Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
John 6:24-35

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

Creator God, every day you are all around us. You show us your glory in the gifts of your creation. You speak to us through your Word and through the encouraging words of a friend. Your Holy Spirit teaches and guides us every step of the way. Open our eyes to see you here among us today. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection

Think of someone who needs a sign of God’s love and presence. Perhaps a family member is sad, a classmate has no friends, or a friend’s feelings are hurt. Then decide on a way you can be that sign of God’s love and presence to that person this week.

Listening to the Word of God

The people in today’s First Reading are grumbling because they think they are lost. But God has not abandoned them. He sends quail and manna to sustain them.

Read Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15. Allow time for silent reflection.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • Who did the Israelites grumble against? Why?
  • How does the Lord respond to their grumbling? Would you have responded in the same way? Why or why not?
  • What does the Lord’s response tell us about him?

In today’s Gospel, the crowd asks Jesus three questions. Each question shows how much they do not understand about Jesus, even after having heard him teach and after having seen him feed the multitudes and heal the sick.

Read John 6:24-35. Allow time for silent reflection.

  • What name did the crowd use to address Jesus? Why?
  • What were the questions the crowd asked Jesus?
  • How does Jesus identify himself? By what other names do you know Jesus?

Scripture Background
Bread of Life

The real reason the crowd in today’s Gospel followed Jesus was because they had been a part of the crowd that had received the loaves and the fish. They were seeking more food; the kind of food that fills the body for a limited amount of time. But Jesus challenges them to seek the food that will last, the bread that will endure. It is the true bread from heaven—the bread that gives life to the world not for a day, but for eternity. Through the Gospels we have come to know Jesus by many titles and by many names, but in today’s Gospel he identifies himself as the Bread of Life, that heavenly bread which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst. He challenges us to stop seeking what satisfies our hunger and lasts for only a moment, and to seek instead that which satisfies every longing and endures forever.

Questions for Reflection

  • Why do you follow Jesus? What do you seek from him?
  • What things are on your wish list? Things that will last only for a short time or things that will endure forever?
  • What does the Eucharist mean to you? Do you take it for granted, or are you thankful for every opportunity to receive the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Caring for God’s Creation

A few weeks ago (on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time) you were reminded that God is the author of all life, and that every life is sacred. Every person on Earth is a part of God’s wonderful creation, worthy of our care and respect. In today’s Life Reflection we named our favorite things in creation and acknowledged God as the Creator of all that we named and more. One of the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching is Caring for God’s Creation. God has given us the responsibility to protect the environment, all of God’s creatures, and one another. Again reflect on the questions you were given just a few weeks ago.

  • What are some areas of creation that are at risk today?
  • Who are some people you see working with God to protect and care for creation?
  • What are you doing to help God protect and care for creation?

Sacrament Connection

Baptism is the Sacrament that gives us new life in Christ. As a part of the celebration of the Sacrament, and as a part of the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter time, we are asked if we reject Satan and all of his works and all of his empty promises, and if we believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As we think about those grumbling ancestors in the desert mentioned in today’s Gospel, it would be good to consider what attitudes we need to reject, and where we need to again profess our faith in God, who has provided for our every need by sending us Jesus, the Bread of Life.

The Gospel in Life

Be mindful as you take your place in the Communion procession this coming Sunday. Be mindful of the people who are in procession with you. Pray for them and for their needs. Be mindful of the fact that you are receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and thank him for his sacrifice on the Cross out of love for you. Be mindful that this Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation make you one with him and with his Church on Earth. Go forth and be his presence in the world.

Posted in: Sessions B