Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Let us pray.
God of peace,
You call us to treat others justly and fairly.
Help us find ways to solve problems peacefully.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
The theme today is peace. Begin by inviting the children to brainstorm what problems exist at their school and what conflicts sometimes arise when they are with friends. Write down their responses. Discuss:
- How do you try to solve problems?
- Look at the problems that are written down. How can you try to solve these problems peacefully?
Allow time for discussion. Jesus left his friends a great gift. He gave his followers the gift of peace. We are called to share Jesus’ gift of peace with others.
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts learn how the Church leaders respond to the concerns of the Gentiles.
Read Acts 15:1-2, 22-29.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Who are the Gentiles?
- What are the Gentiles concerned about?
- What do the apostles do to help the Gentiles?
In the Gospel listen to find out what gift Jesus leaves his disciples.
Read John 14:23-29.
Allow for silence.
- Where is Jesus going?
- Who will be sent to help the disciples?
- What gift does Jesus leave with his disciples?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
Today’s reading from Acts shows the response of the Church’s leadership in Jerusalem to the concerns of the Gentile community at Antioch. The Gentiles are disturbed by some of the teachings that they are hearing about. Paul and Barnabas consult with the apostles and elders of the Church in Jerusalem about the questions raised by the Gentiles. The final decision regarding Church teaching is reached by the Church’s leadership in Jerusalem and brought to the Gentile community at Antioch. Representatives are sent in peace to calm the hearts of the Gentiles and bring them the essential Church teachings.
The Gospel today continues the farewell discourse of Jesus. Jesus is preparing his disciples for his departure from them. He promises that they will not be left alone. The Father will send the Holy Spirit to help the disciples remember all that Jesus taught them.
Jesus continues his farewell with tenderness. He tells his disciples that he his leaving them with the gift of peace. The peace that Jesus gives his followers is a peace that the world cannot give—it is the gift of his presence, an inner peace that assures his followers that they will not be abandoned. The Holy Spirit is promised to help the disciples continue the work of Jesus. And the gift of peace will dwell in the hearts of the disciples for all time.
Jesus brings comfort and peace to his disciples by telling them that he will always be with them and they will be cared for, even after Jesus leaves them.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- Why did Jesus tell his disciples not to be afraid?
- How does Jesus help you when you are troubled?
- How can you share Jesus’ gift of peace with others?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Catholic understanding of peace begins with Jesus’ farewell gift to his disciples. The peace that Jesus gives is a peace that the world cannot give. This understanding of peace means much more than the absence of conflict or war. The biblical understanding of the word peace is found in the Hebrew word “shalom” from the Old Testament. “Shalom” means well being, total harmony with nature, God, and self. It is the benefit of God’s presence with his people.
Catholic teaching on peace encourages us to be peacemakers for our time. We are called to support the reduction of nuclear weapons and arms and to pray for peace. In the words of the Bishops’ pastoral letter titled, The Challenge of Peace, “…peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus.” (Summary, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, NCCB, May 3, 1983, p9.)
- How can you learn more about what the Church teaches about peace?
- How can you be a peacemaker at school?
- How can you be a peacemaker at home?
The Gospel in Life
Choose one conflict at school or at home that you can solve peacefully this week.
Connecting to Be My Disciples
Grade 4, chapter 7
Grade 5, chapter 7
Grade 6, chapter 7
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 27
Grade 4, page 277 Parish and page 381 School
Grade 5, page 277 Parish and page 381 School
Grade 6, page 277 Parish and page 381 School
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 16
Grade 5, chapter 3
Grade 6, chapter 7