29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Praise God!
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, some people come to Jesus and tell him what they know about him. What do they know?
‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God.
Did you hear what they call him? They call him Teacher. It is true that Jesus teaches the way of God--he tells us lots of parables about the Kingdom of God--but we don't usually call him Teacher. We usually call Jesus the Good Shepherd, because this is the name that Jesus calls himself. He says,
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me (John 10:14)
Maybe we know Jesus a little better than these people know him 😊.
The people tell Jesus that they know he is sincere. This means that he is not kidding when he talks about the Kingdom of God. It means Jesus talks about what he knows is true. It also means he does what he says he will do. He says,
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
Jesus gives all of his life--his whole self--for the sheep. He is so good.
The people know he is good. They say good things about him. When we say good things about someone, we are giving them praise. We can think of lots of good things to say about Jesus. We know how to give praise to Jesus.
But Jesus doesn't seem interested in the praise the people give him. Instead, he says,
‘Give...to God the things that are God’s.’
Give to God the things that are God's? What things do we have that belong to God? And how do we give something back to God?
When we gather for Mass, we are shown a way. There is a moment in the Mass when the priest prays with his hands:
Have you seen this before? He takes the bread and wine in his hands, and he lifts them up high. It seems like the priest is giving them to God. We have to think, what is he doing?
Let's think about the bread and wine. Who is this bread that he is giving to God? Who is this wine? We know that God sends the Holy Spirit to make them holy. They become Jesus for us. Jesus wants it this way. "This is my body," he says. "This is my blood." Remember, the Good Shepherd gives his whole self to the sheep.
When we gather at Mass, Jesus is right there with us. How close to us he is! How good God is to give us Jesus!
What do we do when we are given something so special?
We want to say "thank-you." We want to show how thankful we are. So full of joy, we want to give something back. We want to give the best thing we have.
The best thing we have? Our best is Jesus! So the priest lifts Jesus high. "See, God," he seems to say, "we know you are good to give us Jesus." But we want to lift Jesus high, too. Do we get a chance? How can we show God that we are so grateful to have Jesus with us?
We sing, Amen! "Amen" means, "Yes, I agree, this is from me, too!"
God, you are so great,
You are so good,
You are so holy.
We give you praise.
All glory and honour are yours, forever and ever.
All praise belongs to God, because God is the most sincere, the most special, the most loving--the Best. Jesus always turns our eyes to God. When we give praise to God, it is a special kind of prayer.