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Complete-A-Project Bible Search: The Rich Man and Jesus
by Alice Pfeifer, CSA
This Complete-A-Project Bible Search Activity is for teacher and students (grades 4-6) working together. The exercise can be completed using the Bible to find the answers.
This Complete-A-Project Bible Search Activity is for teacher and students (grades 4-6) working together. The exercise can be completed using the Bible to find the answers. Bible Searches for this learning year focus on Gospels from the current liturgical year and feature episodes in the lives of Sister Vicki and two students in her religious education class, Hugo and Hannah.


* This Bible Search is from the Gospel proclaimed on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 10:17-30; the activity on the next pages presents vv. 17-22.)
* Do you wonder why Jesus seems so abrupt when correcting the man for calling him “good”? In fact, Jesus is trying to divert attention from his own goodness to that of his Father. Throughout his human life on earth, he does good works that his Father in heaven may be better known and loved.
* Do you notice that Jesus makes no attempt to name all Ten Commandments or to recite them in any particular order? What we know today as the Decalogue was a later development. The Jews of Jesus’ time were familiar with a variety of Mosaic teachings from the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; these teachings the Church eventually condensed into the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue became, in the words of biblical scholar John L. McKenzie, “a charter of fundamental morality” for all Christians.
* Do you notice that Jesus mentions a commandment not in Christianity’s traditional Decalogue? “You shall not defraud” comes from Deuteronomy 24:14. Clearly Jesus knows he is speaking with a wealthy man familiar with the temptation to underpay or otherwise exploit his workers.
* All in all, this reading from Mark poses the stark question, “What will you allow to come between you and the Lord?” For the well-off, it can be one’s guarded possessiveness of all personal wealth, property, and power. For the less well-off, it can be one’s obsessive desire for any of these things.
* People often don’t understand that if they have enough to eat every day, clothes to wear for all kinds of weather, and a roof over their heads, they are rich in comparison to anyone lacking in these things. Yet, when the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the implications of the Seventh Commandment, it could not be clearer. In n. 2446, for example, it quotes St. John Chrysostom who said, “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” In n. 2447, the Catechism cites the words of John the Baptist in Luke 3:11: “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food must do likewise.” There is a link between these ideas and the choice Hugo must make between trick-or-treating for candy he doesn’t really need or for staple food items desperately needed by the poor of his community.

Answers to Fill-ins: do, good, know, not kill, not commit adultery, not steal, not bear false witness, not defraud; honor, Teacher, observed, Jesus, loved, to, have, give

—Guide and activity page by Alice Pfeifer, CSA. Art by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ.

* Activity sheet below, one copy for each student
* Copies of the Bible (The Search is based on the New American Bible.)
* Pencils or pens

1. Read or have volunteers read the set up to the fill-in-the-blank activity.
2. Work together to fill in the blanks for Mark 10:17-22. Make sure that students know the definitions of any unfamiliar words, such as “defraud.”
3. Share the information in Background.
4. Read or have volunteers read the rest of the story.
5. Ask children what they think Hugo and Hannah should decide to do. Would they make a better decision if they could actually help give out food at the food pantry? What if they could visit a family who will receive the donated food? In the end, which is usually more satisfying: eating a big, fat chocolate bar or helping someone in need? Which action does the most good for the most people?
6. Tell the children that the fill-in-the-blank activity contains a secret message that sums up the Christian life. Ask them to state the first three fill-in words and the last four fill-in words in the activity. Write these seven words on the chalk board, one after another in all capital letters, without adding any punctuation: DO GOOD KNOW JESUS TO HAVE GIVE. To clarify the message, add punctuation marks so that the expression reads: DO GOOD. KNOW JESUS. TO HAVE—GIVE. Be sure students understand that the man could not have a share in the kingdom of heaven because he did not give of what he had.

Activity Sheet

Hugo and Hannah walked together to religion class.

Hannah asked Hugo, “So what do you think of Sister's idea? The one about trick-or-treating this year for the food pantry?”

“No way!” Hugo blurted out. “No way am I giving up my annual stash of Halloween candy!”

“Yeah,” Hannah agreed. “It would hardly seem like Halloween if I didn’t end up with a big bagful of candy when it’s all over—although there would still be the fun of dressing up. To be honest, I haven’t made up my mind yet what I am going to do.”

When class started, Sister Vicki began by asking, “How many of you think you are good Catholics?” Hannah’s cousin Parker was first to raise his hand—then many other hands went up, too.

“Uh-huh,” Sister noted, “just as I thought. Most of you think you’re doing alright. After all, you probably go to church on Sunday, you haven't killed anyone lately, and you’ve shown up for another hour of religion class—whether you want to be here or not.

 “But what if Jesus were to step through this door right now and say that there is still one thing more he wants you to do? Would you be willing to listen? In the Gospel we’re going to look at today, Jesus asks one thing more of someone who believes in him. Let’s see what kind of answer the man gives Jesus.”

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I _______ to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me _________ ? No one is good but God alone. You _________ the commandments: You shall ________   ________; you shall ________   ___________   _____________; you shall ________   __________; you shall ________   _________   __________   ____________; you shall ________   ____________; __________ your father and mother.” He replied and said to him, “____________, all of these I have _____________ from my youth.” __________, looking at him, __________ him and said _______ him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you _________, and _________ to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions (Mark 10:17-22).

Sister Vicki finished the lesson by saying, “Jesus invited the rich man to come join him in his journeys as a wandering preacher and healer, but the man said no. Now I want you to think hard about this. By not accepting Jesus’ invitation, what did the man miss out on?”

“Miracles!” Hugo offered.

“That’s right,” Sister Vicki said. “He could have seen Jesus work all kinds of miracles. What else?”

“Rising from the dead?” Hannah guessed.

“Right!” Sister said. “Just think about it. The rich man could have seen Jesus risen from the dead on the very first Easter Sunday. And now let me tell you something I have learned from knowing Jesus for a long time now. Whenever he asks something of you, it’s so that he can give you something even better in return. You might not know it or see it right away, but eventually you will. And then whatever it was that you gave up will seem quite small in comparison. So please remember this—and remember the rich man in today’s Gospel—when you make your decision about helping out the food pantry this Halloween.”

Hannah and Hugo knew right then and there what they were going to do for Halloween.

—Guide and activity page by Alice Pfeifer, CSA.
Permission is granted to copy this Bible Search for use with your students and their families.

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