Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, junior high

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Junior High Session

Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Luke 10:25-37

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Loving God,
thank you for the people in our lives who show us compassion and love.
Help us show compassion and love for one another.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

 

Opening Life Reflection

The theme for today is love of neighbor. To begin, provide each youngster with paper and pencil. Write the following questions on a chalkboard or large sheet of paper: Where do you see signs of people loving their neighbor in the world today?  Where do you see signs of hatred and violence in the world today?  Invite the young people to reflect on these questions and write down their responses on their paper. Then divide them into small groups of four or five. Invite the young people to share their responses to the questions within their small groups. Discuss with the large group:

  • Where do you see signs of people showing love and compassion for their neighbor today?
  • Where do you see signs of violence and hatred?
  • How can works of mercy and love help to reduce the amount of violence and hatred in the world?

Allow time for discussion. Following Jesus’ commandment to love God and neighbor is central to living a Christian life. We can make the world a better place by doing works of mercy and living the commandment of love.

 

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading listen to how the law is written in the hearts of God’s people.

Read Deuteronomy 30:10-14.

Allow for silence.

 

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • Why do the people obey God?
  • What law is written in their hearts?
  • Why is God’s commandment easy to observe?

In the Gospel, listen to the greatest commandment of all.

Read Luke 10:25-37.

Allow for silence.

  • What is the greatest commandment?
  • How does Jesus define one’s neighbor?
  • What does Jesus ask of his listeners?

 

Scripture Background

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

The first reading from the Old Testament was most likely written during the exile to bolster the faith and commitment of the Jewish people. Today’s passage points out the importance of observing God’s law. The demands of the covenant are not too hard for God’s people. They need only listen to the command to love the Lord God with all their heart and soul, which is written deep within their hearts.

This reading reveals the intimate relationship between God and God’s people. The law is not presented as a decree to be followed out of a sense of duty alone. The people out of a sense of love embrace the law of God.

In today’s Gospel Jesus brings to light the central and most important commandment--to love God and love your neighbor. This two-fold command of love is at the core of Jesus’ teaching. To help his listeners understand what it means to love one’s neighbor Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Through this story Jesus teaches that all people are our neighbors and when we show mercy toward our fellow human beings we show love for our neighbor.

 

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • What does it mean to have the law of God written in your heart?
  • Why did Jesus tell the story of the “Good Samaritan?”
  • What message does the story of the “Good Samaritan” have for you?
  • Who do you consider to be your neighbor?

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

 

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Love of Neighbor

Jesus summed up all the commandments into one great commandment--to love God with one’s whole self and love one’s neighbor as oneself. The Ten Commandments must be interpreted in light of this single commandment.

In The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Ten Commandments are divided into two chapters. The first chapter focuses on the first three commandments (love God with your whole self). The second chapter focuses on commandments four through ten (love your neighbor as yourself). This division clearly shows how Jesus’ great commandment incorporates all the commandments.

Catholic tradition gives us the works of mercy to help show us how to love our neighbor. The spiritual works of mercy are: admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries and praying for the living and dead. The corporal (or bodily) works of mercy are: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and burying the dead. By practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy we actively love our neighbor.

  • What helps you follow the great commandment to love God and neighbor?
  • When is it most difficult to love your neighbor?
  • How can you put the spiritual and corporal works of mercy into practice within your daily life?

 

The Gospel in Life

This week choose one work of mercy to practice in your home or in your community.

 

Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition

At Home Family Guide, theme 13
Junior High, Morality, chapter 9
Junior High, Church History, chapter 4

 

 

Posted in: Sessions C