Year A: August 10, 2014
First Reading: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
(Written for ages 4 and up)
Comment: Mufaro has two beautiful daughters and each has the chance to become the Queen when the King sent a messenger from the city to find the most worthy daughter of the land to become his wife. Nyasha and Manyara, Mufaro’s daughters, are requested to go before the King. Manyara, the more selfish sister, sets out for the city ahead of her sister but pays no attention to the others she encounters along the way. Nyasha waits to leave with the traveling wedding party and offers kindness to those whom she encounters. Nyasha becomes the Queen because the King is one whom she encounters and treasures her kindness. Similarly, Joseph is mistreated by his brothers but ultimately becomes the royalty. Mistreated by his brothers, and cast down 3 times in the story, God raises up Joseph 3 times to bring him to a place of favor. Both stories tell of children who are favored by a parent, removed from the parent, and raised to a position of favor due to their kindness, despite the hatred they receive from their siblings.
Second Reading: Romans 10:5-15
Mary Wrigthtly, So Politely by Shirin Yim Bridges
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Mary Wrightly is a very polite, very quiet girl. While searching for a gift for her brother’s birthday, she encounters a packed store and realizes that she’ll have to be more outspoken if she wants to be able to get the gift she wants. When she sees it, and it’s taken, she summons the courage to speak up! This Romans passage tells us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” More than that, though, we see that others have to share the good news of Christ so that all might have the chance to be saved. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones, like Mary Wrightly did, in order to share the good news so that all may know and experience the joy that comes from nearness and accessibility to God.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Theo, Dash and Charlie set off on a boat venture to replace their mom’s blue seashell that they broke during an accident. While out the encounter interesting people, places and events on the seas and on islands. It’s only when they return home, after a storm on the boat, that they find the desired seashell and offer it to their mom who accepts it and forgives them, but still offers a bit of punishment. The disciples experience another storm on a boat story and become afraid of an image walking on water. Jesus appears to them and tells them to not be afraid, reminding them that he is Lord of all – the wind, the waves, the water and the sea, the characteristics of chaos in this gospel reading. In the end the disciples worship Jesus as the “Son of God,” recognizing his Lordship. Jesus again proves to be the “hero” of the story, despite the lack of faith of his disciples. The bears find what they needed despite their fears and faults. In the end the bears are welcomed home happily and forgiven by their mom, as the disciples are comforted and encouraged by their God.