Children's Readings

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: Who is your best friend? Why is that person your best friend?

Gospel: John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his followers:

I still have a lot to say to you.
But you could not stand to hear
what I would say
right now.
When the Spirit comes,
he will show you the entire truth.
He will not speak just for himself.
No, he will tell you everything he hears from God.
And he will tell you what is coming.
The Spirit honors me,
because he will receive my words
and will declare them to you.
Everything the Father has is mine.
That's why I told you,
'The Spirit will receive my words
and will declare them to you.'

While Tony knew a lot of people, he had very few friends. After all, a good friend had to be honest all the time. An honest friend could be trusted. And a trusted friend could give real support. Such a friend was Roberta.

People teased Tony and Roberta for being good friends. "Are you two going to get married?" one kid at school baited them. "Tony and Roberta sitting in a tree, K I S S I N G..," another kid sang to a burst of laughter. "Hey, Roberta, where's Tony's ring?" shouted out a third. But all that didn't matter to either of them. Tony could depend on Roberta to tell him straight and to be there when he needed her.

Just before school ended for the year, Tony tried out for a summer soccer team. He knew the coach was demanding and he heard the coach was honest. During the first week of workouts, Tony worked hard and focused on the skills the coach stressed. But, in the first game of the summer, Tony just sat on the bench. Everyone else played but Tony.

After the game, Tony called Roberta to complain. "Hey, Roberta," Tony said. "The coach didn't play me. I just don't get it. I'm better than a lot of the players on the team. And I've worked hard the past two weeks."

"Didn't the coach say anything to you during the practices?" Roberta asked.

"Yeah. But he talked to us in a group," Tony replied. "Come to think of it, he never called me by name or talked right at me."

"Who did he talk to?" Roberta asked again.

"Curt, James . . . " Tony counted off, then stopped as he understood. "Those kids were on the winter All-Star team. I bet he coached that team, too." Tony stopped again. There was silence on the phone as his heart sank. The coach had his favorites. And that wasn't fair to the rest of the team.

Roberta was a good friend to Tony. She not only told him the truth, she helped him see the truth even when it hurt. And she was there to support him through the hurt. Roberta was the best friend Tony could ever have at that moment.

Like Roberta, the Spirit helps us to see what is true, what is really important. The Spirit helps us see Jesus. And, in Jesus, the Spirit helps us see God the Father. The Spirit is our best friend because he supports us, even when we feel down. He's our best friend because he helps us be honest and trustworthy for others.

Pray to the Spirit. And be a good friend to others.

Closing Question: How can you be a good friend this week? How can you support your friends in prayer?