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Posts Tagged ‘messiah’

Sorry for the late posting. Life has been pretty busy for the past few days.
We had a good class Wednesday evening. Mrs. Rudolphi and I had our new photo sheets, so we at least knew the students’ names. It will still be several weeks before we really get a feel for the class and the students for us. As first glance, though, this looks like a good group.

As we did last week, we started instruction with the opening prayer. We emphasize the proper way to pray the Sign of the Cross. Many students are inclined to simply wave their hand in the general direction of their head and shoulders. We are teaching them that the Sign is a prayer and they should recite it slowly, with their hand touching their forehead, navel, left and right shoulders.

The first part of the lesson dealt with John the Baptist, Jesus’s baptism and the mystery of the Holy Trinity. We talked about John’s role as the precursor to Jesus. We also pointed out that this scene in the Bible that all three persons of the Trinity appear at the same time. (Jesus, the Holy Spirit as a dove, and the Father as a voice from the clouds)

This lead us to a discussion of what exactly is the Holy Trinity, specifically, how there can be one God, but three persons. We were discussing this and I was about to try to explain it when Monsignor Costigan and Paula Hubert walked in. Monsignor was on a recruiting mission for altar servers. I offered him the opportunity to explain the mystery. He declined but said he was interested in hearing my explanation. Gee, no pressure there. Explain the mystery of the Trinity to a group of fifth graders with the pastor listening and grading. I told the class that it wasn’t possible for us as humans to fully understand this mystery of God, but there are several explanations that might come close. I picked out two students and asked them about the various roles they have in life (brother, student, daughter, sister, athlete, friend, cousin, etc.) They are a single human being, but they have different sides to them depending on the role they are in at any moment. To the same extent, the three persons of the Trinity can be thought of as the different roles of God. The Father is the creator; the son is the savior or Messiah; and the Holy Spirit is the side of God who is with us every day and extends God’s love. It may not be the best explanation, but the class seemed satisfied, and so was Monsignor. Whew!

Our next section dealt with the various ways Jesus shows us God’s love. We passed out a sheet with four questions. We asked the students to read the page silently and find the answers to the questions in the text. Some of the various examples involved Jesus feeding people and curing a blind beggar. We also noted the way Jesus treated sinners. He did not shun them; he welcomed them and forgave them.
Our next section was to deal with the way Jesus invites people to follow him. We broke the class up into four groups of four students. We assigned each group a piece of the chapter. We asked them to read their section and then prepare to teach it to the rest of the class. We ran out of time before they had a chance to present their mini-lesson. We’ll tackle that first thing on Wednesday.

We finished, as we will every week, but going around the room and asking each student what they learned that evening. It took a little “teeth pulling,” but everyone was able to cite something. They were rewarded with a cookie.

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Sorry for the delay in posting this update. The past couple of days were just a little busy.

In any case, on Wednesday evening, we tackled the last six of the Ten Commandments. This was a rather unstructured, free-flowing discussion. Perhaps it was a little too unstructured, as keeping the class focused on a group discussion was a little challenge. The temptations of cutting up and chatting with one’s neighbors was more than some of our little band could withstand. Even so, it was fairly lively and most of the group was involved.

We started with a review of the first four commandments we covered last week, then moved on to the next set. Here are the key points we discussed.

“You shall not kill” – Surprisingly, there weren’t as many questions about this as I had anticipated. Some students were concerned about killing animals, like for food. Some others were concerned that God had killed in the Bible (the plagues on Egypt in Exodus and the Great Flood in Genesis.) We talked a little about self-defense and then moved on.

“You shall not commit adultery” – We defined “adultery” simply as breaking your marriage vows or “cheating” on your husband or wife. (There was no need to go into greater detail with this age group.) We jumped out of order and also included #9 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” in he discussion. We pointed out that both commandments underscore the importance God puts on the sanctity of marriage. While the adultery commandment is aimed at the married couple, the covet prohibition is targeted towards the third person in an adulterous triangle.

“You shall not steal” – This must have been self explanatory, as we had no questions or “…but what if?” scenarios.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” – The class understood the obvious point of the commandment. We elaborated a little and tried to relate it to their age group by including gossip in he conversation. They seemed to make the connection and understood how simple playground gossip can be harmful and run afoul of this commandment.

“You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor” – In earlier discussions, we defined “covet” (which was a concept that no one initially understood) as wanting something so much that you are willing to do something wrong to get it. We gave a few examples and the idea seemed to click.

In response to a question from one of the students, we had a discussion about why the Jewish people did not follow Jesus and become Christians. We provided some historical perspective and explained how in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection, here was much discussion in the Jewish and Christian community about the nature of Christ. Not everyone believed him to be the Messiah and the Son of God. Those who did followed the apostles and other early Christian leaders. Those who did not remained Jews.

As always, we concluded the class by polling each student and asking them to name one thing they learned that evening. Everyone who responded (and that was all of them), was rewarded with a homemade cookie.

This week, I may start with an exercise. We’ll break the class into small groups and ask them to imagine they are assigned to write a set of commandments for today’s fifth graders. It might be interesting to see what they come up with. They will probably take around half the class period. During the second half, we will cover the upcoming season of Lent.

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Sorry for the late posting. I was out of town all day Thursday.

We aren’t making much progress as far as the textbook is concerned, but we are having some interesting class sessions and discussions.

We started with a review of Matthew Chapter Two. Actually, for most of the class, it was an initial impression as they indicated they had not read it at home during the week. Oh well. This chapter involves the visit of the Magi, Herod’s treachery, the flight to Egypt and Herod’s murder of all the male babies in Bethlehem. Also, in this one chapter, Matthew makes several references to Old Testament prophecies. We talked about all kinds of things, including Herod’s motivation for wanting to kill the infant Jesus. We discussed Matthew’s use of the prophecies as part of his ongoing campaign to establish Jesus’s credentials as the Messiah.

As that discussion was winding down, Father John stopped in for a visit. The class kept him busy with questions on anything and everything they could think of. One big question was why God allows evil in the world. I can’t even begin to remember the rest of them.

Next week, we plan on completing our introduction to the Sacraments.

Also, parents, please ask your child to read Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

 

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