You show us your love every day.
Thank you for the people in our lives who care for us, listen to us, and treat us with respect. Help us to appreciate that this love is a gift, and we are called to share it with others.
Give us the courage to go forth as Jesus did, sharing your love with people who are excluded, ignored, or in need. Help us to recognize that you speak to us through them.
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.
JOURNAL: Think of someone in our world, history, or your life who inspires you. What does this person believe in or stand for? What does this person do or say that shows what they believe?
IN A GROUP, discuss your own values. Create a list of ten values that are important to live by. EXTENSION: Rank the values from most to least important. READ FAITH PERSPECTIVE. DISCUSS: What do you think Fr. Kim believes in or stands for? What are his values? What people and events helped him discover these values? How? How does his faith and relationship with God help him understand his calling?
READ NEIGHBOR FOCUS. DISCUSS: What experiences helped Sr. Pham discover how God is calling her to mission? Why do you think she chooses to serve as a missionary disciple? How would you describe her relationship with God?
IMAGINE yourself looking out the window onto the world. What do you see that inspires you? How are people helping one another? What do you see that concerns you? Who is hurting, ignored, or in need? Imagine yourself in the picture, as well: What are you doing? CREATE A PICTURE of what you imagined. WRITE an explanation of your image that addresses the following: 1) Who and what did you draw? Why? 2) What values do you hope to bring forth into the world? Why does the world need these values? 3) How do you feel called to share God’s love in the world? Where and to whom will you go forth?
EXTENSION: Create a Go Forth Art Exhibit. Hang your artwork and explanations in a hallway or classroom and invite others to view your work. Stand next to your picture and explain how you feel called to share God’s love in the world. Share pictures of your work on social media. #DiscoverYourNeighbor
“Every one of us has a special calling and we need each other to discover that,” says Maryknoll Father Daniel Kim, adding that his calling is to be a missionary priest. Fr. Kim first learned what it means to be a missionary from his mother, who 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 reflects the love of God through service.”
Before Fr. Kim became a priest, he witnessed a terrible act of violence: someone being stabbed in a monastery. “That moment really shocked me into action, into discovering and trying to explore my calling in a deeper way.” Soon after, he met a Maryknoll priest who helped him discern his calling. “I am very moved by the genuine passion and love the Maryknoll Missioners have for their work,” says Fr. Kim, “and how profoundly they share the healing power of God’s love with the people whom they serve, especially with the people that society labels as misfits and outcasts.”
Ngoc-Hà Pham was born in Vietnam. When she was eleven years old, she fled 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 the harsh poverty of so many people, I asked myself, ‘Where do I feel more at home? How best can I serve 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 disabilities.
She says that many of her coworkers 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 the Holy Spirit.” she says. “I really appreciate being here. It is so much more than what I had hoped for. I believe that from the very beginning God led me here and opened the door for me.”
READ ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
6TH GRADE: Jeremiah 1:4-10
7TH GRADE: Matthew 28:1-20
8TH GRADE: Acts 2:1-13
REFLECT: Have you ever done something that scared you, but you knew it was the right thing to do? How did you feel afterwards? Why?
How does God help or encourage people in this passage to go forth in joy? What challenges or fears do they face? How do you think they feel after they do what God asks of them? Why?
WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY?
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.” As missionary disciples, 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.” When we share this love, we experience joy, which is a sign that the Gospel is being proclaimed.
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.’”
During the Easter season, we reflect on our call to share God’s love, especially with those we exclude, reject, and ignore. This is the mission that Jesus passes on to us in love.
Think of a classmate you would typically choose as a partner. Imagine walking to their desk. Now, look around the room and notice all of the people you would have passed by. ON AN INDEX CARD, list 3 to 5 classmates you rarely choose as partners (teachers will collect your cards). Each week, WRITE A JOURNAL REFLECTION about two things that you are glad happened in your life in the past week, and one thing you wished had not happened. DISCUSS what you wrote with a new partner each week from the list you created: Why are you grateful for the first two experiences? What can you learn from the third experience?
DISCUSS AS A CLASS: What changes have you noticed since you began partnering with new people each week? Do you feel any differently? Do you notice any changes in how people treat each other?
BRAINSTORM TOGETHER: Who are the people in your community and world that people exclude or ignore? Create a class list of ways you can go forth to share God’s love with them. (EXTENSION: Each week, put a sticker next to one item on the list that you commit to try. Discuss the joys and challenges you experienced.)
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and give us strength in our daily lives. The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are signs that the Holy Spirit is with us.
The fruits of the Spirit are “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1832
Pope Francis remind us “ We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love. That does not require extraordinary deeds but everyday acts of kindness.” Rejoice & Be Glad