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Explanation of the Gospel to children
March 29, 2020, 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A.
Dear parents, dear children, usually during the Sunday masses of our parish, the youngest are invited to attend the explanation of the Gospel of the day, with simple words. Due to travel restrictions, we invite you to share the reading of the Gospel with your family, and explain it to your children in your own words.
This document can help you identify areas of explanation, and suggests an activity to better understand the Gospel.
Sign of the Cross
As we enter this time of sharing the Word, let us together a beautiful sign of the cross with the children.
Introduction and Context, Reminder
Explain to the children that, even if we do not go to mass this Sunday, we are in communion with each other and that we are going to share the Word that Jesus transmits to us this day.
Children can be reminded that we are in the time of Lent (5th Sunday). We have two weeks left to prepare for the feast of Easter (Resurrection of Christ). The color is purple (as during Advent). We improve our hearts to be ready to welcome the risen Jesus. For this, one can pray, fast (deprive himself of something that one likes to take time for God and others), and give alms (give to others).
Last Sunday, the Gospel presented us with a blind man by birth, whom Jesus healed. By listening to God's commandments, following them, having faith in Jesus, He can do anything for us.
Theme of the day: The Resurrection of Lazarus
On Sunday, let's take the time to present the children with excerpts from each reading. God speaks to us from the Old Testament, until after the resurrection of Jesus. For older children, the full texts of the day can be read at the end of the document.
First Reading: Ezekiel 37, 12-14.
Thus saith the Lord God...: I will put in you my spirit, and ye shall live.
Word of the Lord — We give thanks to God
Second Reading: Letter from St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans 8, 8-11.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Jesus, the Christ, from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwells in you. — Word of the Lord. We give thanks to God
Reading the Gospel: John 11, 3-7.17.20-27.33b-45 (short reading, the long reading is present at the end of the document).
At that time, Martha and Mary, the two sisters of Lazarus, sent to Jesus, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is sick.” Jesus said, “This disease does not lead to death, it is for the glory of God, that through it the Son of God may be glorified.” Jesus loved Martha and his sister, and Lazarus. When he heard that he was ill, he remained there for two more days. Then, after that, he said to the disciples, “Let us return to Judea.” On his arrival, Jesus found Lazarus at the tomb for four days now. When Martha heard of the arrival of Jesus, she set out to meet him, while Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But now, I know, all that you ask God, God will grant you.” Jesus said to him, “Your brother will rise up.” Martha said, “I know that he will rise up at the resurrection, at the last day.” Jesus said to him, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live: whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe that? She answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe it: you are the Christ, the Son of God, you are the one who cometh into the world.” Jesus, in his spirit, was moved, and he was upset, and asked, “Where did you lay him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus began to weep. The Jews said, “See how he loved her! But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man stop Lazarus from dying?” Jesus, taken over by emotion, arrived at the tomb. It was a cave closed by a stone. Jesus said, “Take off the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him, “Lord, he already smells; this is the fourth day that he is there.” Then Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you?” If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” So the stone was removed. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, I thank thee because thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hast always heard me; but I say it because of the crowd around me, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” Then he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out! And the dead went out, his feet and hands tied by strips, his face wrapped in a shroud. Jesus said to them, “Untie him, and let him go.” Many Jews, who had come to Mary and saw what Jesus had done, believed in him.
The following questions can be used to guide children in their understanding of the text.
What are the characters in this Gospel text, and what is their connection?
Jesus, Martha and Mary who are two sisters, and Lazarus. Jesus loved these three people.
What happens in the Gospel?
Lazarus is sick. The two sisters ask Jesus to come and heal him. When Jesus arrives, Lazarus is already dead and placed at the tomb. Jesus gives life to Lazarus.
What does Martha ask of Jesus?
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died. But now, I know, whatever you ask God, God will grant you.” Martha knows that Jesus can do anything. Even if he was not there during Lazarus's illness, she does not despair, she does not blame him. She's still hoping.
Has anyone ever prayed without being heard? How do you feel? What to do in this case?
Martha's example is to follow: continue to pray. When the time comes, if God judges that our prayer is good, He will fill us.
“Jesus, in his spirit, was struck with emotion, was upset, and began to weep”, why?
Jesus loved Lazarus. When a friend dies, you're often sad, because you won't be able to see him again in this world. One is sad too for compassion for his family, for example. Jesus therefore cries when she sees Mary weep. And I, when a friend is sad, what do I do? Am I sad with him? Am I trying to console him? How can I console him? We can invite children to consolate someone they know sad, perhaps related to the pandemic.
Drawing Coloring (at the end of this document)
Prayer: I confess to God
In this time of Lent, in order to prepare for Easter, we read the text of the prayer that we have just reconstituted in the activity. Before prayer, we think about the sins, the mistakes, the nonsense we made in the week. Did I apologize to the people I hurt? Every time I do something wrong, God is sad... to Him too I ask forgiveness.
I confess to Almighty God, I acknowledge before my brethren, that I have sinned in thought, in word, in deed and in omission; yea, I have sinned. Therefore I beg the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the saints, and also you, my brethren, to pray for me the Lord our God.
Lazarus, Martha's brother and Mary just died. With his friends, Jesus cries. He prays to God to bring Lazarus back to life. Color the strips according to the color of the dots. Lazarus is back to life!
Readings of the mass
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