Play “One of these things is not like the others” using this playlist. Or, make up your own game using items from around your house.
I hope that game wasn’t too difficult! In this game, there were things which were similar and one which didn’t “belong”. The things which belonged all had some similarities.
There are many things we “belong” to. Our family, clubs, sports, a group of friends.
- What are some other things you belong to?
- What do you share in common in some of these groups?
- Are there differences between the people in these groups also?
- So what does it mean to you to “belong”?
Read the gospel:
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”John 17:11B-19
In this gospel, Jesus is talking about keeping his followers safe. That means us! He says that the Father has given us to him. In effect, we belong to him. He speaks of protecting us, guarding us. He knows he will be leaving his earthly body, but he still wants to care for us.
Consider that God is community: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, or Lover, Beloved, Love. To belong to God means that God wants us to be in relationship with Him.
- How does it make you feel to know that you belong to God?
- How is belonging to God similar to belonging to your own family? How is it different?
- What can we do to strengthen the bonds of love within the family of God?
In the gospel, Jesus also makes it clear that we don’t belong to the world. We are in the world, but we should not have the strong attachment to the things of the world which we have to God.
We probably aren’t going to join the “Worldly Club” at school, but when we put things which are not of God before God, then we are saying we belong to those things first. As followers of Jesus, we should strive to follow God first. Jesus warns us that these things are dangerous and we need to be protected from them.
- What are some things of the world which we might be tempted to “belong” to?
- How can we resist letting ourselves become to attached to these things?
- Who can we ask for help when we feel like we are starting to belong to the world instead of Jesus?
This week, spend some time in prayer thinking about the different ways you belong to God. If you see anything dangerous in your life, ask God to keep you safe from it. Don’t forget to thank God for inviting you to join His family.