Season of Sundays: February 4, 2018: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here are ideas for you to use in reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures with your classes.

Readings for February 4, 2018: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Job 7:1-4, 6-7
  • 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
  • Mark 1:29-39

“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

Jesus valued prayer to support his work.

Teaching for Primary Grades:

1. Tell the children to think ofsomething difficult they might have to do today in school or when they get home. Do they find a particular subject hard to learn? Is there someone in the class they don’t get along with very well? Will they have to do some job at home they don’t like? After each child thinks of something, give all the children quiet time to pray about these difficult things. Then ask how their prayer helps them to get ready for whatever the day brings.
2. Read the Gospel story in Mark 1:29-39. Ask the children if they think Jesus ever got tired of doing so much for everyone. What did he do early in the morning to get himself ready for a very busy day? Did that help his energy? Encourage the children to start every day with a little prayer.

Teaching for Intermediate Grades:

1. Read the Gospel and ask the students to help you list on the board all the things Jesus did during the two very busy days described in that reading. (Read the story a second time if needed.) What was the important thing he took time to do before his second busy day got started? How did that help him get ready for his day?
2. Assign the students to keep a record of their work every day for the next five days. They should list dates and times for every work/study-related activity, chores at home, help given to other people, and so on. Tell them to start on day three to take a little quiet time for prayer before beginning any work. At the end of the five days, students should write a  paragraph about any differences they noticed in their work on the days when they prayed first. Discuss this together.

Teaching for Secondary Grades:

1. Prepare the students to hear today’s Gospel story, telling them to listen carefully for any words or phrases that stand out for them. Then read Mark 1:29-39 slowly. Direct the students to express, without comment, the words that touched them. Give the same directions and read the passage again. Let the students share what touched them during this second reading of the Gospel. During a quiet period following this experience, let the students write some statements in their journals about why these words or phrases were significant for them.
2. Discuss what this story says about what Jesus relied on for doing his work of preaching and healing. How did prayer sustain and empower him? Could prayer help us to do well whatever we need to do each day? Encourage students to choose a time of day or night (whatever works best for them) to prayerfully prepare for their work.

Sr. Karen Berry is a Joliet Franciscan, a former teacher of high school religion and director of family programs of Religious Education, and currently a teacher of adult religion classes in several parishes in Tucson, Arizona.