John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Let us pray.
Loving God, you call us to love.
Help us to show our love for one another by what we say and do.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today is Jesus’ new commandment to “love one another.” To begin, invite the children to create cards to bring or send to residents at a local nursing home. Provide construction paper, markers and scissors. Discuss:
- How can giving cards to people who may be lonely show that you are a follower of Jesus?
- Name some other ways that you can show that you are a follower of Jesus.
Allow time for discussion. Jesus tells us that we show that we are his followers by the way we love one another. Jesus gives his followers a new commandment, to “love one another.”
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts listen to how the first Christian communities were formed.
Read Acts 14:21-27.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Why did many people become disciples of Jesus?
- What did the first Christian communities look like?
- Where did the disciples find their strength?
In the gospel Jesus gives his followers a new commandment. Listen to find out what it is.
Read John 13:31-33a, 34-35.
Allow for silence.
- What new commandment does Jesus give his followers?
- How does Jesus show his disciples what it means to love?
- How will the followers of Jesus be recognized?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
In the first reading from Acts, the new Christian communities are founded on the movement of the Spirit, which is made known through the preaching and encouragement of the apostles. The number of disciples increases, which brings about the need for organization. Leadership is called forth from the communities and the faithful gather regularly for prayer and celebration. Many were attracted to these early Christian communities because their life radiated great love and joy.
In today’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples that he will be with them only a little while longer. He gives them the greatest commandment, to love one another. And Jesus has shown his disciples the way of love through his life, death and resurrection.
Jesus is not only speaking to the first disciples in the gospel passage today, he is also speaking to his followers today and throughout the ages. The new commandment to love as Jesus loves is a way of being in the world. It is a call to follow the example of Jesus in all that we say and do. This is how all will know that we are followers of Jesus; by the way we love one another.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How are you like the first followers of Jesus?
- How is Jesus speaking to you today?
- How do you show your love for others?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The New Commandment: Love One Another
The new commandment to love one another is the fulfillment of a law that has been inscribed in the hearts of God’s people throughout the ages. Jesus makes the law new by his life and mission.
The new law of Jesus is written in our hearts and brought to life by the action of the Holy Spirit. In baptism we “put on” Christ and become a new person. Love is our inner disposition and by the life of the Church we are given strength and encouragement to continue the mission of Jesus.
The new commandment to love is revealed to us by the example of Jesus who teaches his disciples to love one another as he himself has loved them. Eucharist is the meal, which symbolizes our following Jesus’ way of love, a way of service and sacrifice for one another.
- What can you say and do to show others that you are a loving person?
- How can you live Jesus’ new commandment at home?
- How can you live Jesus’ new commandment in school?
The Gospel in Life
Spread the love of Jesus by visiting someone who is lonely. Bring the card that you made to a local nursing home.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 27
Grade 4, page 275 Parish and page 379 School
Grade 5, page 275 Parish and page 379 School
Grade 6, page 275 Parish and page 379 School
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 11
Grade 5, chapter 19
Grade 6, chapter 7