Children, Jesus died on the Cross and rose again 3 days later – HE IS ALIVE!
The women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body and are greeted by two men who announce that Jesus is risen.
Like the first disciples, our young people are trying to make sense of our faith in Jesus’ Resurrection. We can help them see that our experience of Jesus and the words of Scripture, especially the Gospels, help us interpret the meaning of Jesus’ Resurrection.
Children you know that game that has a red plastic viewer and a card that it “interprets.” Ask how the red plastic viewer allows one to read the writing that is on the card. (It will reveal the words hidden behind the red screen of dots.) Without the red viewer, the printing on this card looks like nonsense. To make sense of the nonsense, we need this special lens.
In today’s Gospel, the women report their experience at Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning. As we listen to this Gospel, pay attention to how the apostles describe the women’s story.
What did the women find when they went to Jesus’ tomb? (The stone was rolled away, and Jesus’ body was not there. Two men spoke to the women.) What was the reaction of the apostles when the women told them their story? (They didn’t believe them.) How is the women’s story described? (like “nonsense”)
Yet, even though the disciples thought that the women’s story seemed like nonsense, Peter went to the tomb. Why do you think Peter went to the tomb? Perhaps Peter’s experience of Jesus and his memory of Jesus’ words gave him reason to hope that the women’s story was not, in fact, nonsense. The men at the tomb told the women to remember what Jesus had said to them. Jesus’ words would be the lens that would make sense of the women’s story. Over time these words helped the apostles to understand that they were looking for Jesus, the living one, in the wrong place. He was not dead; he is alive! Their experience of Jesus became the key to their understanding of the Resurrection.
At Easter we celebrate this discovery of the women: God raised Jesus from the dead. We pray during the Easter Season that, as we reflect on our experience of Jesus, we will grow in faith and understanding of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.
Conclude in prayer together, that our faith in Jesus’ Resurrection will grow strong and that we will recognize the amazing things that God does for us still today. Pray together the Act of Faith.
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Closing prayer: Pray together that our faith in Jesus’ Resurrection will grow strong and that we will recognize the amazing things that God does for us still today. Pray together the Act of Faith.
(Father Marcin and I have agreed that it would be good if the parish knew a little more about what is happening in school and the school community had the benefit of Fr Marcin’s thoughts on the week’s Gospel:)
Reflecting on the Reading with Children
Questions are given as suggestions of how to draw out salient points of the gospel story with the children. Children may need to be guided back on track, but it is helpful in sofar as it is possible, to let them explore ideas and thoughts of their own.
An activity is suggested for each of the Sundays, although it may need to be adapted due to your space, size of group, etc. Sometimes very small children will need more assistance doing a particular activity. Responding to the gospel in a child-appropriate way helps solidify the particular message of the week’s gospel and plan how they will live it out in their own situations.
If your Children’s Liturgy of the Word rejoins the main body of the church for the Creed, there is no need to go through its counterpart in question-form here.
We Pray (2)
If your Children’s Liturgy of the Word rejoins the main body of the church for the Prayers of the Faithful (‘Bidding Prayers’), there is no need to incorporate them into Children’s Liturgy.
‘All liturgy is prayer and it is right that a liturgy of the word with children should end with a time of intercession. The prayer may arise from the children’s reflection but it is always concerned with the needs of the whole Church and the world. It is important to remember that the petitions are invitations to pray not the prayers themselves, so a short phrase that invites the children to pray is better than a long or detailed list of concerns. This model of intercession is easily learned by children.’
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
The commercialism of Easter—costumed bunnies in the mall, Easter baskets full of candy and small toys, new clothes—often misdirects children’s understanding and celebration of this greatest of Church feasts. When spoken of as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, today’s liturgical celebration may not stir excitement among them. Encourage your children to think about the real significance of this feast by using their creative skills to imagine this Easter Vigil’s Resurrection account in Matthew 28:1–10.
Read Matthew 28:1–10 as a family, letting the children take the roles of the angel and Jesus. Set up the narrative by speculating on how sad the women must have felt as they approached the tomb. Talk about the excitement of the two women who saw the empty tomb and heard the angel explain that Jesus was raised from the dead. Wonder together about how it must have felt to embrace the risen Lord as the women did. Imagine with your children the enthusiasm the women must have felt when sent to tell the disciples that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Remind them that today we remember and celebrate all that Jesus did to win entry to Heaven for us. Create together a colorful ALLELUIA banner to display in your home to celebrate Jesus Christ’s glorious Resurrection. Then stand, praying together today and throughout the Easter season: Alleluia, Alleluia, Jesus is risen, Alleluia!