A weekly series featuring Kim Scott at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach, California. Archives of the previous reflections
- witness for the light
- baptise with water
- pray constantly
SOURCES: Catholic Diocese of Auckland
the way of the Lord”
Another way to say this would be “Clear the path to the Lord”. If your room was messy-toys and books and clothes all over the floor-wouldn’t it be harder for someone to get in the room. How could you get to your bed to go to sleep? You’d have to push stuff out of the way or you might trip and fall. It wouldn’t be easy. But when your room is clean, you can walk straight to the bed without a problem.
When the path is clear you can get to where you want easily. When our hearts are full of love and kindness we can easily follow the way to Jesus. If we let our hearts befilled with anger and hate, we can’t see Jesus. We want to keep our hearts clear and our eyes toward the light of Jesus.
SOURCE: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Southbury, CT
A new day is almost upon us
The readings today speak of being sent, of being full of the spirit of God, of responding to that spirit with action and joyful hearts. The psalm speaks of God as having done great things for us. It speaks of a merciful God who redresses the imbalance between rich and poor, advantaged and disadvantaged, the mighty and the lowly.
The reading from Isaiah tells us how we are to respond to the coming of God into our lives. It is like a song of joy, a hymn of rejoicing. We have been called by our baptism and we in turn are to give the good news of God’s message to whomever we meet. We are to respond with joy. In our liturgy we sing of our thanks and praise as we stand redeemed by Jesus Christ we pray with, through and in him before God who has enabled this to happen. We are full to overflowing with hope.
The single pink candle of Advent, in some places alight today reminds us like the pink of the sky before sunrise that a new day is almost upon us. The waiting that is this Advent time reminds us that we are but awaiting the day when in time Jesus will come again in glory.
You might ask the children to agree to live for one day after the example of John the Baptist. Perhaps by fasting or being a sign for others of the coming of Christ or by dressing simply without ornament or bright colour. By acting to others as John was to act to Jesus, as a servant. By, for one day at least,preparing for Christ’s coming in a special and appropriate way.
SOURCE: Catholic Diocese of Auckland; Accompanying cartoon from The Cartoon Gospel, Used with permission.
DISCLAIMER: Some videos are from non-Catholic sources. Therefore, be sure to preview before showing to your children.
DISCLAIMER: Some videos are from non-Catholic sources. Therefore, be sure to preview before showing to your children.
Children’s Handouts PDF’s
MINISTRY TO CHILDREN (8:01): Prepared by Kristin Schmidt, who serves at the Epiphany Lutheran Church in Castle Rock, CO.
Jesus is the Light of the World
These crafts remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, and we want to direct others to Him! The seasonal crafts focus on Christmas-themed elements, particularly Christmas lights and candles. A few variations are given to allow flexibility and offer multiple types of similar creations.
Mosaic of the Christmas story
Tell others about Jesus this week by making a Christmas decoration for the front door of your home. Suggestions: Use last year’s Christmas cards to make a mosaic of the Christmas story. Create silhouettes of the nativity scene from construction paper.
Choose a way to help people feel Jesus’ loving presence this week: adopt a family, visit a local care center, or welcome someone living alone to your home for dinner.
Continue lighting the Advent wreath each day during your family prayer time. Light three candles on the wreath (the pink one for this week) and pray the following prayer: We are joyful today because your birthday, Jesus, is very near. We look forward to celebrating your birth. This week we pray for courage to help share our love with others. Fill us with joy as we wait for your coming. Amen.
Discuss these questions: How can people tell we are a Christian family? What has happened in this present Season of Advent that gives us reason for rejoicing and thanksgiving?
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor
A witness to the light
OBJECT: a mirror
THEME/MAIN IDEA: John testified that he was not the light, but only a “witness”or testimony to the light—Jesus Christ—and his job was to reflect that light so others would be drawn to Jesus and ready to receive him. Similarly, a mirror “uses”light to testify to whatever is reflected on its surface. Like a mirror, we can reflect Jesus’ light to others this season, just as John did.
“Today, let’s pretend today, as we start, that is it totally dark in here…would you be able to see anything?[children respond] Well, assuming that we had no source of light, you are right…we would not be able to see anything at all. But, I don’t really like the dark all that much. I like being able to see things in that are in the room with me. I like being able to see you and all your happy faces this morning! Now, you are probably wondering what I brought in my box (bag, or whatever you have been using to ‘hide’ your item until it’s time) this morning. Any guesses? — click link below to READ MORE —>
SOURCE: Intermountain Ministry, Restoring Hope for Children
John testifies that he is preparing for the coming of another
Reflection Questions for Grades 1-3, 4-6, and 7-8 which help connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.
SOURCE: Loyola Press
What Did You Hear?
Diocese of Auckland provides the following starter questions for children to stimulate discussion about Sunday’s Gospel.
⚪ Who did the priests think that John might be? At first they thought that this extraordinary man might be the Messiah, the saviour promised by God. Then they wondered whether John was Elijah or another prophet.
⚪ John helped the crowds prepare a way for the Lord by explaining that true happiness comes from pleasing God and leading lives filled with goodness. By being sorry for the mistakes they had made and the wrongs they had done, and by changing their lives, they could make a fresh start on the way to God.
⚪ When people asked for God’s forgiveness and made up their minds to live as God wanted them to, John would baptize them in the river. As they came up out of the water, it was as though a new life was just beginning for them.
⚪ Most people today are baptized as babies rather than as adults, but water is still used at baptism. All life needs water, and the water used at baptism reminds us that we are now welcomed into the family of God and share in new and everlasting life.
⚪ What sort of things has God done for us? Given us families and people to care for us. Given us the Church to guide our lives to Everlasting life. How are we to react to the things God has done for us in our lives? We say thank you to God by respecting what has been given to us and by offering our lives back to God. What kind of a character was John the Baptist? What can we learn from the way he responded to God’s call?
SOURCE: Catholic Diocese of Auckland
Teacher and mom, THERESA, creates Kids’ Bulletins, a resource for Catholic kids about the readings for Sunday’s Mass every week. More resources from Theresa can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers website. Click on image/text to download entire bulletin for your children.
Doctrine of the Week
The word “discernment” in English derives from the Latin term discernere, meaning “to sever,” “to separate,” and “to distinguish.” As used by believers, it carries with it a sense of sifting through the stuff of one’s life in order to respond to the direction that God’s grace holds out to us. More precisely, one contemporary author describes discernment as “separating out various feelings, beliefs, values, and inner voices in order to listen for and to the voice of the Spirit of God. Spiritual writings refer to it as a discernment of spirits, which is also a gift of the Spirit recognized in the early church” (Donna Steffen, S.C., Discerning Disciples, p. 14).
Begin today’s session with an activity about choices that reflect light or darkness. Divide the meeting space into two sections and explain to the children that the right side of the room will represent the “light” of a good choice and the left side of the room will represent the “darkness” of a bad choice…
To begin provide red, white and/or green ribbon for the children. Invite the children to share with a partner an example of a good and loving choice that someone their age can make…
Junior High School
To begin, divide a large sheet of poster paper into two columns. Label the first column light and the second column darkness. Invite the young people to brainstorm the things that influence young people to make good choices and list those positive influences under the label light…
SOURCE: RCL Bensiger Lectionary Resources
Michah’s Super Vlog (2:27): Micah and Lydia help Armin understand that joy isn’t something that can be found in an ice cream cone!
Virtue of the Week
Isaiah speaks hope-filled and JOYFUL WORDS to people longing to hear a joyful message, to be healed of their brokenness and to believe that their captivity, in a foreign land was going to come to an end.
St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to dedicate themselves to prayer, thanksgiving and to a SENSE OF JOY, for indeed they have been chosen and called.
Saint John the Baptists prepare the people for the COMING OF JOY, and the one who will be forever the light of the world.
SOURCE: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University; “Build. Plant. Grow.” = a free faith formation resource which aligns with the Liturgical Year of the Roman Catholic Church. Videos on this page are NOT affiliated with Markkula Center.
ILLUMINATED FILMS (6:47): In the internationally acclaimed The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a tiny caterpillar eats and eats…and eats his way through the week.
Book of the Week
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Here is a story of waiting and wondering about how things might change. One sunny Sunday, when the caterpillar hatched out of a tiny egg, he was very hungry and went about eating everything in sightand still wanting more. Finally full, the caterpillar builds a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep only to wake up a few weeks later as something totally transformed and different, a beautiful butterfly. There are very clear parallels with the waiting we are called to do during the season of Advent and to wait patiently for what is to come, a joy anticipated and fulfilled.
SOURCE: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University; “Build. Plant. Grow.” = a free faith formation resource which aligns with the Liturgical Year of the Roman Catholic Church. The accompanying video is NOT associated with Markkula Center.
Doing the Right Thing
In the story for the first reading, George always looked to help people. His friend Eddy was put on restriction for arguing with his parents. How could George help? He would throw his friend a party. True friends give each other hope. So does God.
One day, George ran into Eddy. Eddy was upset by the argument he had with his father. “My dad yelled at me for the stupidest thing,” Eddy complained. “I lost it and began to yell back. I’m on restriction…again.” —>
In the story for the gospel, Sandy tried to make a difference with a holiday clothes drive. Many of her classmates questioned her motives. Like John the Baptist, Sandy wanted to serve, not out of self glory, but for the good of others.
Reader 1: God sent a man named John. John came to preach, so he could tell others about God’s Light to the world, and, so everyone would believe what he preached about the Light. —->
SOURCE: Larry Broding at Word-Sunday.com (Copyright 1999-2017). Viewers may copy any material found in these pages for their personal use or for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.
This seasonal message features the deeper meaning behind the holiday decoration of Christmas lights. The message also uses the character of John the Baptist as a reminder that we are to “proclaim the light” that is Jesus. When we see lights, we recall that Jesus is the light of the world, and that gives us hope at Christmas and always. And along with John, we prepare the way for Christ and share the good news of His light with others.
SOURCE: Copyright © 2007-2020 Ministry-to-Children. Please use our children’s ministry curriculum and Sunday School material for any purpose that brings honor to Jesus.
The children’s sermon excerpts below are linked to Sermon Writer, which was operated by Niell Donavan, a United Christ clergyman from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale is graciously keeping his website online FREE, subscription no longer required. As Catholic Catechists, be sure to adapt if necessary before presenting to children.
FOCUS: First Reading
I like to put something from nature on my table, so I can look at it while I enjoy a meal. It is a way of bringing a piece of God’s creation up close; a way to appreciate the beauty of what God has given us. It could be a seashell, an unusual stone, a small pumpkin or gourd, a pine cone, or flowers. Can you think of other things from nature you would like to put on your table. Lately I’ve had a pot of beautiful purple pansies on my breakfast table. When I went to the table this morning I saw that the pansies were all drooped over, looking very sad. They needed water. I poured water over the soil and within an hour the pansies had lifted themselves up and were looking happy once again.
FOCUS: Second Reading
Would you rather be around a happy person or a grumpy person? I think we can all agree on this. It is much more pleasant to be around a person who is cheerful and happy. We know things happen that may cause us to feel sad, but we’re talking about those other ordinary days. When you get up in the morning you have a choice about how you will greet the day. You can be negative or positive. You can be grateful or grumpy. You can choose to smile or frown. It is up to you.
Once there was a long, dark hallway. No one could see the rug in front of the bedroom door. No one could see that Tommy had left his toy dump truck just outside his door. And, no one could see Twinkle, the little puppy, is sleeping at the end of the hall. What might happen if someone walks down that hallway in the dark? (Allow children to respond. They might trip over the rug. Someone might step on Twinkle’s foot and she would cry. Someone might step on the truck and it would roll and the person could get hurt.)
When do you need a flashlight? Yes, we use a flashlight when it is dark. (In some countries this light is called a torch. The name flashlight came about when it was first invented because it provided just a brief flash of light.) How does a flashlight help us? Yes, it lights our path so we can find our way. You may keep a flashlight by your bedside in case you need to get up in the night. Or, you might use a flashlight when you walk outside after dark. The flashlight shows you where things are and helps you find your way. If you point it at the ground in front of you the light will help you know where to take your next step.
This is the time of year we begin making preparations to celebrate Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ. What are some of the ways you prepare for Christmas? Perhaps your kitchen fills with the wonderful fragrances of cookies, breads and candies as you and your mom or dad bake Christmas goodies. You may decorate your home with evergreen boughs and put ornaments on a Christmas tree. Some families hang an advent calendar and count the days until Christmas or light advent candles. Other families hang lights outdoors in trees and on their houses. There are many ways to prepare for Christmas – the birthday of Jesus Christ.