Today’s young people are very tuned in to the notion of being authentic. They can spot phoniness a mile away. For them, words must be backed up by actions. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives words about love that he backs up in his actions.
Young people think about phrases such as “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” or “following in another’s footsteps.”
Children – Choose two occasions when you found it difficult to show love. Demands or requirements of Christian love; the kind of love Jesus modeled for us is difficult. It involves sacrifice. Jesus knew that the disciples would be called upon to follow his way of love even unto death. That’s why Jesus didn’t just tell us how to love, he showed us. The Gospel this week tells us that, before Jesus died, he told his friends to love one another the way he had shown them how to love. This is what we hear in today’s Gospel reading.
How had Jesus shown love to his disciples at the Last Supper? (He washed their feet.) How did Jesus say that people would recognize his disciples? (by their love for one another) What did Jesus do after this Last Supper to show love? (He died on the cross.) We believe that the glory of God is seen when we follow Jesus’ way of love.
So think about those two occasions where you found it difficult to show love. Consider whether your actions were consistent with Jesus’ way of love. What might you have done differently? What might you do differently the next time you face a similar situation?
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.So when Jesus calls us to love others as he loves us, he is calling us to express our love in our words and actions. Jesus not only talked about love, he gave us his life as an example to show us how to love.
Closing prayer: Act of Love.
O my God, I love you above all things with my whole heart and soul, because you are all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me and I ask pardon of those whom I have injured. Amen.
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
A Story about Lottie Moon who loved others:
The biscuits that I brought to share with you today are very special. These biscuits were made from a recipe that was used for many years by a special lady named Lottie Moon. Lottie Moon lived many years ago. She grew up in a Christian home and went to church and learned about Jesus and his love. Lottie had six brothers and sisters. One of her sisters was a missionary in China. Reading the letters her sister wrote helped Lottie to come to love the Chinese people and decide that she also wanted to be a missionary to China. Lottie went to college and studied to become a teacher then went to help her sister teach the children of China.
When she arrived in China, Lottie started a school and began to hold classes to teach boys and girls to read the Bible. At first, the Chinese children were afraid of Lottie. She tried to think of a way to get the children to trust her. She decided to bake some biscuits, but that didn’t work. You see, the children were afraid to eat the biscuits because they were afraid that they might have poison in them. One day, one of the boys was so hungry that he decided to try one of the biscuits. When he didn’t get sick, the other children decided to try them too. Soon, Lottie became known as “the cookie lady.” After the children ate the biscuits, they would talk with Lottie, hear Bible stories and learn to read.
Why do you think Lottie loved the Chinese children so much? I think it was because she believed and put into practice what Jesus taught his disciples. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” How much did Jesus love us? He loved us so much that he gave his life for us. Lottie loved the children of China so much that she dedicated her life to teaching them how to read and write. And, even more important, she taught them about Jesus and his love.
Jesus loves you too — and he wants you to love others as he loved you. How can you show the love of Jesus to other people? Maybe you could bake biscuits for a someone who is sad or lonely. Maybe you could be a friend to a new student at school who doesn’t know anyone. You could go to visit and pray for someone who is sick. There are a lot of ways to show people that you love them.
God wants all of us to be missionaries — like Lottie Moon — but you don’t have to go to China to be a missionary. You can be a missionary right where you live! In fact, I think that is what God wants us to do.
Closing prayer: Dear Father, we are thankful for people like Lottie Moon who show the love of Jesus in their daily life. Help us to show the love of Jesus by loving one another. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Gospel: John 13:31-33 34-35
In the Son of Man God has been glorified
When Judas had gone Jesus said: ‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him God will in turn glorify him in himself and will glorify him very soon. ‘My little children I shall not be with you much longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another everyone will know that you are my disciples.’
Is love the first word your family members use to describe their interactions? Love is difficult. Jesus’ sacrifice for us is an example of this. Yet because of love, the glory of God is fully revealed in Jesus. God’s glory is revealed in us when we act as the Body of Christ, as individuals and as a community. In the love we have for one another—difficult, challenging, sacrificial love—we find Jesus.
Choose one or two occasions when your family was together during the week. Describe the family’s interactions from an outsider’s perspective. When is it less difficult to show love to family members? When is it more difficult? When love is difficult, what do we do?
Jesus didn’t just tell us to love one another. He showed us how to love one another. In what ways did Jesus show us how to love? (in his acts of healing and forgiving; at the Last Supper as he washed his disciples’ feet; in the gift of the Eucharist; through his death on the Cross)