From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Luke 6:27-38 Jesus teaches us to love and forgive our enemies
Summary: Generosity, empathy, and compassion are traits we want to develop in our children. Teaching children to treat others as they want to be treated supports them in developing these traits.
Scripture: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
One day Jesus was teaching out on a hillside. We call his lesson that day “The Sermon on the Mount.” In his sermon, Jesus said some things that really surprised his listeners. “You have heard that you should love your neighbors and hate your enemies,” Jesus said. “But I say, love your enemies — and if someone does mean and hateful things to you, pray for them.”
Jesus said that when we love our enemies, we are acting like children of God. It isn’t always easy to love your enemies, but there are some good reasons for doing it.
- It demonstrates the love of God to others.
- It sets a good example for others to follow.
- It turns enemies into friends.
Father, it is easy to love those who love us. Help us to love our enemies so that they might know that we are your children. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: What are some practical ways our children can show love toward enemies and “turn the other cheek” when they feel attacked?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The Boy Who Grew Flowers
Written by Jen Wojtowicz
Family Discussion: It is easy to choose to be with others when they are acting politely and respectfully. But children do not always act this way, especially with other family members. We can probably all recall a family meal in which such behavior was not observed. Yet we probably chose to sit through the meal anyway. We regularly give our children second chances—and often third and fourth chances—hoping that our generosity will be rewarded. That is how God acts with us. The ethic that Jesus describes seems like an impossible task: to give when asked and to do good to those who hate us. Yet family life is filled with opportunities to act generously and to love without measure. This is what we parents try to do every day. This is what we ask our children to learn. We are reminded that when we love generously and gratuitously, we love as God loves us. This is the meaning of mercy.
As you gather as a family, identify some things that family members are expected to do each day (prepare meals, go to school or work; complete homework assignments, complete household chores, behave appropriately at school, at work and at home; and so on). Discuss whether it is easy to live up to these expectations. Why or why not? Then discuss the meaning of the phrase “go the extra mile” and what it would mean to go the extra mile in the expectations you identified. Introduce today’s Gospel: In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus describes how we are to act toward one another. What he says may sound like what we mean by the phrase “going the extra mile.” Read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 6:27-38. Discuss whether the actions Jesus describes are easy and consider why we might act in these ways if they seem difficult. Observe that today’s Gospel challenges us to make choices based on God’s standard; God loves us all the time by going the extra mile for us. During a time of quiet reflection, invite each family member to choose an action for the week in which he or she will go the “extra mile” for the family. Conclude in prayer by praying together St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity.