Friday of the Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings: 2 John 4-9; John 13:34-35

[This was Mass for the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade school children.]

Today we celebrate a Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  We celebrate Jesus’ Sacred Heard because we always think of love as coming from the heart, and we know that Jesus, our God, is love.

Last week, I read our Kindergarteners a story about how God loves us.  The Wemmicks were a little village of wooden people, kind of like puppets.  They used to give each other stickers.  The really talented, beautiful, special people used to get pretty star stickers.  The ones who had trouble doing anything good, or who weren’t so nice to look at, they got gray dot stickers.

Punchinello used to get lots of gray dots because he was really clumsy, and his paint was chipped and scratched.  He would often say silly things or make mistakes, and so he got lots and lots of gray dots.  He was very sad about that until he met a wooden girl who didn’t have any stickers at all.  She didn’t have stickers because the stickers wouldn’t stick to her.  Punchinello asked her about that, and she said she used to get a lot of stickers until she met the puppet maker.

Punchinello went to meet the puppet maker too.  He explained to Punchinello that the stickers only stick if you let them.  The puppet maker didn’t care what other people thought about Punchinello because he loved him no matter what he looked like, or what he said, or what he did.  When Punchinello started to understand that, one of his dot stickers fell off.

The Church teaches us that God loves us very much, just like the puppet maker.  He loves us because he made us.  So when he looks at us, he doesn’t see if we’re beautiful or not.  He doesn’t see how high we can jump, or how nicely we dance, or how beautiful our clothes are or how smart we are.  He sees us for what we are: wonderful people who were made by God, and are special just because God made us.

That kind of love is really wonderful.  It’s the kind of love that lets us know that we can live our lives in happiness because God loves us.  It lets us know that we can do anything God calls us to do.  It lets us know that no matter what other people think of us, we are wonderful in God’s eyes.

But love like that can’t be kept.  Just like the wooden girl who told Punchinello about the puppet maker, we have to tell other people how much God loves them.  We have to take God’s love and spread it around.  The really wonderful thing is that no matter how much we share God’s love, we’ll never run out of it.

So today we’re going to ask all of you children to spread that love around.  After Communion, you are all going to come forward to receive a blessing.  We’ll say “God loves you.”  And you’ll say, “Amen.”  Then we will give you the name of someone in your class.  You then have to find a way to spread God’s love to that person.  Maybe you can help that person if they’re having trouble one day.  Maybe you can sit next to them at lunch.  Maybe you can invite them to play with you and your friends at recess.  Maybe you can just tell them they are wonderful and that you love them just like God loves them.

I know that you will find a way to spread that love around.  We don’t need to be giving people gray dots or shiny stars.  We don’t need to say bad things about people.  We just need to let them know God loves them.  And we can do that, because God loves us first and best.