Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C, intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Joshua 5:9a, 10-12
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
God our Father and Creator,
thank you for your mercy and love.
Help us to better live the gospel as your children.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

The season of Lent reminds us to live as followers of Jesus. In order to follow Jesus better we may need to make changes. To begin today’s session invite the children to brainstorm what changes they have made in their life in order to do something better.  Discuss:

  • Have you ever had to change the way you were doing something in order to do it better?
  • What changes can you make at home, in school and in your community in order to follow Jesus better?

Allow time for discussion. Another word to describe change is conversion. On this fourth Sunday of Lent we focus on our call to conversion.

 

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading listen to how Joshua and the Israelites receive God’s blessing.
Read Joshua 5:9a, 10-12.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • What does the Lord take away from the Israelites?
  • What do the Israelites do on the day after the Passover?
  • Why do they eat the crops of the land instead of manna?

In the gospel reading listen to Jesus tell the story of the Prodigal Son.
Read Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.
Allow for silence.

  • What does the younger son ask for in the beginning of the story?
  • What does his father do?
  • What happens to the younger son after he leaves?
  • What does the younger son decide to do when he runs out of money?
  • What does the father do when he sees his son coming home?
  • How does he greet his younger son?
  • What is the older son’s reaction?
  • Who does the father represent in the story?

 

Scripture Background

Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.

In the Old Testament reading today the Lord tells Joshua that the disgrace of Egypt has been removed from the people of Israel. The disgrace of living in slavery is taken away and the Israelites are given new life in the Promised Land.  The Passover meal marks that they no longer need the gift of manna that had kept them alive in the desert. The Israelites eat the produce of the land. This reading hints of celebration as the people of Israel establish themselves in the Promised Land.

Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son in today’s Gospel. It is no mistake that this story is told while sinners are coming to listen to Jesus–which has the Pharisees and Scribes grumbling.

The story that Jesus tells in today’s gospel is rich with meaning. The young son’s journey reveals the process of conversion. The forgiving Father shows us the unconditional nature of God’s forgiving love even before we say that we are sorry. The reaction of the older brother warns against self-righteous attitudes, yet the Father’s response to him is reassuring. Each of these three figures in the story provides us with an important message.

Jesus tells this story of forgiveness and conversion to teach that God is just as willing to welcome us back home, as is the father in this parable.

 

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • What do these readings teach us about God?
  • How do you come back to God when you are sorry?
  • Who are the people who show you God’s forgiving love?

If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.

 

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Conversion

Everyone who has been baptized still experiences human weakness and the inclination to sin. The newness of life received by those who are baptized can help to overcome the tendency to sin. This turning away from sin requires the ability to recognize ones faults and change. We call such change conversion.

Throughout his public ministry Jesus preaches conversion. He calls us to repent and believe in the good news. This change of one’s life in accord with the gospel is ongoing throughout a person’s faith journey.

  • How does the season of Lent help you to change?
  • Do we ever stop changing and growing?
  • What changes will you make this Lent?

 

The Gospel in Life

How can you be kinder and more forgiving as you prepare for Easter?

 

Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 26
Grade 4, page 257 parish and page 265 school
Grade 5, page 257 parish and page 265 school
Grade 6, page 257 parish and page 265 school

 

Blest Are We

Grade 4, chapter 9
Grade 5, chapter 7
Grade 6, chapter 4