Junior High Session
John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Let us pray.
Loving God, you call us to love.
Help us to treat one another with care and respect.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today’s session is Jesus’ command to “love one another.” Begin by dividing the group into small groups. Invite each group to list or draw on a large sheet of paper ways that they show love for others at home and in their community. Discuss:
- What does Jesus’ command to “love one another” mean to you?
Allow time for discussion. Jesus gave his followers the command to love one another. By his lived example Jesus also showed us the way.
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts listen to how the first Christian communities were strengthened in faith and love.
Read Acts 14:21-27.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Why did the disciples grow in number?
- How were the first Christian communities formed?
- How were they given strength and encouragement?
In the gospel listen to the new commandment that Jesus gives his followers.
Read John 13:31-33a, 34-35.
Allow for silence.
- What new commandment does Jesus give his followers?
- What does Jesus tell his disciples about how to love?
- How will all people know the disciples of Jesus?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
In the first reading from Acts, the new Christian communities are founded on the movement of the Spirit, which is made known through the preaching and encouragement of the apostles. The number of disciples increases, which brings about the need for organization. Leadership is called forth from the communities and the faithful gather regularly for prayer and celebration. Many were attracted to these early Christian communities because their life radiated great love and joy.
In today’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples that he will be with them only a little while longer. He gives them the greatest commandment, to love one another. And Jesus has shown his disciples the way of love through his life, death and resurrection.
Jesus is not only speaking to the first disciples in the gospel passage today, he is also speaking to his followers today and throughout the ages. The command to love as Jesus loves is a way of being in the world. It is a call to follow the example of Jesus in all that we say and do. This is how all will know that we are followers of Jesus; by the way we love one another.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How do you live Jesus’ command to “love one another?”
- Where do you find the strength and encouragement to follow Jesus?
- How do you encourage others to follow Jesus?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The New Commandment: Love One Another
The new commandment to “love one another” is the fulfillment of a law that has been inscribed in the hearts of the people of God throughout the ages. Jesus makes the law new by his life and mission.
The new law of Jesus is written in our hearts and brought to life by the action of the Holy Spirit. In baptism we “put on” Christ and become a new person. Love is our inner disposition and by the life of the Church we are given strength and encouragement to continue the mission of Jesus.
The new commandment to love is revealed to us by the example of Jesus who teaches his disciples to love one another as he himself loved them. Eucharist is the meal that symbolizes our following Jesus’ way of love, a way of service and sacrifice for one another.
- How do you show others that you are a follower of Christ?
- How does the Church give you strength and encouragement?
- How do you continue to do the work of Jesus?
The Gospel in Life
How will others know that you are a follower of Jesus this week?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 27
Blest Are We
Grade 7, chapter 11
Grade 8, chapter 4