Power and Patience
Opening Question: Imagine you could give someone you know a name (like Swift Soccer Forward or Math Brain) that told people who they were. What is that name?
First Reading: Exodus 3:1-8a,10,13-15
Paul and Theo were decided to form a club with a secret handshake and a secret code words. One of the code words would be names for each other. Paul was called "Thunder Heels" since he ran so fast that those who raced him could only hear him in the distance. Theo was called "Silver Wings" because he loved to build remote controlled airplane models. The boys believed their code names revealed the powers they had.
At school, every one wondered what the two boys talked about and what the names meant. Some students laughed at the boys, others thought the names were cool. Soon others joined the boys joined the club and took names that told others what sort of thing they were good at. Names like "Eagle Eye" and "Golden Foot" told others of the wonder powers new members had.
In the time of Moses, people named their children like Paul and Theo; names told others of personal powers. They even named their gods to tell others of the gods' so-called power. It was no surprise that Moses asked God his name; Moses wanted to know God's power. But God simply answered "I AM." God was saying "I AM the power before you," "I Am the one that made you," "I AM the one who will save you and the Israeli people," "I AM here."
Do we know that God has power? Yes! But he is so powerful, he has the power of patience. In our next story we will learn about that power.
Bridging Question: How hard is it to be patient, especially with people who make you mad? Isn't easier to get back at them?
Gospel: Luke 13:5-9
Jesus told the people a parable. "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He looked for fruit on the tree, but didn't find any. So he said to the gardener, "Look at this tree! For the past three years, I've come looking for fruit on this tree. But, I don't find any! So, cut it down. Why does it waste good soil?'"
''Sir,' the gardener replied, 'leave it alone for a year. I will dig a trench around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, great! If it doesn't, then you can cut it down.'"
Kathy and Tammy were playing softball at recess. Kathy was up to bat. On the third pitch, Kathy swung hard and connected. A long fly ball sailed to center field. Tammy ran as hard as she could and took a back hand stab at the ball. Firmly in her glove, Tammy put her arm in the air to show every one, that, indeed, she had caught the ball. By that time, Kathy was rounding second base. But, instead of running to the bench to get her glove, Kathy waited to confront her friend Tammy.
"Why did you show off?" Kathy challenged her friend. "You just had to show everyone that you're a 'hot shot!' So you caught the ball. Big deal!"
"You're jealous?" Tammy inquired.
"Don't!" Kathy snapped back. "You...you..." Then she turned to both teams. "Hey, everyone! Here comes the 'Hot Shot!'"
Tammy was embarrassed. She wanted to get back at Kathy. But, Tammy walked away to cool off; she wanted to think about what she might say to Kathy. Finally, Tammy knew what she had to say.
After school, Tammy stopped her friend. "Kathy," Tammy said calmly "when you called me a 'Hot Shot' in front of everyone, you really hurt my feelings." Then Tammy quietly waited for Kathy's reply. At first Kathy didn't say anything, but finally she apologized. Tammy walked over to Kathy, patted her on the back in a way that said "I forgive you." Then the girls went out to play.
God has patience like Tammy. He gets hurt by our words and the way we ignore him. But he has the power of patience. He wants us to talk to him, to tell him we are sorry for hurting him and others, and to be friends with him again.
Like the fig tree, he wants to see us produce good fruit: being kind to others, helping them when they are down, helping others we do not even know. He wants to give us a chance. But he does not want us to use those chances to ignore him, like the tree with no fruit. Let us talk to him in prayer and show him our love in the way we treat others.
Closing Question: How can we be patient with others, the way God is patient with us?