God’s love is a gift we are called to share with the whole world! We experience this love among our families and friends, within our communities, and through our faith.
As missionary disciples of Jesus, though, we are invited to share and receive God’s love with those beyond our immediate experience, including those whom we as individuals or as a society exclude, ignore, and reject.
By moving beyond our comfort zone, encountering and accompanying those on the periphery, we continue Jesus’ mission and are mutually transformed by the joy of the Gospel.
How to Talk About It with Kids
Everyday God shows us love. God shows us love through the sun and the rain, animals and the trees and all of creation. God shows us love through our families, friends, and all of the people we meet each day.
Jesus tells us that we are all supposed to share that love not only with all people: those who love us, people who are different than us, and people who have less than we do. Jesus says that even kids can be missionary disciples. A missionary disciple is someone who loves everyone, especially the ones that others ignore, are mean to, or who are not included in things.
We can make a difference in our world by being people who go out and share love like Jesus did. The bible tells us when we share love with others we will be happy and joyful.
OBJECTIVE: Students will consider how others discovered their call to go forth as missionary disciples and discern how God calls them to go forth today.
DRAW: Think of someone in our world, history, or your life who you look up too, or think has done something very special in their life. Draw a picture of what that person does or says that you think is good. Make sure your drawing has pictures of things that you would like to do that this person does to be a good person.
IN A GROUP, talk about the examples of people that we look up too and what you can do to be a good person and help others.
READ FAITH PERSPECTIVE
“Every one of us has something special God asks us to do. We need to help each other find out what that is,” says Maryknoll Father Daniel Kim. Fr. Kim’s mother helped him. She taught him about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. St. Thérèse said that we can share God’s love through everyday acts of kindness. “A missionary,” explains Fr. Kim, “is someone who shows the love of God through caring for others.”
Before Fr. Kim became a priest, he saw someone hurt someone else. When that happened he decided he needed to do something to help other people. He knew then that God wanted him to find a way to care for others. Then he met a Maryknoll priest who helped him find what God was asking him to do, which was to become a missionary priest. “I am happy when I see the love the Maryknoll Missioners have for their work,” he says, “and how they share God’s love with the people whom they care for, especially the people that others treat badly or ignore. When I saw how they cared for others I knew that God wanted me to do that too.
- How did the people Fr. Kim looked up to help him find what God was asking him to do?
- Who are the people in your life that others treat badly or ignore? How can you care for them and include them?
Ngoc-Hà Pham was born in Vietnam. When she was eleven years old, she left the country to escape war. For six months, she lived with her family in a refugee camp in Arkansas. She grew up to work as a nurse in the United States.
“I returned to Vietnam for a visit 20 years after my family had left,” she says. “One day, as I was looking out from a comfortable, air-conditioned hotel room and seeing so many people who did not have enough to eat or places to sleep, or the doctors they needed, I asked myself, ‘Where do I feel more at home? How best can I help others and love God?’ That’s when I decided to become a missionary.” She became a Maryknoll Sister and now works as a nurse in China, serving people with special needs.
She says that many of the people she works with cannot understand why she would choose to live and work so far from home. “I trust that I am not here on my own and that I am guided by God.” she says. “I am thankful to be here. I believe that from the very beginning God wanted me to be here.”
REVIEW AS CLASS:
- What experiences helped Sr. Pham find out what God was asking her to do?
- How does Sr. Pham use her hands to care for others?
Sr. Pham saw something out her window that made her want to change her life and care for others.
- Are there things that you see out your window or in the world that you would like to change? What are they?
- If there are things you would like to change, what can you do to help change them?
- Who are the people that you can ask for help?
- How can you live as a missionary disciple even though you are a kid?
RESPOND AS A CLASS
DISCUSS: as a class, was there one thing that a lot of people put on their hands and feet that was similar. Ask how as a class can we work together to make this something we can work on together. Talk about what this means and make a list of what this looks like in your classroom (for example: saying nice things, helping each other clean up, etc.). Encourage the students to think beyond the classroom too, try to find a project you can work on together as a class to show love beyond your immediate community.
DISCUSS: What did Jesus do during his life to let people know that God loves them? How did he treat people? Who did he talk to and who were his friends?
REFLECTON THE PAST YEAR: How have you treated others? Were there some people you were nice too? Were there some people you were not nice too? Did you do something good for someone you don’t normally do things for? Was someone nice to you that you did not know before?
Think of ways that you as a family can go forth this summer to share the Good News in your community and our world. Think of ways to pray, give, and act in ways that help others experience joy. Consider making hand and footprints of the ways you plan to pray, give and act this summer. Check in to see how you are doing each week and create new ones if new ideas come up.
Read Matthew 5:43-48. Who is it hard for you to love? How can you begin to show them love?
In Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis teaches that “the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others” (EG 39). As missionarydisciples, we are each called to “go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (EG 20). When we share this love, we experience joy, which is a sign that the Gospel is being proclaimed (EG 21).
While we are called to go forth to everyone without exception, we must “above all” seek to know and love “the poor and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, ‘those who cannot repay you’” (EG 48).