Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session

Jeremiah 31:31-34

John 12:20-33

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

We thank you, God, for our family and friends, for our world and the beauty of creation.

We thank you for love and laughter, and most of all we thank you for Jesus, your Son.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The focus for today is Christian Prayer. To begin, provide cut out magazine photos of people, trees, mountains, beaches, birds, and animals. Explain to the children that one form of Christian prayer is thanks and praise. Invite each child to come forward and select one of the pictures. Invite the children to pray a prayer of thanks by saying thank you to God for the gift on their photo. Discuss:

• What are you most thankful for?
• How do you show people that you are thankful?
• How can you show your thankfulness to God?

Allow time for discussion. We can pray anytime, any place, and in many ways. Prayer helps us to grow in friendship with God. God wants us to pray often.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today, listen to Jeremiah tell the people what God wants.

Read Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• What does Jeremiah tell the people?

• What kind of a relationship does God want to have with all people?

• How will the people know the Lord?

In today’s gospel, listen to Jesus prepare his friends for the events to come.

Read John 12:20-33.

Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus tell his disciples about his death?

• How does Jesus pray to God?

• What will happen after Jesus dies?

Scripture Background

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

In the Old Testament reading the prophet Jeremiah speaks the Word of God. He tells the people that God desires to live in friendship with them. Jeremiah saw how the people had hardened their hearts to the covenant of Sinai, which was engraved on tablets of stone. Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant, where God’s Law is placed in the hearts of each person. The relationship between God and God’s people will come from an inner sense of knowing the Lord. Jeremiah uses the term “knowing” the Lord to show God’s desire to share a deep and personal friendship with the people.

In the gospel Jesus prepares his disciples for some important events that are about to happen. Jesus announces that his hour has come. The “hour” of Jesus, is a time of both suffering and glory as he returns to the Father through his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Jesus uses the image of seeds and fruit to show the necessity of death as a means to new life. The image points to the death of Jesus as the seed of new life for those who believe in him. In this passage, Jesus boldly cries out to God in prayer. God responds with a sign from heaven, and all people are promised salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• How do you get to know your friends?

• When do you pray to God?

• Where in nature do you find signs of new life?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Christian Prayer
Prayer helps us get to know God. When we pray, we communicate with God. Prayer comes from the very center of our being. In prayer we acknowledge God’s presence and listen for God’s voice. We lift our minds and hearts to God in prayer. We can pray anytime and any place. We develop the habit of prayer when we pray often.

There are many forms of prayer. Christian prayer includes prayers of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, sorrow, and petition. No matter what form our prayer takes, the Holy Spirit helps us. When we pray, the Holy Spirit is present, uniting us with Jesus.

• What happens when we pray?
• How did you learn to pray?
• Why is it important to pray?

Sacrament Connection
In the Sacrament of Baptism we share in God’s own life and are reborn as adopted children of God. Communion with God is possible in prayer because we have been united with Christ in Baptism.

The Gospel in Life
Make a plan to pray often this week?

Posted in: Sessions B