Ascension of the Lord, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Acts 1:1-11
Mark 16:15-20

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
God, Giver of Hope,
You remain with us and help us through even the most difficult situations.
May we always find all hope in You.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection
The main topic for today is the Ascension of the Lord. For today's session provide each young person with a pencil and a sheet of lined paper. To begin, invite them to write a short story of a personal experience of saying goodbye. Invite volunteers to share their story with the large group. Discuss:

• When is it difficult to say goodbye?
• What helps you get through times of loss?
• What gives you hope?

Allow time for discussion. Jesus died and rose from the dead not to abandon us, but to give us hope. Our faith tells us that there is life after death and new life after the losses in our lives.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts listen to find out what happened after the Resurrection of Jesus.

Read Acts 1:1-11.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Who did Jesus appear to after the Resurrection?
• How will the gift of the Holy Spirit help the apostles?
• How is Jesus taken up to heaven?

In the gospel today listen to how the disciples continue Jesus' work on earth after he is taken up to heaven.

Read Mark 16:15-20.
Allow for silence.

• What signs will accompany those who believe?
• What happens after Jesus speaks to the disciples?
• How do the disciples continue the work of Jesus on earth?

Scripture Background

Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

On today's feast of the Ascension we celebrate the ascension of Jesus into heaven. According to the first reading from Acts, Jesus is taken up into heaven forty days after the resurrection. It is hard to imagine what Jesus' friends were feeling when he was taken from them. In today's passage, when Jesus ascends into heaven the disciples are given a message of hope. God sends two messengers to tell them that Jesus is not gone forever, he will come again.

In today's gospel Jesus tells his followers that they have work to do. They are challenged to go out and proclaim the good news to all of creation. Those who believe will have the power to preach, heal, and cast out demons in Jesus' name. After Jesus speaks to his friends, he is taken up into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. The disciples take Jesus' message to heart. They go out and spread the good news everywhere.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What is the work that Jesus' followers are called to do?
• How does Jesus' work of healing continue in the world today?
• How can you go out and spread the good news to others?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The Ascension of the Lord is professed in both the Apostles' and the Constantinopolitan-Nicene Creeds.
On the feast of the Ascension the Church prays: " the Lord Jesus, the king of glory, the conqueror of sin and death, ascended to heaven while the angels sang his praises. Christ, the mediator between God and [humanity], judge of the world and Lord of all, has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church; where he has gone, we hope to follow."

The feast of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated forty days after Easter. Today's feast reminds us to direct our attention to Christ, who ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

• When does the Church celebrate the feast of the Ascension?
• How does Christ lead the way for us to heaven?
• How can today's feast of the Ascension help you direct your attention to Christ?

Sacrament Connection
One way that Jesus' healing work continues in the Church today is through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament strengthens our faith when we are seriously ill or dying.

The Gospel in Life
What is one thing that you can do this week to continue Jesus' work of healing on earth?

Posted in: Sessions B