Sunday, January 22, 2023
In Year A, these readings inspire us to understand that Jesus has saved us and we are called to spread that good news to others. In the first reading (Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3) we hear that Jesus ushers in a new era of freedom and salvation. The psalm (Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14) reaffirms that the Lord is our salvation. In the 2nd reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17) Paul reminds us that we must be united in our efforts to evangelize. And in the Gospel (Matthew 4:12-23) we hear Jesus calling Simon Peter and Andrew to join him in spreading the Good News.
He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”Matthew 4:19
Sunday, January 15, 2023
For Year A, the readings inspire us to think about the call to holiness and the need to declare that Jesus has died for our redemption. In the first reading (Isaiah 49:3, 5-6), we hear one of the “Servant Songs”. The psalm (Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10) is a prayer of both thanksgiving and lament. The second reading (1 Corinthians 1:1-3) evokes the call to holiness. The Gospel (John 1:29-34) recalls the public actions of John the Baptist to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God. John the Baptist recalls the baptism of Jesus and that he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus.
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.John 1:34
Fish bowl toss is an easy game which is a take on a traditional carnival game. Use this for youth ministry or VBS.
In the traditional game, if you land your ball in a bowl with a fish, you get a live goldfish! But this version does not have live fish. Instead, you can give your participants the toy fish from the bowl or have a bag of Swedish fish handy to give as prizes.
- 24 inexpensive fish bowls or large mason jars
- plastic goldfish
- ping pong balls – 3 per player, can reuse
- Something to give as prizes – extra toy goldfish or Swedish fish or carnival prizes
- Fill each bowl about 3/4 full of water.
- Drop a plastic fish in 8 of the bowls. The fish should sink to the bottom of the bowl.
- Arrange the bowls very close together on a table.
- Give each player 3 ping pong balls.
- Have them stand a few feet away from the table and try to toss their balls in the bowls.
- If a ball lands in a bowl with a fish, they get a prize. If it does not land in a bowl or lands in a bowl with no fish, then they don’t get a prize.
This is a game for youth group or youth ministry where players try to get each other to say no. It could be used at a meeting about saying “yes” instead of “no”. It also works in well with the Annunciation and Mary’s fiat when she said “yes” instead of “no”.
To make it more challenging, you can also include “not”, “none”, “negative”, “never”, “nobody”, “none”, “nothing”, and “nowhere”.
For a super challenging version, after a few minutes of normal play, you can disallow any words which start with the letter “N”.
- tokens such as poker chips or small stones – one for each youth
- Give each youth a token.
- They mingle in the room and ask each other questions, trying to ask things which will get the other one to say no.
- If a youth uses the word “no” in their answer:
- If the person asking the question still has one or more tokens, the youth who used the word “no” must give all of his or her tokens to the questioner.
- If the person asking the question doesn’t have any tokens (because they were lost to someone else), the youth who used the word “no” must give one token to the questioner
- If a person asks a question, they must also answer a question from the other person.
- Once both people have asked and answered a question, they should move on to somebody else.
- The person with the most tokens at the end wins.
This is a fun game to go with a meeting focused on stubbornness or belief. Or just for fun. Your teens will love it. Each team must try to melt a giant ice cube.
- several large heart shaped ice molds or paper cups – approximately 8oz (need one large piece of ice per team)
- Fill each mold or paper cup with water and freeze overnight until solid.
- Release the ice from the molds or peel the paper off of the ice if using cups. You might have to run a little warm water to do this.
- Divide the group into teams of 3 – 6 players.
- Give each team a giant ice cube and a towel or two to soak up the water.
- Instruct them to melt the ice. They can do in any appropriate manner they want. Hold it in their hands. Sit on it. Stick it in their armpit. You might want to establish a “no putting it in your pants or bra rule”.
- The first team to completely melt their ice cube wins.
This is a game which helps youth understand the importance of clear instructions and helping each other stay on the right path. It goes well with a meeting focused on friends or the teaching of the Church.
The idea is that one youth gives instructions to other youth who are blindfolded. The first team to get everyone to “heaven” wins.
If you want to use this game to teach how the Church’s teachings make it easier for people to get to heaven, have three teams. Call one team “Catholics”, one team “Christians”, and one team “non Christians”. The “Catholics” play with normal rules. The person giving instructions for the “Christians” can only use words which have four letters or less. The person giving instructions for the “non Christians” can only use words which begin with vowels. (Or make up your own restrictions.) This will show how everyone can get to heaven, but it is easier for Catholics.
How to Play Guide Me to Heaven Game
- Something to mark the finish line to heaven, such as two chairs
- Some obstacles for the play area that the players must navigate around – chairs, tables, etc.
- blindfolds having a different color for each team works well
- Divide the group into two or more teams. Each team should choose a leader.
- All of the team members except the leader should be blindfolded.
- Line up each team at the start line.
- The team leaders should be near the finish line. Each leader gives verbal instructions to the first team member to help them navigate to the finish line.
- When one team member gets to the finish line, the next team member in line can start receiving instructions.
- The first team to get all of their members to “heaven” wins.