Our Word of the Week this week is

KINGDOM

34th week of Ordinary Time

We are all called to build the Kingdom of God. Not out of bricks and stone but out of each other – we are living stones.

Christ came to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth and this week in the lives of the saints we celebrate we see people who give everything they had to build the Kingdom of God. This week we remember Saint Andrew Dũng-Lac and Companions – they gave their lives to spread the Good News in Vietnam and the church they founded is still there today.

Scripture Bank

If you would like to reflect on some more of the scriptures related to this topic then you can use some of the scripture references below.

Most of these are taken from Open Bible – you can use their Topical Bible Search facility to find lots more ideas! Just remember to change the Bible translation to ‘Good News Translation’ when you click on the link!

If you have found any pieces of scripture that you think link to our theme this week then please add them in the comments box below to share the Good News so that we can all enjoy them!

Matthew 6: 24-34

Matthew 16: 13-20

Luke 12: 32-34

John 18: 36-37

Luke 17: 20-21

Matthew 18: 1-5

Matthew 6: 7-15

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

This piece of scripture from Matthew’s Gospel teaches us what it will be like when Jesus comes back. It is a parable that explains that we should always treat those who are in need as if it is Jesus himself.

Read the Gospel reading together and then watch the video below to learn more.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord

Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) Sunday School Lessons and Activities for Kids - Sunday School Works31 “When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne, 32 and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left. 34 Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. 35 I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, 36 naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Matthew 25: 31-40 GNT

 

This Gospel reading teaches us how we can build the Kingdom of God, here on earth, through simple acts of love and kindness.

How many examples of love and mercy can you spot in the Gospel reading?

How many of these things do you try to do in your life so that you are following the teaching of Jesus?

Help us Lord to follow your Word and to always treat others as if they were Jesus Christ, the King. 

Help us to follow you like sheep follow their Shepherd and to never grow tired of listening to your call.

Amen.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Read the Gospel below and see if it helps you to understand.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord
31 Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Matthew 13: 31-32 GNT

Look at the image below and compare the size of a mustard seed with the size of a tree.

Lectio Liberatio - a poem reflection on The Parable of the Mustard Seed — The Good Neighbor Movement

Discuss what you think this parable means.

When Jesus speaks about the mustard seed He is speaking about the Church and his followers.

Although they started as a small group they have now grown and form a huge Church. In 2018 it was recorded that there are over 1.3 billion Catholics across the world.

If all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus make an effort to follow His teachings and to work to build the Kingdom of God here on earth then we will help God’s Kingdom to grow which in turn will help other people – just as the tree in the parable helps the birds and helps them to create new life in its care.

Think about something small that you can do that will help to build God’s Kingdom.

It could be to read more scripture to learn about God. There could be someone that you want to help or it could be to pray for those who are in need.

Just as a seed needs water and later, sunlight, what will you need to help you in building God’s Kingdom through your small actions?

Who do you hope to help by building the Kingdom of God on earth?

Build Your Kingdom here!

Today we are going to reflect on the lyrics of a worship song called ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective.

Listen carefully to the song and write down your favourite line in the song.

 

Discuss the words that you chose as your favourite in the song.

Did you all choose similar words or lots of different ones?

Did any of the words make you think about scripture that you have read?

Why were those words most important to you?

How does the song and its lyrics inspire you to act?

 

Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we’re made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit, come invade us now
We are Your church
We need Your power in us
We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You’re our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven’s cause
We are Your church
We pray revive this Earth
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray
Unleash Your kingdom’s power
Reaching the near and far
No force of Hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope on earth
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Reflect on some of the lyrics of the song below.

Unveil why we're made

What is God’s purpose for us?

How are we part of God’s big plan?

We are Your Church

What do you think this means?

How can we help the Mission of our church?

Set Your Church on fire

What do you think this means?

Can you think of any times that this has happened in the scriptures?

Change the atmosphere

What sort of feelings and emotions should we have knowing that we are friends with Jesus Christ?

How can we inspire people to feel full of hope and joy in looking forward to a day when Jesus will welcome them into His Kingdom?

Listen to the song one final time and make it your prayer today that we can all work together to build God’s Kingdom here on Earth.

Entering the Kingdom of God

Click on the images below and take a look at these pictures of camels – how would you describe this animal?

Would you choose it to fit through a tight space?

The image below shows the eye of a needle – the tiny hole which a piece of thread goes through.

The Eye of a Needle | United Church of God

Read this piece of scripture to see why Jesus was taking about camels and needles when a man asked him how he could receive eternal life.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Glory to you O Lord

21 The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.”

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23 But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.

24 Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

26 The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”

27 Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.”

28 Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.”

29 “Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30 will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Luke 18: 21-30 GNT

What do you think that Jesus meant?

Why do we need to give up our belongings if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

What do you think the reward will be in Heaven if we give up the things that hold us back from putting God first in our lives?

 

Think about your belongings – do you put them before God and your calling to be one of His followers?

Think about what you need to give up so that you can enjoy eternal life? It might not be a possession, it might be that you need to put others before yourself or that you need to say sorry to someone.

Just as a camel is a big, bumpy creature who is often carrying lots of possessions we too can make it difficult for ourselves to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven because we have lots of baggage. All that we need to do is give ourselves completely to God, but this is not always easy.

 

Even when we make mistakes and do not put God first He is always willing to love us and to welcome us just as St Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans:

38 For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, 39 neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8: 38-39 GNT

Help us Lord to always remember to put You first.

May we use the things that we own for the good of others and may they never become more important than You or Your people.

Amen.

An Introduction to Advent

This weekend we will begin a new year in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar. It will be the first week of a special season of preparation in the Church that is known as Advent.

Advent comes from the Latin word ‘Adventus‘ which means ‘coming‘.

Although during Advent we are preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus at Christmas time we are also preparing ourselves for Jesus’ second coming – when Jesus will return and we will see if we have been like the good sheep who followed their Shepherd – Jesus – and have got rid of the things that are holding them back so they can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with Him.

We will prepare for the coming of Jesus in many ways throughout Advent – we will think about the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that we have in Jesus.

We will also think about how Jesus became human, (just like us!) to show us how to live our lives in a way that will make God happy so that we can be in Heaven with Him when our time comes.

As we move from the November, the Month of Holy Souls into the Season of Advent let us spend some time in prayer, asking God to be with us on our journey of preparation and to remember those who, we pray, have already entered into that joyful eternal life with God!

Let us Pray,

For those who have died,

May they enjoy eternal life in Heaven with God.

Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us.

 

For those who find it difficult to follow Jesus’ call,

May they be given the strength to keep trying to do the right thing and may we support them by sharing the Good News of the scriptures with them.

Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us.

 

For those who are working hard to build God’s Kingdom here on earth,

May they be successful in their Mission and may we, as followers of Jesus join them in loving God and loving our neighbour.

Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us.

 

For all of us as we enter this season of Advent,

May we use these next few weeks as an opportunity to become closer to God and may Jesus come into our lives so that we are inspired to follow in His footsteps.

Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us.

Be Inspirational