Just a Good Man or Lord of Our Lives?
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.”
Who is Jesus? Jesus is the Son, the Second Person in the Trinity. Jesus is the mediator between God and Man. He was sent to be a model of holiness for us. He is a Divine person with two natures. He was fully divine and fully man. Why Jesus? The sin committed by Adam and Eve was very serious. No ordinary person could make up for the sins of the world. The Redeemer had to be sinless and equal to God. The only way atonement could happen is by a God-Man. Jesus ransomed us from the slavery of sin by his death, which is why we call him the Redeemer. The best way to teach about who Jesus was is by finding Bible passages that focus on Jesus as he acts in these roles as: Healer, Teacher, Friend, Son of God, and Rescuer. Tomie dePaola’s book The Miracles of Jesus is a good one to read. There is a 3 episode program in cartoon form available through Formed.org that we suggest having the children watch. It’s called The Witnesses Trilogy. As described by Formed: “Discover the power and love of Jesus Christ and see why his followers risked all to carry his message to the ends of the earth. Children and adults alike will be captivated by this account of Jesus’s life, featuring vivid storytelling and high impact animation. Recommended for ages 7 and up” https://watch.formed.org/the-witnesses-trilogy
Jesus was born into a first century Jewish family living in Israel. The children are familiar with the Christmas story but what do we know of Jesus after his birth? One way to learn about Jesus is to look at what life may have been like for his family living in the first century. Based on the Bible, archeological records, and historical texts we know a little bit about life in the first century. First century Israel and Palestine was an agricultural society. Daily routines revolved around the harvest schedule which began with the planting of grain in mid-November during the start of the rainy season. February flax was harvested, wheat was harvested in May, mid-June figs, July grapes, August dates and late season figs, September fields were plowed, mid-October through November olives were harvested and processed. The days were long and everyone contributed to their family’s farms or businesses.
There was a large gap between the rich and the poor. Most people ate two meals a day, only the very wealthy would eat three meals a day, with Romans eating 4 meals a day. People would rise before dawn to begin their day, dressed in woolen or linen tunics and sandals, working for several hours until it was around brunch time returning home for their meal. This simple mostly vegetarian meal would consist of bread with olive oil or honey, cheese, olives, dried or fresh figs, dates, or a pulse of lentils. After eating they would return to work coming home before sunset for supper and family time. The evening meal was a larger meal and would consist of eggs or a hearty stew with bread or a fritter made from grains mixed with vegetables, fresh fruit, and cheese. Meat was a rare item in the daily diets of most people. What meat they did eat was added to the daily stews of grains and vegetables. Eggs, dried fish, and an occasional chicken or other game bird were the most common sources of protein. Beans (fava, chickpeas, lentils, white beans), nuts (sesame, walnut, almond, pistachio), grains (millet, barley, wheat) fruits (dates, fig, olives, grapes, melons, blackberries, pomegranate) and vegetables (onion, garlic, fennel, turnip, leek, cucumber, capers, artichoke, greens) were staples of their diets. On special occasions lamb or beef would be served.
In their free time children played games similar to hopscotch and jacks. Other toys they may have played with were: whistles, rattles, animals on wheels, hoops, tops, rag dolls, and checkers. Most children were expected to work alongside their parents to help keep up with the household. Girls spent their days learning how to run a household and caring for their families. Skills in cooking, (medicine) herbal treatments, sewing, and animal husbandry were learned until they were old enough to marry. At the age of 13 boys were expected to learn a craft. If the father was a tradesman then the sons would learn his father’s trade.
To Read: What Did Shepherds Like to Eat?
We’ll leave you with the following questions as a way to think about Jesus. How can Jesus be the center of your life? Begin by asking “What are you calling me to do today?”
Vocabulary words to discuss with your child: Incarnation, Redeemer, Mediator, Miracle
Prayer of the Week: Glory Be
Saint of the Week: October 22 is the Feast day for St. John Paul the Great. Otherwise known as St. John Paul II he is a great modern saint to learn about. Catholic Icing has some great ideas on how to celebrate https://www.catholicicing.com/pope-john-paul-ii-crafts-lesson-plans-printables-and-more/
Homework First Year Sacramental Prep: Read from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism: Lesson 6, pages 27-29. Read the following Bible stories telling of the Miracles of Jesus: The Calming of the Storm (Mark 4:35-41); The Healing of a Blind Man (Matthew 9:27-30); The Wedding Feast of Cana (John 2:1-12). You can use a Children’s Bible. Read about the Resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28:5-6). Practice the Angel of God prayer and the Glory Be. Begin working on the Hail Mary. Complete the Miracles of Jesus craft https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ApB_ChGNsVxt3UXKvRDSnTfnABQRlYf8Zkbnl35PHII/edit
Homework Second Year Sacramental Prep: Read from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism: Lesson 6, pages 27-29. Read about the Resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28:5-6). Read The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37). Complete Spirit of Truth (pages 29-33). All of these pages will be handed in at the end of the month. Practice the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, and the 10 Commandments.
Homework Years 3-6th Grades: Read from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism: Lesson 7, pages 46-50, #77-89. Read Matthew 8:24, Mark 11:12, and Matthew 21:12-13 and point out that Jesus had human feelings and experiences too: tired, hungry, angry. Read John 8:58, John 10:10, and John 8:12 from the Bible and point out that Jesus is actually telling the people that He is God but many do not understand Him. Practice the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, and the 10 Commandments. Miracle of Jesus Worksheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rPRN3Q9o64aBRAPQWlWrWOmfUkzAKn8ei2v3wzgbJxQ/edit
Watch: Superbook Miracles of Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZTHwqj0Bkk
Activity Ideas: We thought that looking for activities about some of Jesus’ miracles would be a good way to reinforce the lesson for the week.
A Bible study of the miracles of Jesus mini-book is printable and the author offers great advice on how to present this to children.
A good craft to try is Jesus’ First Miracle at the wedding in Cana turning water to wine.