† A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 22:34-40
After Jesus had made the Sadducees look foolish,
The Pharisees heard about it and got together.
One of them was an expert in the Jewish Law.
So he tried to test Jesus by asking,
“Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”
Jesus answered: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’
This is the first and most important commandment.
The second most important commandment is like this one.
And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’
All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
After sharing the Gospel with your child, the prayer, reflection, questions, and activities below will help them to better understand the scripture message, and apply it to their lives. The following can assist you in breaking open the Word with your child.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that there are two main things we need to know about what He preached and the law of God. We are to love God more than anything else and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Simple, right? Yes and no! It is easy to understand the first part, loving God more than anything else, but it is not always so easy to do. For example, it can sometimes be hard to love God more than anything else on Sunday mornings when we would love to stay in bed or at home watching cartoons.
Jesus is kind of tricky with the second part. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Seems simple, but there are actually three things we need to be able to do. Before we can love someone else the way we love ourselves, we must first learn how to love ourselves. Next, in order to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must figure out who our neighbor is. Finally, we have to figure out how to love them. It can be very difficult sometimes, but Jesus is always there to help us because He loves EVERYONE, including us. If we ask Him, He will help us learn how to love everyone as we love ourselves.
1. Can you think of times when it is hard to love God more than anything else?
2. What are some of the ways we love ourselves and is this always easy?
3. Will doing whatever we want make us happy?
4. Who is Jesus talking about when He says, “Love your neighbor?” Is it only the people who live next door to us? Our family? Our friends?
5. Can you think of some example of how you love your neighbor as yourself?
Create Love Necklaces
Materials needed: 24 -inch pieces of yarn, Fruit Loops cereal and/or beads.
Preparation: Tie knots at one end of each piece of yarn. Tell your children that the yarn represents God’s love for him or her and when they finish the project, it will be made into a loop that will surround them as God’s love does. There will be three sections to the necklace.
Begin by asking your child to describe a way they show their love for God. They will then put a piece of cereal or a bead on the yarn for each example they give. Let your child give three or four examples. Then, put a different colored bead or a knot to separate these examples from the next set. Next, ask your child to give examples of how they love themselves and place a bead/cereal on the yarn for each example. Place a different colored bead or a knot to separate these from the 3rd set. Finally, ask your child to give examples of how they love their neighbors. Complete the activity by tying the two ends of the yarn together to make a necklace.