Children's Readings

Saying "I"m Sorry"

Opening Question: Has anybody ever told you they were sorry? Sorry about what? Did the words help heal your friendship and make things better?

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28

What would happen if God never created the words "I"m sorry"?
Let"s imagine such a world.
Hearts would never heal, because there would be no way to seal the wounds.
Parents would never hug their children.
Children would run away, and never return home.
Brothers would never call a girl "sister" with love.
Neighbors would live far apart.
The word "best" would never be with the word "friend,"
And the word "friend" would mean "someone you used."
There would be few roads to other towns or cities,
because no one would want to visit a place they didn't like.
Peace would be a foreign word, because we would always be at war.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us these two simple words: "I'm sorry."
Now hearts can mend and love again.
Parents can kiss their children good-night;
And children can come home to a warm, safe place.
Brothers will not hate their sisters forever
And sisters can have fun with their brothers.
Neighbors will live close to each other and be friends.
And it"s okay to have more than one "best friend" that you can trust.
Towns and cities will be connected by roads of ribbon and steel and wire.
There will be roads for cars and roads for the Internet.
There can be peace and happiness
because nations can say two simple words to each other.
"I"m sorry" are two powerful words we should celebrate
and thank God for.
With our sorrow comes God's forgiveness and his life.
We are his friends again.

Bridging Question: Imagine there were two brothers at their parents' party. When the parents asked the brothers to do something, one of the brothers said "No!" and embarrassed his parents in front of their friends. Later he felt bad about it, changed his mind, and did what they asked. What would happen to him?

Now, the other brother said "Yes," but didn't do anything. What happened to him?

Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32

Reader 1:

Jesus said to the Jewish leaders:

Reader 2:

"Tell me what you think about this story. There was a man who had two sons. Approaching the oldest son, the man told (him), "Go work in my vineyard today."

Reader 1:

"I don't want to," the oldest son answered. But he changed his mind and went to work.

Reader 2:

Then, approaching the younger son, the man told him the same thing.

Reader 1:

"Yes, sir, I will," the younger son answered. But he didn't go to work. "So," Jesus concluded, "which son did want his father wanted?"

Reader 2:

"The older one," the leaders answered.

Reader 1:

"Then, listen!" Jesus said. "Sinners will go into God"s Kingdom ahead of you. For John the Baptist came to all the people and showed everyone the right way to live. You didn't believe what he taught, but the sinners did. When you saw what happened, you did not later change your minds and believe what John said."

When Eric heard this story in church on Sunday morning, he felt bad. His brother got in trouble at the family picnic the day before, while he lied and didn't get in trouble.

Eric and his brother were playing "Hide 'N Go Seek" with their cousins just as the sun was setting at the park. "Eric," his mother called out, "you and your brother need to clean off our picnic table, so we can leave."

"Sure, Mom," Eric called out, but he just kept on playing. He just put off the chore for a little while.

When the sun had set, Eric's father called out. "Time to go home, Eric!" When Eric got to the car, everyone was silent. Eric soon sensed his brother was is real trouble. Half way home, Eric's father finally spoke to his brother. "Why did you tell me "No" in front of Grandma and Grandpa when I asked you to clean off the table?" his father asked in anger. Eric's brother sat looking out the window and said nothing. Finally, his brother mumbled, "I did clean off the table." No one listened. No one seemed to care.

In church, Eric heard the story and thought about his brother. His brother finally did what his father wanted him to do. But Eric didn't do what his father wanted and pretended nothing ever happened. Why should his brother get in trouble, while Eric didn't?

On the way home, Eric told the story to his family. He apologized to his parents for ignoring their chore and to his brother for keeping quiet.

Again, the car ride home was silent until Eric"s father spoke up. "I'm proud of you for apologizing, Eric," his father said. "But, how can you make up for yesterday."

"Let"s go to the movies. I'll pay for it out of my allowance," Eric said. Eric let his brother choose the movie they would see. Everyone seemed happy with that arrangement.

Like the younger son in the story, Eric just agreed to do his chore but did nothing. His brother embarrassed his parents, but did the chore, like the older son. In the end, Eric's brother did what his parents wanted.

God wants us to do what he asks of us. We can be like the older son, say "No!" but change our minds. Or, we can be like the younger son, say "Yes" but do nothing. The best choice is to say "Yes" to God and do what he wants.

Closing Question: Are obeying your parents and teachers sometimes hard? What can you do to make it easier? Remember, when you do good things for others your doing what God wants you to do.