The readings in today’s Mass tell us about some of the things that will happen at the end of the world. It seems pretty scary- the sun and moon will stop shining and the stars will fall down. But it should also be a very happy thing to think about- Jesus is coming back! When the end of this world comes, all the good people will go to live with God and will be completely happy forever! As long as we stay close to God and keep away from sin, we can be happy when the end of the world comes. Are you ready for it?
Closing prayer: Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers. Help us to remember that you are always close to us. We make all our prayers through Christ our Lord. Amen
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Reflecting on the Reading
What would you think if all the stars fell from the sky and the sun and moon went dark? How frightened do you think people would get?
Sometimes when scary things happen to people, they wonder if God is still with them. Remember Children , Jesus promised us he is always by our side. so there is nothing to fear.
[It may be appropriate to insert a personal story here, e.g. about how when I went to a new school/house it was totally new and a bit scary, but then it turned out that I made really good friends in the end.]
What things make people worried like that?
Even if the scariest thing in the world happened, God would still be with us. It might even turn out better than we expected!
As the end of the liturgical year draws near, the readings take on the theme of the end of the world. Jesus and his disciples are sitting on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem overlooking the city. Jesus had predicted the destruction of the temple shortly beforehand. To his listeners, this was a shocking prediction as their entire religious and social orientation was around the temple. It was the same as saying that the way of life as they knew it would be over. Unsurprisingly, Jesus’ friends asked him when that destruction would happen, or by what signs they would know it was imminent. Apocalyptic language like the language Jesus uses is meant to be symbolic, not literal—it was a literary device used by people in constrained societies to speak out against powerful people without putting oneself in immediate danger. The vivid imagery used can be seen as frightening, but it does not need to be frightening for believers, as God is always with us, even in the worst of tribulations.
Many things in our lives and in our world are subject to change. Yet all of us find security in relationships and values that endure. Foremost among these are our family relationships. We can confidently accept change if we know that we will continue to be loved by our family and by God. We help impart this sense of trust and confidence in our children with our daily assurances to them that nothing can change our love for them.
As you gather as a family, look through several family photo albums. Observe and talk about things that have changed in your family life over the years. Talk also about the things that have stayed the same. We do not need to fear changes in our family life because we know that the most important aspects of our family life do not change, such as our love for one another. The same is true with God and God’s love for us. Read today’s Gospel, Mark 13:24-32. Jesus teaches us that things in our world will change and that the world itself will one day end. We don’t need to be fearful because God’s love for us will never end. Conclude in prayer together thanking God his never-ending love for us. Pray together the Glory Be to the Father.
Warn the children that you are going to ask them to do something that they might not be expecting. Tell them that when you clap your hands twice (and not before) you will ask them to stand up (and without running or causing injury to themselves or anyone else) sit down in a different place than they are in now. Clap your hands twice. Once everyone is seated, point out how things have changed totally in the room, but they are still all right! Sometimes we have bigger changes in our lives. [You might refer to your earlier personal story].
Recall the widow from last week’s gospel. If the Temple was destroyed and life totally changed for her, how might there be an opportunity for it to be better? (At least she wouldn’t feel she had to give money to the Temple any more, and she could use it to buy food!) Even the greedy scribes may have wound up closer to God, as they were not able to be so selfish with other people’s offerings. Give each child a medallion to decorate with the words ‘God is always with me!’ on it. On one half, they can draw things that they think would be scary, and on the other, things that they find comforting.
Gospel Mark 13:24-32
The stars will fall from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven. ‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’