Read the article 'Mercy notes: Mercy in the Church' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. What do you know about Luke’s Gospel? Go to catholicaustralia.com.au and read some background to Luke’s Gospel especially the section on ‘Themes in Luke’s Gospel’.
2. Go to Chapter 15 in Luke’s Gospel and read the three ‘Lost and Found’ stories. Which of the three appeal to you and why?
3. In the Corporal Works of Mercy, we are asked to feed the hungry and thirsty, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and visit those who are in prison. What are some of the things you could do especially over this Advent season that would make a difference to the life of someone else?
4. The article says, ‘The mission of the Church is the merciful pursuit of lost souls’. What could you do in your parish to fulfil this spiritual work of mercy? Teach catechetics, organise to send cards from the youth of the parish to families who have lost a family member?
1. Many homeless shelters need blankets, linen or towels for their clients. Contact your local St Vincent de Paul society and offer to have a collection at your school. Once you have received permission from them and your school, make posters or advertise through social media. Don’t forget to put a cut-off date and any other relevant information. Make sure the organisation that you are collecting for are prepared to collect them from you or make some other arrangement to have them delivered.
2. As this is the time of Advent, a time of preparation for Christmas, the birth of Christ, ask your RE teacher to organise for your class to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation before the end of term.
3. For those who may be leaving school at the end of 2017, why not get together with all the Year 12’s of 2017 in your school and work out something that you could do for those less fortunate than yourselves - ‘Coolies’ instead of ‘Schoolies’. Research some organisations that may need help in building, running a camp for disadvantaged children, packing and distributing Christmas gifts or hampers to the poor, repairing bicycles that may be donated.
For young students
1. Choose one of the stories from Luke 15 and read it to the students. What is the most important point in the story? What would be something you would not like to lose? If you did lose it and then found it how would you feel? What is Jesus really saying in the story?
2. What could we do to help those students who feel left out of friendship groups? What did Jesus do to make all people feel welcome?
3. Illustrate by drawing or painting one of the stories of Mercy from Luke’s Gospel. You could also write a poem or a modern story that has the same theme as the Scripture story. These can be put around the classroom for viewing and each student explains why they painted, drew or wrote what they did.
4. Organise a collection of dried groceries (pasta, tinned food, tea, coffee, sugar) by putting a box in each classroom and then at the end of term organise for them to be delivered to your local St. Vincent de Paul to be distributed to the many people who need your help over the Christmas period.
For further learning
1. Peter Fleming says the Catholic Church’s mission is the pursuit of lost souls. Do you agree? Why or why not?
2. What do you think people outside of the Church think our mission is? Is it close to what Peter Flemings says? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think others think that?
4. Imagine if all Catholics took the mission of the Church seriously. How would this change our communities and our Church?
5. How has Peter Fleming's article ‘Mercy notes: Mercy in the Church’ changed your view of your faith? Explain.