Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Year C, junior high

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Junior High Session
Isaiah 50:4-7
Luke 22:14-23:56 [or 23:1-49]

 

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
O God,
we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ
who died on the cross to redeem the world.
Help us turn to Jesus
to find comfort and strength in times of suffering.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

 

Opening Life Reflection

The focus of today’s session is Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem, and his passion and death. Provide two nails and bendable wire cut into two-inch pieces, one for each youngster. Before distributing the nails, use a hammer to make the end of each nail blunt. Put the nails and wire in a basket in the center of the room. Invite the youngsters to reflect on the suffering of Christ. Discuss:

  • What comes to mind when you think of the events that led to Jesus’ death on the cross?
  • As you reflect on Christ’s suffering, silently call to mind any hardships in your life that you would like to bring to Jesus.

Invite each youngster to come forward and take two nails and a piece of wire out of the basket. Explain that they may go back to their seat and make a cross of nails by tying the two nails together in the center with the wire.

At the conclusion of the activity, remind the children that when we go through hardship and pain it helps to remember that Jesus has been through it all. Then tell them to keep their cross of nails as a reminder that Jesus is with them in times of suffering.

 

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading listen to how God comes to the assistance of the suffering servant.
Read Isaiah 50:4-7.
Allow for silence.

 

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • What has the Lord given the servant?
  • How does the servant describe his suffering?
  • Where does he find strength and assistance?

In the Gospel reading today listen to the passion of the Lord and imagine yourself as a bystander observing the events.
Read Luke 22:14-23:56 [or 23:1-49].
Allow for silence.

  • Why is Jesus brought before Pilate?
  • Why does Pilate send Jesus to Herod?
  • What do Herod’s soldiers do to Jesus before sending him back to Pilate?
  • What does the crowd demand of Pilate?
  • Who is ordered to help Jesus carry the cross?
  • What does Jesus tell the women who follow him?
  • What are Jesus’ last words?

 

Scripture Background

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

In the first reading from the Old Testament we are given an image of dignity and courage in the face of trial. This reading from the Book of Isaiah was written to provide comfort and hope to the Jewish people at a time of great hardship. The author attempts to make sense out of the suffering that Israel was undergoing. In the Old Testament reading today we find similarities between the servant who is mocked and tormented, and the passion and death of Jesus.

In today’s Gospel we reluctantly journey with Jesus toward his death on the cross. According to Pilate, Jesus has done nothing to deserve death, yet the crowd shouts, “crucify him.”  As we hear these words we wonder if they could be our own. We find redemption in Jesus’ plea, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke’s account of the passion reveals Jesus as the true model of martyrdom.  With quiet dignity and great courage, Jesus finds strength in his union with God. Ultimately, it is Jesus’ death on the cross that leads to new life and the resurrection. Today’s gospel helps us to understand our own suffering and death in light of the suffering and death of Jesus.

 

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • How can you relate to the passion of Jesus?
  • Are you able to find strength in God in times of suffering?
  • What gives you hope in times of hardship?

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

 

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

The meaning of suffering

The passion and death of Jesus leads to the glorious resurrection. Our salvation has been accomplished through this passover from death to new life. We are united with the Lord in his suffering on the cross, and we too will share in his resurrection and new life.

To greater or lesser degree, everyone experiences sickness, pain and suffering.  In the light of faith, these burdens are given meaning. This does not mean that we are not to fight against illness or painful situations. Jesus had compassion for those who were sick and worked miracles of healing. As followers of Christ we are encouraged to seek to help ourselves and offer help to others who are suffering.

The celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick with its laying on of hands and anointing with holy oil seeks to help those who are suffering. In this sacrament, those who are sick receive the strength to unite themselves more closely to God.

  • What can you do to help someone who is sick or in pain?
  • Where do you look for help when you are suffering?
  • How can the passion of Jesus help you deal with hardship?

 

The Gospel in Life

Hand over all your burdens to Jesus in prayer this week. Jesus will give you what you need to get through even the toughest times.     

Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, themes 4 and 9
Junior High, Mystery of God, chapter 8
Junior High, Church and Sacraments, chapter 11
Junior High, church History, chapter 3

 

Blest Are We
Grade 7, chapter 13
Grade 8, chapter 15