Year C: October 24
First Reading: Joel 2:23-32
Butterflies Under Our Hats by Sandy Sasso (Written for Grades PreK-2)
Comment: In her interpretation of this text, Donna Schaper speaks of the need to retrain our vision (Feasting on the Word, Year C Volume 4, p. 196-8). When we focus on our fear of the dark, we fail to notice the light of the night sky. The prophetic power of Joel’s message is that the light shining through the darkness, the abundance that follows years destruction, serves to remind Israel and us that God is in our midst. In Butterflies Under Our Hats, the woman in the purple hat shares this same prophetic message with the people of Chelm. Though they continue to experience some dark moments, the people hold onto the light because they remember the trace of hope under their hats.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
(Note that scholars consider this text to be written by a disciple of Paul. For the sake of simplicity, I refer to the author as Paul because the Epistle is written in his name.)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (Written for Grades 4-6)
Comment: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” As death is drawing near, Paul shares the story of his endurance and persistent dedication to his calling with Timothy. His words are intended to strengthen readers for their own races. The classic story Charlotte’s Web describes Charlotte’s persistent dedication to saving Wilbur’s life. As Paul has been a mentor to Timothy, Charlotte has been a mentor to Wilbur. On Charlotte’s last day, she shares her wisdom with Wilbur as she prepares to die: “We’re born, we live a little while, we die… By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
Third Reading: Luke 18:9-14
Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs by Phil Vischer (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: This parable can be confusing for children who see the world in binary terms of good and bad. Some children might identify with the Pharisee, others with the tax collector; neither is inherently good or bad and both need reminders of God’s grace. The Pharisee needs to hear that he cannot earn God’s love, the tax collector that God loves him. In Sidney & Norman God calls puffed-up pig Norman and sloppy pig Sydney to say, “I love you.” This story gives readers a glimpse of what occurs when the haughty is humbled and the humble is exalted. Sidney and Norman meet in the middle—as beloved children of God. Whether we humble or exalt ourselves, we all need to be reminded of God’s love for us and for others.