the crowd, they became jealous and argued with Paul. They even insulted him and his message. Then, Paul and Barnabas spoke boldly, "God's word needed to be told to you first. But you rejected it. In doing so, you showed that you are not worthy of eternal life. So, we'll go tell the Gentiles. After all, God gave us a command, 'I send you to be like a light to the Gentiles. I will use you to bring salvation to everyone in the farthest parts of the world.'"
When the Gentiles heard this, they shouted with joy, "Praise God for his word!" God chose those who believed that day for eternal life. God's word quickly spread throughout the area. But the leaders stirred up the rich women in the synagogue and the city's leaders. All three groups persecuted Paul and Barnabas and had them thrown out of the area. Both men shook the dust from their sandals in protest and went on into Iconium. All the followers were filled with joy and God's Spirit.
Mary and Kim were runners on a track team. Both girls ran in the 2 mile race. Kim was one of the best runners in the area, while Mary had potential. In almost every race, Kim won, but, complaining of sickness, Mary ran slower and slower. Mary felt down about her running ability.
At one race, Kim asked Mary what sort of time she would like to run. "Thirteen minutes," Mary responded. Kim looked at her watch as the race started. But, instead of running her 12 minute two mile race, Kim raced just a little ahead of Mary, turned to her, and challenged her to keep up. For eight laps, Kim kept focusing on Mary, timing her, and encouraging her. "Come on Mary," Kim cheered Mary with a smile.
At the end of the race, Kim slowed down just enough to let Mary win the race. Mary ran her race in 13:24, much better than she ran before. Mary's friends came up to her and congratulated her on her win and her time. When Mary caught her breathe, she turned to Kim and smiled. "Thanks," Mary said to Kim.
Kim lost a race she could have easily won for the good of another person and the good of the team. She lost the race so she could encourage another person to win. Paul and Barnabas gave up a lot to travel and encourage new Christians in their faith. Like Kim, Paul and Barnabas thought more of others and their new relationship with Jesus than themselves. Like Kim, they helped others by being with them and talking to them.
Sometimes we can help others just by being with them and speaking words of encouragement to them.
Bridging Question: How do you plan to celebrate Mother's Day? Why do you celebrate Mother's Day? How much does you mom love you?
Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
After Judas left the Passover meal, Jesus told his followers:
Now the Son of Man received glory.
And God received glory in him.
If God received glory in the Son,
God will give glory to the Son in himself.
And God will give that glory now!
My friends, I AM with you only a little longer.
So, I give you a new command: love each other.
As I loved you, so you must show love to each other.
If you love each other in this way,
everyone will know you are my followers!
Margaret's family wanted to plan a special Mother's Day for their mom. She volunteered to get photographs of her mom and make a collage poster. As Margaret arranged the photos on the poster, she began to realize how much her mother did for her family. She had a job at the school. She made dinner every night and cleaned the house. She always volunteered to be the team mom for all the children's sports. She did the family bills and much of the gardening in the yard. And she drove the children everywhere. Her mom was busy!
But Margaret realized something else. No matter how busy her mom was, she always had time for others. In every one of the pictures, her mom was smiling, joking, or hugging. Not only was her mom happy. She passed her happiness along to others.
As Margaret finished the poster, she pasted on the letters "Mom is love." For Margaret, those words said it all.
Sometimes being a mom is not easy. When our moms gave birth to us they hurt and when we disobey or disappoint our moms they still hurt. But I bet our moms wouldn't trade us for anything. Moms are like that. They just keep on loving us.
What would happen if we loved each other the way our moms love us. No, we wouldn't have to kiss and hug each other all the time. But when we got hurt, we could go to each other and get TLC, Tender Loving Care. We would encourage each other a lot more. We would help each other with our homework, with our hobbies, and projects. We would root for each other at games. We would make sure we helped each other to get where we needed to go on time. We would all be friends, companions, and guides.
In today's gospel, Jesus wants us to love each other like our mom's love us, with encouragement, a helping hand, and TLC. Since today is Mother's Day, let us not only honor our moms but imitate them. Let us treat each other the way our moms treat us.
Do something small for your mom or grandma today. And tell them you love them.
Closing Question: How can you help your mother or grandmother this Mother's Day?