Junior High Session
Acts 10:34, 37-43
Let us pray.
God, Giver of Life,
through the resurrection of your son Jesus
you have put an end to death.
Help us to celebrate the gift of new life this Easter.
Thank you for the hope and promise of a new day.
In the name of your son, the risen Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
On Easter Sunday we begin our 50-day celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. The Easter message fills us with hope and joy. To begin today’s session, invite the youngsters to brainstorm–what makes them truly happy and joyful. Write down their responses. Discuss:
- What makes you happy? (discuss the written responses)
- Does God want us to be happy?
- What do we celebrate at Easter?
- Why is Easter a joyful time?
Allow time for discussion. The Easter season is a time to rejoice because we share in the new life of Jesus. No matter what troubles come our way, we can hope in a new day. On Easter Sunday we celebrate life.
Listening to the Word of God
In today’s first reading from Acts of the Apostles, listen to how Peter describes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Read Acts 10:34, 37-43.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- What does Peter tell us about Jesus’ life?
- What does Peter tell us about Jesus’ death?
- How does Peter explain what happened after Jesus died?
- What is the mission of those who believe in Jesus?
In today’s gospel listen to learn what Mary discovers when she visits the tomb of Jesus.
Read John 20:1-9.
Allow for silence.
- What does Mary Magdalene discover when she visit’s Jesus’ tomb?
- Who does she tell about her discovery?
- What other disciples come to the tomb?
- What do they discover?
- What happens to the disciple who arrives first when he enters the tomb?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, Peter gives testimony to the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He tells us that beginning in Galilee, Jesus was baptized by John and God anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived his life healing and loving others. Jesus was killed on a cross only to have God raise him up on the third day. Peter then announces what this means for the world–that we who believe in Jesus Christ share in his mission of love and service.
Peter’s preaching has a powerful effect on those who hear him. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the listeners. They come to believe in Jesus Christ and are commissioned to go out and spread the good news.
Today’s gospel tells the story of the resurrection. We hear that it is very early, before dawn when Mary Magdalene visits the tomb. When she finds it empty, Mary runs off to tell Simon Peter and the other disciples that the Lord has been taken. Immediately Peter and the other disciple go to the tomb. The beloved disciple outruns Peter, yet he allows Peter to enter the tomb first. When they both enter the tomb, it is the beloved disciple who believes that Jesus has been raised from the dead.
As the story is told we realize that the disciples did not yet understand that Jesus had risen from the dead. Only gradually do they come to believe in the resurrection. The beloved disciple comes to believe more quickly because of his love for Jesus. The author of John’s gospel may be showing the power of love, which has revealed the truth of the resurrection.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- What helps you to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?
- How does loving Jesus help you to believe?
- What can you do to strengthen your faith in times of doubt and uncertainty?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
“On the third day he rose again, in fulfillment of the scriptures…”
Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us hope in the overwhelming love that God has for us. That powerful Divine love did not end with the death of Jesus on the cross. Instead, God broke the chains of death forever and raised Jesus to new life. The resurrected Christ is present with us even now. His light shines throughout the world.
We believe the resurrection of Jesus to be an actual event. It was not simply a spiritual experience for the disciples. The first disciples witnessed something totally surprising. The Risen Lord is not a ghost who returns to haunt the disciples. The disciples witnessed a risen Christ who passed over from death into a new existence. Those first disciples gradually came to understand that Jesus was raised from the dead, and in understanding that, they were willing to suffer and die in order to tell the good news of the resurrection.
- How can you treat each day as a new beginning?
- Who are the people who share the good news about Jesus Christ with you?
- How can you spread the good news about Jesus to others?
The Gospel in Life
Share the good news about Jesus with someone you know this week.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, Theme 27
Junior High, Mystery of God, chapters 10 and 11
Blest Are We
Grade 7, chapter 13
Grade 8, chapter 6