Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Junior High

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Intermediate Session
2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Luke 7:36-8:3

Opening Prayer
Let us Pray.
Loving God,
We know that whenever we ask you for forgiveness,
you are always there. It is through our true sorrow and your generous forgiveness
that we know true joy. Help us always to remember to find peace with you.
Give us strength to right our wrongs and stop our sinful actions. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

Opening Life Reflection
Using an act of contrition familiar to the children, ask them to rewrite the prayers in their own words. Help them think about what their sins might be. What does it mean to be sorry with all your heart? What does a personal penance look like and what does each person need to do to specially avoid sin? Encourage children to reflect on their prayers of contrition by thinking about these questions:

• Why is it important for us to have God’s forgiveness?
• How does asking for God’s forgiveness help us not to sin again?
• Is there anyone besides God who you need to ask for forgiveness? What will your first step be?

While it might be better not to share the content of these prayers, prayers could be folded and put together in a basket or bowl. With hands extended over the bowl, pray for one another in each person’s efforts to avoid sin.

Listening to the Word of God
The prophet Nathan speaks to David’s heart and makes it possible for David to be open to God’s forgiveness.

Read 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters:

• What were the sins that David had committed?
• How did he do to try to cover up these sins?
• How did David react to what Nathan told him?

Just as God forgave David, Jesus helps us understand that God forgives us when we are sorry.

Read Luke 7:36-8:3
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Who had the greatest amount of sin in this gospel passage?
• What are the parallels between the people in the gospel and the people who owed money in the parable Jesus told?
• What did Jesus try to point out to the Pharisee about his sinfulness and the woman’s sinfulness?

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

In the Old Testament reading, we learn that David has used his power to get what he wanted. He wanted a certain woman to be his wife, but she was already married to a soldier, Uriah. David sent Uriah into battle so that he would be killed. The prophet, Nathan, gets David to see that he has sinned, even after God has given David so much. David didn’t argue with Nathan. He knew he was wrong and admitted that to Nathan. Nathan responded by telling David that God would forgive him.

While having dinner at the home of a rich Pharisee, Jesus welcomed a woman who “dropped in.” The woman had committed great sins and it would seem that everyone knew about her. Her presence and actions embarrassed the Pharisee, Simon, who would otherwise never have had such a person in his home. The woman cried at Jesus’ feet and as her tears washed his feet, she dried them with her hair. After drying her tears, she anointed Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfumed oil. The Pharisee complained about such extravagance.

Jesus told a parable about how two people felt when their debts were forgiven. One person owed a large sum, but the second person owed an even greater amount. Both people were happy to have the debt cleared, but the one who owed the most would surely have been happiest. Jesus said that the person who has the most sin would also be the happiest to have God forgive her sins.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Have you ever acted like Simon, thinking you are better than another person?
• What was Jesus trying to show by accepting the actions of the woman who had sinned?
• When have you felt happy because someone forgave you for doing something wrong?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Sacrament of Reconciliation

Catholics believe that the best way to deal with sin is to recognize it in our lives and bring it before God. Usually our sins are not mortal, but still they get in the way of our relationship with God. We can always ask God to forgive us for our sins, but our Church gives us two important ways to do this. Every time we go to mass, there is “penitential rite” when we can tell God that we are sorry for our actions that keep us apart from God. God hears our sorrow and forgives us. Another way we find God’s forgiveness is in the sacrament of reconciliation. Through Christ, bishops and priests forgive our sins when we confess them. It is not only important to be sorry for what we have done, but we must also be willing to change so that we do not commit that sin again.

• What is the first step toward healing when we have done something wrong?
• Why do you think the Church wants us to confess our sins to a priest?
• What must we do to feel the same joy as the woman in today’s gospel when our sins are forgiven?

Sacrament Connection
In the sacrament of reconciliation, we can tell God that we are sorry for doing something that separates us from God. In the sacrament we present ourselves to a priest or bishop who acts in the place of Jesus. The priest hears our sins and through Christ, he can forgive us. Usually the priest will give us some ideas of ways we can show that we are sorry for what we did wrong. In our hearts and future actions, we know that to be truly sorry we need to try very hard not to commit the sin again.

The Gospel in Life
Is there someone you need to go to this week and say you are sorry? Or is there someone who needs your forgiveness?

Posted in: Sessions C