Use the following summaries and questions to help explain this month’s Gospels to your kids.
Jan. 5 — The Epiphany of the Lord
Matthew 2:1-12: Today we celebrate the Epiphany, which means “to shine forth” (of Jesus to all the nations beyond Israel). When the Magi from the East saw a new star appear in the sky, they accepted it as a sign that a new leader had been born. Without knowing where it would lead them, they set out on a journey to follow it. God led them to Jesus!
- Why do you think the Magi had the courage, the curiosity, the faith to follow a star in the sky?
- The Magi found Jesus in the manger. Where do you find Jesus in your life?
- Who/what/where are the “stars” in your life that reveal God’s presence to you?
- How can you be a star (a light) for others?
- What gifts do you give to Jesus? Is it even possible to give gifts to Jesus?
- This week, look for all the signs (epiphanies) of God’s presence. (Don’t forget about nature, silence, good books, films, TV shows, music, the poor and sick, those who love you.)
- How can you reach out beyond yourself to people of all nations — to someone specifically in another nation?
Jan. 12 — The Baptism of the Lord
Matthew 3:13-17: Before Jesus began his special work for God, he went to the River Jordan, asking his cousin, John the Baptist, to baptize him. He really didn’t need to be baptized, did he? Jesus wanted to show us God’s plan for all of us and that something new and exciting was about to happen.
- What do you think the crowds thought when the voice from heaven said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”?
- Look at pictures of each family member’s baptism. Talk about the words, symbols, rituals that were used. Renew your baptism promises.
- At baptism, representatives of the Church, your parents and relatives made the Sign of the Cross on your forehead. This week, at prayer, sign one another with the cross.
- How is your baptism alive in you each day?
- Jesus’ baptism prepared him to begin his Father’s work. What is your work for God?
Jan. 19 — Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
John 1:29-34: John the Baptist had the honor of preparing the way for Jesus. Because of John’s preaching and baptizing, the people’s hearts were ready for Jesus, who John called the Lamb of God. John makes it clear to the people that it was God who helped him recognize Jesus as God’s chosen one through his life of prayer, studying God’s Word and preaching.
- Sometimes our days are so busy. What can we do to listen more closely to Jesus in our lives?
- What do you believe about God? What have you experienced about God?
- John gave a testimony (a statement of truth) about Jesus. What would be your testimony about Jesus and/or your experience of him?
- At every Mass we pray to Jesus, the Lamb of God three times. How do you think Jesus listens and responds to our prayers?
Jan. 26 — Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 4:12-23: Today’s Gospel focuses on Jesus as the Promised One of the Old Testament and his call of his first apostles. Jesus began his preaching in Galilee and is identified by Matthew as the “great light” foretold by Isaiah. Jesus calls his first four apostles to come and follow him in his great work of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom.
- Why do you think Simon, Andrew, James and John said yes and followed Jesus?
- Are there people in your life who walk with you and bring you hope and light?
- Are there ways Jesus wants us to change our lives (how we care for others, in appreciating and using our gifts, in our lives of prayer, in our relationships, etc.)?
- If you had been with the fisherman and Jesus had said to you, “Come follow me,” what would you have done?
- Jesus called the fishermen in their ordinary lives. How does Jesus want us to use our ordinary lives for him?
- Jesus asked the fishermen to use their gifts (fishing) in a new way. What gifts do you have to use for others?