This Week’s Free Thing!
Nope, we’re not passing the collection plate for these. Although you can hit that donate button anytime!
These are not the only free things on the site, just where our weekly Free Thing is that everybody talks about.
We WOULD love it if you gave us your email address so we can notify you each week when the next Free Thing is available (are you really gonna remember to check each week? 83% of our downloaders don’t!).
It isn’t required, though. But, please? Pretty please?
When we do our part, God multiplies it beyond our imagination.
Jesus feeds us from our offerings by taking what is our gift to Him and giving it to others.
This week we explore the multiplying of the loaves and fishes, seeing how it is foretold in the 2 Kings and discussing Paul’s teaching on how to live like Jesus.
Our activity this week is a Lord’s Day Celebration. A perfect way to prepare for Mass, and making mealtime so much more meaningful and drawing the family closer together.
Beth and Kristofer explain what This Week’s Free Thing is all about.
The Lord’s Day Celebration is a great way to add Jesus to your family meal once a week, in preparation for Mass.
This simple celebration brings the family closer to God and each other in a short ritual that gives parents a way to integrate faithful living into a time when all the family is gathered and ready, and provides opportunity for everyone to participate.
Give your family and yourself this gift and watch their and your faith life grow quickly and your relationships get closer.
As a bonus, there’s a quick and easy bread recipe included.
Are we prepared to be Disciples and Prophets?
This week we discuss Amos and his hesitation, Paul and the Kerygma, and how ready were the Apostles when Jesus sent him out for a little practice?
All of the readings point to preparation for evangelization, and how we should prepare not just for that but for everything in our lives by first relying on Our Lord.
And, or course, He is always preparing us. In the activity, which is a brief prayer, we get that opportunity to really see how He is preparing us.
Which makes the answer to the question a positive, resounding: Yes!
By Order of The King: You need a break!
Everybody knows about shepherds in the Bible – you cannot avoid them!
Why does God use these humble servants as examples, and what about the bad shepherds?
More importantly, why don’t we ever think of ourselves as shepherds of the little flock He has given us?
This week, we get sheepish on you, And give you a great, simple, yet powerful activity to do as The Lord says in his teaching this week: Come away and rest awhile.
Start by taking a three-minute break and reading up on the Mass lesson this week – then drive the flock somewhere. You’ll see…
You are a Prophet!
What? Don’t you wish you could tell the future! But to be a prophet is not about telling the future. Somewhere we all lost that definition of “prophet” and “prophecy”.
If you are a baptized Christian, you are a prophet – believe it or not!
In this week’s lesson, we see Ezekiel and Paul as they sacrifice to share the Truth. And we see Jesus fail to convert others, though He is sharing the Truth. He is sharing himself and some still do not believe!
The activity is a short discussion idea that is perfect for the dinner table. Or the car. And we learn a new word:
Wisdom is hard to come by. It requires practicing the three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.
This week we dive into these virtues as we join Jesus in his ministry, healing the hemorrhaging woman and raising a girl from the dead.
These are touching stories that we can all relate to, and they show us Jesus’ humanity and his divinity, something the Apostles struggled with, and we still have trouble understanding.
We explore these concepts, these virtues, and wisdom, and have a fun family activity to help us remember these things throughout the week.
In Mass this week, Jesus rebukes a storm, teaching the frightened, suffering Apostles how to rebuke the storms in their lives by being quiet, being still.
This week, the lesson is all about understanding our suffering and how to deal with it. Job, probably the most well-known suffering servant in the Bible after Jesus, gets us started in the readings, and we learn from Paul that better days await us.
Our discussion helps us know everyone suffers, and our activity helps us put our suffering in God’s hands, and see it from His perspective.
The activity gives us an excuse to get outside with each other. Take advantage of it!
What’s in a mustard seed?
Jesus talks a lot about mustard seeds, and this week we get Ezekiel in on the action. Palm trees, cedar trees, mustard trees!
Are we like these seeds? Can God create from us who we truly are supposed to be, and what we are truly supposed to do, as unique, unrepeatable individuals in this specific place and time? Paul encourages us this week to be courageous and aspire to please God – like these great trees!
Even the Alleluia gets in on the seedss: “The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will live forever!”
Is our faith open enough to let Him bloom in us the great comfort and strength, conviction and growth for others as He build his kingdom?
Break out the baby pictures! The activity this week is fun, and it starts with looking at a mustard seed and seeing the size of the tree it grows into (HINT: That’s it above!)
The source and summit of our Catholic Faith is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. He is actually present – physically – in the Eucharist. Finding God is easy as a Catholic – He comes to Mass every day and leaves inside us.
This week we talk about the Institution Narrative in the Gospel of Mark that we will hear in the Gospel Reading at Mass on Sunday.
We discuss the mystery and reality of Jesus being present at Mass with us and in us, and our activity is a solemn one we should do every Sunday – at least!
Plus, links to several Spiritual Communions and a link to the Code of Canon Law to see if you are able to receive Communion in the Catholic Church.
That’s a lot packed into 459 words and less than three minutes of your time!
What is the Most Holy Trinity?
Well, that is the mystery – the central mystery – of our faith. In this lesson, we discuss the meanings of both, the basic justification for the understanding we have, and how this and other mysteries have been revealed to us, the Church.
And there is a simple activity that perhaps we should all be doing anyway…
FINALLY! The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in this long and glorious story leading up to the birth of The Church.
Wait…what? Didn’t Jesus give them the Holy Spirit already?
Aha! There’s the rub. There is a big difference between being given something and receiving it.
In this lesson for this coming Sunday’s Mass readings. Beth explores that strange but true fact and shares its connection with our Baptism and our entire life.
The activity is simple and fun, and a little exasperating probably, especially if you like fruit or sweets…
Ascension Thursday is an important and necessary part of Salvation History – without it, The Catholic Church would not exist. Jesus tells us He has to leave – to go to The Father – so the the Advocate can come. And He promises – and delivers – to work with the Apostles and us as we struggle in our exile.
The Lord worked with them. Are we letting Him work with us?
This Week’s Free Thing Bonus lesson has a simple discussion and activity for the dinner table. Make this a Holy Thursday!
Are we “Consecrated in Truth”? What does that mean, anyway?
Most likely, you are already consecrated in truth, but maybe do not know it. And this week we discuss this intense prayer Jesus asked for us moments before He was arrested and killed.
Are we living a life consecrated in truth to honor His desire and sacrifice for us?
The activity in this lesson gives everybody in the family something to do that is simple and humbling, and puts everybody on the same team with Jesus.
Worms in Heaven? WHAT?!?!
How did it feel to have God break up with you, sorta? What did Jews feel, or did they consider, when Jesus opened up Heaven for those who “fear him and act uprightly,” as Peter says in the first reading this week?
This week, we try to understand that feeling so that we can understand the precious gift we have in our relationship with God and His presence in the Eucharist – and how easily we can find ourselves feeling abandoned by God when it is us who are abandoning Him constantly in this world of exile.
Maybe we are the worms…
Oh! And May the Fourth be with you!
This week we learn about the three parts of being a Disciple. These are simple to explain to children, and practice ourselves.
It doesn’t require anything of us that we aren’t already. Being a Disciple is us being and doing who and what we are, and glorifying The Lord by that life which He gave us.
Also this week, we have a podcast episode connected with this week’s readings that is fun and interactive that the whole family can listen to as a refresher on How to Be a Disciple.
How does the man who denied Jesus three times at the hour of Our Lord’s greatest need for a friend have the guts to stand up to the same people who killed his Master?
The Holy Spirit.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles after His resurrection and – WOW! – they could not be stopped! When once they cowered, they now speak to power with convicted Truth, eventually bringing down the mighty and evil Roman Empire.
Why don’t we? Jesus has sent this same Advocate to us.
TWFT is all about us having the same – the exact same – power that Peter uses in this week’s first reading. There is a pretty hefty activity for the family, mostly because it involves honesty and leadership on the parents’ part, and there is even a handy wall poster for bedrooms and the refrigerator – just as a reminder!
All of us are filled with the Holy Spirit. See This Week’s Free Thing to learn what to do with Him!
St. John, the Beloved Disciple, says we are liars if we say we love Jesus but do not act according to His commandments.
How does that work with our sinful nature, our fallen state?
This week we explore a part of the readings your homilist may skip – which gives parents a great opportunity to minister to their children. And..ahem…themselves!
The first reading can be a bit confusing. Are we supposed to sell everything we have and give it to the Church so that the bishops can distribute it evenly among everybody?
That sounds a bit like a failed economic system, so what does St. Luke mean when he writes that people sold their homes and property and gave the money to the apostles, who distributed it according to need?
This Week’s Free Thing is a great, easy primer on early Church socio-economics, with an easy activity to explain it to the kids – and a great way to show how God wants us to share!
Plus, some handy links to Stewardship, and for the curious, there are some resources on that great Catholic Idea, Distributism, which developed in part from the Acts of the Apostles.
Readings, Discussion, Activities for 50 days, Video, and even a Podcast Episode are in This Week’s Free Thing. Must be EASTER!
The Psalmist proclaims: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!” (Psalm 118:24) Are you glad it’s Easter? Are you glad it’s Springtime? Are you glad for your life, health, family and friends? Are you glad we are beginning to see an end to the COVID pandemic?
This Easter season, we have much to rejoice about. But, the singular thing we should rejoice about each and every day is the Salvation that we celebrate on Easter – the Resurrection!
PLUS: Easter Story Cookies – A recipe and story in one! Help your children learn the story as you make special cookies that resemble the empty tomb! Resurrection Rolls – Yummy, easy, fun Easter morning breakfast with a message! And an Easter Coloring Book!
Get hold of this free Easter Mass and Season resource and don’t let go!
Did Jesus actually tell us, in one of His last moments on earth, to be lazy? Woohoo!
Not so fast. Palm Sunday’s Mass Readings are full of lessons, and this is one that is often overlooked, or unexplored, yet it is simple for kids to understand and even simple enough for us adults, too!
The activity is something that will change your life – and make it and each of us who does it better, more perfected. And it’s pretty simple, too!
May your Holy Week be just that, and thank you for letting This Week’s Free Thing help you and your family make it as Holy as possible!
The simple activity of whispering is in This Week’s Free Thing. Are you up to it?
When Jesus died on the Cross, his last words were, as we see them in English, “It is finished.” In the original Greek as they were written down, it is translated as “It is perfected.”
We are in the second part of Lent, now, and the Catholic Church gives us Lent as a time of sacrifice, prayer, and almsgiving to help us perfect ourselves, getting ready for the Perfect Christ who died on Good Friday and rose on Easter, showing us what we will do if we are perfect: Do what we are supposed to do – Love.
This week’s activity requires a flashlight. Or your phone’s light. And it may require some hand-holding during the scary parts…
The gifts of faith and salvation are not dependent upon our works – God gives them freely, but if we are truly faithful and desire to receive the gift of salvation, we will do good works, because that is the will of God (James 2:14-26). In order to receive the salvation that Jesus offers us through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, then we are to follow Him and the path that He lights for us. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) – He is the Light in the darkness (John 1:5). We are in exile here upon this earth and Jesus offers us a way Home.
The ending video is a perfect sing-along for families.
Does God give us a clue here when the end of time will happen? Is this when Jesus’ Second Coming will occur, when He will come to “judge the living and the dead.”
This weekend you may hear a lot about Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and how Jesus represents the fulfillment of the Prophets and the Law as represented in Elijah and Moses, respectively.
So, in This Week’s Free Thing, we are going to talk about Peter, and how he just steps in it and misses the whole point.
Fun facts about Ash Wednesday, because Jesus tells us to “not look gloomy like the hypocrites.”
So “wash your face” with a smile from these little tidbits.
We wish you a blessed and happy Lent!
When someone asks “What have you given up for Lent?”, the right answer, in whatever way you might put it, is:
“None of your business.”
The prudent and conscientious Catholic won’t ask the question in the first place.
The right question is
Water, water everywhere!
This week’s Gospel reading is supposedly about Jesus healing the leper. Look again:
It is really about disobedience and how disobeying God is far from being a personal, “I’m not hurting anybody else” thing.
Take five minutes to enjoy This Week’s Free Thing, and you will permanently change your children’s behavior, and yours, with the fun – and wet! – activity!
The purpose of prayer is to get us in line with God’s will; to have an open and hope-filled heart that God knows what He is doing and that He loves us, so even though He permits “punishment and scourges, accept them, because He acts for our welfare in whatever He allows to befall us.”
This week we learn how to be in God’s will in just five minutes..
What did John Wayne, Mark Twain, and CS Lewis say about Courage? What did Jesus DO about Courage? This two-minute lesson has a challenging activity – do you have the guts to do it? – and a fun family movie night suggestion. Plus a video by Casting Crowns! PS: Husbands and Dads don’t get off so easily…they have an extra assignment if they have the Courage!
With this two-minute lesson, we begin a series on Virtue, and Twelve very special virtues. But first, we need to explore what a Virtue is and have a little exercise to see if we can catch anybody being virtuous! The foundation for a lifetime of “becoming like God” as St. Gregory said over 1600 years ago is what we learn here…with a little Socrates and St. Paul thrown in!
“This is my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” God said this about Jesus at His baptism. He also says it about you at your baptism. Learn about why this is so and remember what the grace of Baptism does for us and our journey of faith.
The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is a celebration of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Learn more about how this applies to us and what we should do to evangelize the Good News to our neighbors – hint, it doesn’t require words!
The Family is so important that the Church made the first Sunday after Christmas the Feast of the Holy Family. This week we have a fun video and an easy activity you can do anytime. Learn some things about the people around you, and maybe start a new tradition or two! Bet you can’t get the song we start off with out of your head…
Christ Jesus fulfills the promises the Lord made to our forebears in the Old Covenants. He is the New Covenant who brings us the greatest gift of all – Eternal Life!
“My soul rejoices in God my Savior!” – This week learn about Joy – what it is and how to have it.
Prepare the way of the Lord! Sometimes we get so excited thtat we can hardly wait – and making preparations is a good way to keep us occupied and focused. This week we explore all the things we do to get ready for The Big Day, and we help parents lead it right back to the reason for everything: Jesus!
Happy New Year! This is the first week of the new Liturgical Year and we begin the season of Advent, which means “coming”. Advent is marked by the color violet and we bring out the Advent wreath at church and in our homes. In this season we await the coming of Jesus – both at His birth and at the end of time. It is a time of watchful waiting and preparation. The readings this Sunday all follow the theme of the last word of the Gospel – “Watch!” Discussion topics and activities to start the new year are part of TWFT.
If you missed one or more of This Week’s Free Thing! then just click here to find it. Everything from last month all the way back to the beginning in March 2020 is available. And don’t forget to sign up to receive TWFT straight to your inbox so you won’t miss it again!
Community is an essential, basic part of the Catholic faith. Click here to get to our community area of the web site, which we are building and set to fully launch on April 10. Or you can get on our general contact list with the form on the right and we will personally let you know when it is ready. This will be perfect for parents, catechists, and religious educators to engage, learn from each other, ask questions, and realize the wonderful universal nature of our Church!