Follow Jesus

13th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year C

In today’s Gospel we witness Jesus’ determination to finish what he was sent to do. He proceeds towards Jerusalem, he is “resolutely determined” to arrive there. Our personal agendas are full. However, it does not necessarily mean that all that we do is to our benefit. As parents, you greatly influence how your children pass their time, what they do after school. Are they profiting from all the activities they do?

You help your children to take decisions and to face consequences when they make wrong choices. How many times, do you, for example, insist that before playing or watch a favourite program, they are to finish their homework, or some chore which you asked them to do? This is good upbringing; in this way, the children, will learn to restrain themselves. They will learn that there are consequences for their decisions. This also effects their Christian life. Jesus is very clear. We cannot follow him and not be committed. If we want to follow him, all of us, no matter our age, need to keep him as our life’s priority.

Priorities for parents are concrete and real. They cannot continue with the same lifestyle as when they were without children. Whilst bringing the children up, due to commitments the children have, often parents have to give up some hobbies they may have had. They do this willingly because they love their children. They do not do this, because they do not have another choice, they freely choose to do so. This is what Jesus is asking of us. If parents did not love their children, if children where not a priority for them, they would not make such sacrifices for them, they will not give up something to give time and attention to their children. Similarly, if we do not know Jesus, if we do not love Jesus, he cannot be a priority in our lives. We should not do what Jesus asks only because we think that we have no choice. We follow Jesus because this is the only choice we willingly want to make. Jesus is asking us to make choices, which he himself made before us. Jesus was determined to do what the Father was asking of him. When Jesus replies to those three men, who wanted to finish off some other project, before following him, he shows us that it is not easy to be a disciple. It is not a comfortable choice since it implies total commitment. Jesus is not asking us to ignore our responsibilities and to follow him instead. We should we Jesus as our priority.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 9, 51-62) 

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. How are you helping your children to follow Jesus? How important is Sunday mass to you? What importance do you give to Christian formation, what is your attitude towards your own formation and that of your children? Do you pray on your own, and as a family?
  4. What is currently hindering you and making it difficult for you to follow Jesus?
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St Luke (9, 51-62)
    ii. A white candle
    iii. Cover the table with a white cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the readings and clips
    v. An icon or picture of the Holy Trinity
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 

IHave you ever played, ‘Follow the leader’? In this game, the one who is at the front is the leader, the others follow him and do whatever this person does. If the leader jumps, the ones behind, jump too. If the leader bends down, they bend down, if the leader scratches his head, the rest will do the same. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to follow him, he wants to be our leader. Let us listen, to what our leader, Jesus, wants to tell us today.

Coming soon.

  • We follow Jesus when we do what he asks
  • Printout of the activity
  • Scissors
  • Colours
  • Tape

Have your parents ever asked you to do something, you started doing it but then stopped and started doing something else? For example, you start picking up your toys but halfway, you started playing a game on your tablet and the toys remained on the floor! What made you stop picking them up?

Most probably you stopped picking up the toys because the game was more interesting! At that moment, the game was more important to you, it was more important than obeying your parents. The game distracted you from what you were doing.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that if we are to follow him, we cannot allow other things to distract us. Jesus wants us to follow him, he wants us to know that this is very important.

How will we follow Jesus?

We follow Jesus when we do what he wants. We follow Jesus, when we do what is most important, and not necessarily, what we feel like doing. For example, it is important to obey and Jesus wants us to obey. Surely, Jesus was not pleased when we stopped picking up the toys and started playing. 

How will we know what Jesus wants? How will we know what is the most important thing to do?

The most important thing to do is to love Jesus and others. Therefore, before doing something, we should ask if what we are going to do, will be a loving action. When we obey our parents, we will be loving them. Sometimes it is difficult to do what Jesus wants, because we would be enjoying doing something else. For example, on Sunday, we may be watching a favourite program and it is time to go to mass with your parents. What will you do?

If you stop watching the program and go to church, you would be following Jesus.

What else can we do to follow Jesus?

We follow Jesus when we help and love others, when we pray, when we learn about Jesus, when we do what he wishes. It can be easy to forget all this when other things distract us! Today’s activity will help us remember what we are to do to follow Jesus. 

Colour the picture of Jesus. With the help of an adult, cut out the footprints. You have different pictures in the footprints. Which of these show that when you do that action, you are following Jesus?

That’s right! You chose well. Now that you have chosen the right pictures, with the help of your parents, use the tape to fix them somewhere where you can see them, for example on the fridge or on your bedroom door, or on the door of your wardrobe. First fix the picture of Jesus, then the footprints which show what you are to do to follow Jesus.

Whilst colouring the picture of Jesus, listen to, I have decided.

Sign of the Cross

Dear Jesus, help us to make right choices. You know that we can easily let other things distract us from what you want us to do. Thank you, Jesus, for always being with us and for showing us the right path to take. Amen. 

Who are those who follow Jesus? Are we with this group? Let us listen to the Gospel, to discover what the qualities of a follower of Jesus should be.

Coming soon.

  • To follow Jesus, we cannot just do what we feel like
  • Printout of the activity on construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencils 

What makes you happy? (allow the children to mention the things/activities which make them happy)

You have mentioned many things, but did you realise that to do an activity or to obtain something, we have to make a choice? For example, if I want to play football and I am part of a nursery, when it is time for a game, I will stop whatever I am doing and go to play. In winter, when it is cold, I might not feel like going out! However, I have committed myself to my team. It would not be right should I decide to stay home where it is warm. 

This is precisely what Jesus told to those three men who wanted to follow him. They wanted to be with him, yet they also wanted to do something else. What they wanted to do was not wrong. However, they had to make a choice. They could not do both things. To follow Jesus, we need to make some choices, and it could mean saying no to something which we would like to do.

In the coming months, or years, you will be celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation. This is a sacrament, which asks us to say ‘yes’ to Jesus. We confirm that we want to be his disciples, that is, we want to follow him and encourage others to follow him too.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shows us that we cannot be ‘part-time’ disciples. It is a serious decision. That is why, you prepare yourselves to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation, because you are making a decision which will be for a lifetime. You will be deciding whether or not you promise that Jesus will be first, that you will follow him, that he will be a priority in your life. 

What does it take to follow Jesus? Today’s activity will help you clarify what it means to be a disciple. Cut out the footprints. In each one, you have something which you are asked to do, for example, show love. In the space provided, write down examples of what you can do to show others that you love them. Fill in all the footprints.

Note to parents: make more than one copy, so that you too, do this exercise with the children.

When you are ready, fix them with tape somewhere where you will see them, for example, with your bedroom door. When you see them, you will remember what you are to do to be disciples of Jesus.Whilst cutting the footprints, listen to, Fixin’ my eyes on you.

Sign of the cross.

Say the prayer of St Francis, which expresses the qualities of a disciple of Jesus.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.