Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

December 15, 2008

Project Idea: Investigating the Infancy Narratives

Infancy Narrative Lesson

Give some information on the infancy narratives (see below) from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Have the students read the following passages from the infancy narratives and write their hypothesis to each question. When they have finished, allow them to share what they have written. Share more information to support their answers.

1. Read Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:37-38. Why does Matthew's genealogy trace to Abraham and Luke's to Adam?

More Information:Matthew's genealogy is placed prominently at the beginning of his Gospel to show that participation in the "new way" was an extension of Judaism.

2. Read Matthew 2:13-23. How are these events similar to incidents in Moses' life.

More Information:The flight to Egypt allows Jesus to relive the Exodus experience of Israel.

3. Read Luke 2:15-20. What is significant about the shepherd being the first to offer glory and praise to Jesus?

More Information:The announcement to and the visit by the shepherds is consistent with Luke's theme that the poor and lowly are singled out for God's blessings.

4. Read Matthew 12:12 What would a Jewish person considering conversion to Christianity find significant about the magi not returning to King Herod?

More Information:The courage of the magi not returning to King Herod was similar to the courage many young Jewish Christians faced in abandoning their traditional faith of their families to follow Jesus.

5. Read Luke 2:22-32. How might verse 32 be counted as the main theme of Luke's Gospel?

More Information: A main objective of Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles is to bring unity among Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.

Background Information

Matthew's Gospel was written by a Jewish-Christian actively engaged in converting Greek-speaking Jews to Christianity was written to counteract tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians; quotes heavily from the Old Testament to show that Jesus was the Messiah foretold from the ancient Scriptures; tried to teach Jewish people about the origins of their faith.

Luke's Gospel was written to a Gentile audience who lived well outside the region of Palestine; attempts to show that God intended from the beginning of time to save all of creation, including the Gentiles; includes man references to the poor, women, and other of society's outcasts who came to follow Jesus; has a journey theme, with the Holy Spirit directing Jesus' mission to proclaim the Good News to all people and with the journey often being directed to Jerusalem and the Temple.

(photo credit: alkelda)

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