Have you ever asked your kids to pick up the books strewn all over their rooms? And, then, when you come back five minutes later, the books are still there, but the stuffed animals are put away? Then you ask them again to put away the books. Another five minutes goes by, and they’ve gathered up their dirty clothes instead, or put their blankets back on their beds, or stuffed the dolls back in their place, or pretended to “organize” by stacking up the loose papers. Now we’ve got a near occasion of sin on our hands as we moms try to stifle to urge to yell. They’re doing good things, after all, but they’re NOT doing what we asked.
The same thing happens to us (or is it just me?!) when God calls us down a particular path. If we’re uncomfortable with it, we find a different “good” thing to do instead to justify our disobedience. This week’s Gospel deals with just that. We’ve piled on burden after burden in our lives that God never asked us to take responsibility for! His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
Now let’s talk about “easy.” My heart broke when I found out that the word used in the original text is more accurately translated as, “well-fitting.” God’s yoke fits our needs for our journey to holiness. It is NOT easy. It IS made especially for us, to make us the very wonderful person He created us to be. It IS going to be difficult. Conversely, the yokes we’ve chosen for ourselves don’t fit well, always hurt, and don’t get us any closer to the comfort of heaven. If we follow the call of the Holy Spirit and live by the Spirit, as St Paul explains in the second reading, we will live.
Isn’t that what we’re all seeking right now as we see covid-19 numbers skyrocket? Aren’t we seeking life? Many people think that getting back to “normal” is what will make the world better. But, if you take a closer look, it’s easy to see that the normal we were used to is exactly the reason why everything is so hard now. Covid-19 did not break our world. It highlighted and exploited the massive cracks already there that were being ignored. We’ve been living too much according to the flesh, and so our way of life is dying, just as St. Paul says it will.
CHRIST REVEALS GOD THE FATHER: Our picture at the top of this post is also our craft suggestion. Take a piece of white paper. Draw a heart or other symbol of God the Father on it in white crayon. Tape an image of Jesus (this one is from our Road to Emmaus post) onto a paint brush. Get out the water colors and let Christ “reveal” God the Father to your kids.
CHRIST REVEALS GOD THE FATHER BOX: Take the lid off of a shoe box or any box with a removable lid. Inside the bottom of the box, glue in an image of God the Father. You can use this one from TheCatholicKid.com, or grab your own from your stash of religious images. Next, find a see-through-ish paper. It could be wax paper, parchment, velum, tracing paper, etc. On that, trace an image of Jesus’s face. Something like this would work. Cut out they eyes. Tape your image of Jesus over the top of the box, making sure that Jesus and God the Father are both facing the same direction. If you look through Jesus’ eyes, God the Father is revealed!
Family Resources and Activities
Gospel: “Come to me all who labor and are burdened . . .”
Saint: St. Maria Goretti, June 6
Sacrament: Anointing of the Sick
Prayer: Glory to God
Work of Mercy: Comfort the Sorrowful
Extensions: oxen and taking care of livestock, little and big, world geography, fasting
SIGN UP FOR SALESIAN SISTERS SUMMER CAMP: Ok, it doesn’t necessarily go along with the liturgy, but it is so joy-filled and prayer-filled, I can’t praise it enough. Sign up here, and check out the extra activities on their blog.
BACKPACK SWITCHEROO: Get out one bag or backpack for each person in the family. Fill it with age-appropriate books, clothes, shoes, chore list, etc. Give each one to the wrong person. Have them put on the clothes, try to read the books, and do the assigned chores while wearing the shoes. Even if the bag given is easier than what’s appropriate, it’s boring because they’re passed the skill level needed. And, of course, the clothes and shoes just won’t fit. Explain that God wants to give us just what we need to grow and get to Him. When we try to take someone else’s yoke, it doesn’t help, it’s just hard.
FILL MY CUP: Using the same idea as above, get out different sized cups. Fill each one all the way up with water. Give out the cups to the wrong family member – a small cup for the biggest, a huge cup for the smallest. Let everyone drink, or try to drink, everything in their cup. The idea is to make the biggest in the family thirsty still, and the littlest overwhelmed by how much they have to drink.
COME TO ME: Head over to Sermons4kids.com to check out their beautiful list of activities. They’ve also got great worksheets for older kids that are in the download and print links below.
The YouTube playlist for this week doesn’t have a ton, but I managed to find a few. There was one that looked like it would be great, with kids talking about what a yoke is and what it means — right up until they started describing how other religions are hard and require lots of prayer and work. Sigh. Anyway, be careful out there with what you show your kids!
ABOUT MARIA GORETTI on the Loyola Press website.
ABOUT TEMPERANCE in the Catechism, or order a new book on virtues for kids from CatholicSprouts.
ABOUT GLORY TO GOD and it’s history on Aleteia.org. Sing it with some of the videos on our YouTube playlist.
ABOUT ANOINTING OF THE SICK on LoyolaPress.com and in the Catechism of the Seven Sacraments.
Download and Print
COLORING PAGES for Maria Goretti and the anointing of the sick on TheCatholicKid.com, for the Gospel reading on HolyHeroes.com, for Temperance on LooktoHimandbeRadiant.com.
WORKSHEETS from Seromons4kids.com, including a crossword, fill in the blank, wordsearch (which my 4-year-old uses to circle all of the letters), and maze. Don’t forget your quiz on HolyHeroes.com, too.
- Talk about how well God knows you and knows exactly what you need. Make sure it’s clear that our needs are not the same as our wants, and that what we need isn’t always something we like. This is an easy discussion at dinner when trying to get the kids (and adults!) to eat their vegetables.
- Make a family commitment to fasting and explain how our temperance in small things can help others just like prayer does. Offer up the sacrifice of extra food or screen time or even listening to music to bless other people who are suffering so much right now.