Here are ideas for you to use in reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures with your classes.
- Sirach 15:15-20
- 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
- Matthew 5:17-37
“Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:19b).
Jesus commands us to always choose the more loving action.
Teaching for Primary Grades:
- Prepare sets of flashcards to show to the class in the following pairs:
- Don’t hit someone./ Don’t even want to hit someone.
- Love your friend./ Love someone who was mean to you.
- Don’t do mean things./ Don’t say mean things.
- Don’t hurt someone more than they hurt you./ Don’t try to get even.
- Go to church./ Make up with someone you fought with before you go to church.
As you show each pair, ask students which one is harder to do. Tell them that before Jesus was born, people had commands from God to follow. Jesus told them to continue to keep those commands (statements on the left) but he challenged them to keep the harder commands, too (statements on the right).
Give drawing paper to the children and tell them to draw a picture of themselves doing one of the harder commands. Let them share and explain their drawings.
Teaching for Intermediate Grades:
Give a copy of Matthew 5:21-48 to each student. Have them work in threes to make a list of all the ways Jesus asks people to be even better than what the law commands. Let the groups present their lists to the class when finished. This could be done by having each group write one example on the board until no one has anything new to add.
Let students express what they think about these harder challenges Jesus introduced. How would keeping his commands make the world even better than just following the original commands? Read Matthew 5:17-20. Explain who the scribes and Pharisees were (teachers of the original laws). Note that Jesus told people to do even more than what teachers of the law were requiring.
Teaching for Secondary Grades:
Have students use their Bibles to read this week’s Gospel. Then direct them to write an essay on the more perfect law of Jesus, developing one paragraph for each of the following ideas:
the kinds of things Jesus wanted people to do that would require even more goodness than the law required;
the difficulties people might encounter if they tried to live as Jesus suggested; and
the kind of local community that would emerge if everyone in it lived the more perfect way.
Group the students in threes or fours to share their essays and draw out the best ideas from each one. Share with the class. Comment on aspects of each report and challenge students to attempt some of Jesus’ suggestions, such as not expressing anger or using abusive language.