Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Mark 1:29-39

Opening Prayer 

Let us pray.
Loving God, you love and care for those who are hurt and sad.
Help us to do our part to make things better.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection 

The topic for today is the problem of evil. To begin brainstorm with the children what helps them when they are hurt or sad. Write down their responses. Provide the children with construction paper and markers and invite them to create a card of comfort for a person in a hospital or nursing home. Discuss:

• How can a card of comfort help someone who is sick or sad?
• Who helps you when you are hurt or sad?
• How can you help others who are hurt or sad?

Allow time for discussion. We all have times when we experience sadness or pain. Our faith teaches that we are never alone when we suffer. God is always there with us.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today, listen to how God’s faithful servant Job experiences pain and suffering.

Read Job 7:1-4, 6-7.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters 

• How is Job suffering?
• What happens at night?
• Does Job believe that he will see goodness again?

In the gospel today listen to how Jesus brings comfort and healing to the sick.

Read Mark 1:29-39.
Allow for silence.

• How does Jesus bring healing to Simon’s mother-in-law?
• Why do the people come looking for Jesus?
• What does Jesus go off and do in the morning?

Scripture Background

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

Today’s first reading from the Old Testament gives us a glimpse of the suffering of a faithful person. Job is being put to the test. Will he remain faithful to God even when life becomes difficult and painful? Job’s suffering helps us to see that innocent human suffering cannot be easily explained. Job calls out to God and his cries are a sign of his faithfulness. God is with Job through his suffering.

In today’s gospel we find Jesus healing the sick and casting out demons. Jesus takes Simon’s sick mother-in-law by the hand and makes her well. Many people come to Jesus and he restores goodness and health to those in need. Today’s passage shows Jesus taking time to pray in order to deal with the pressures of his public ministry. Jesus’ healing love shows that good is more powerful than evil. The presence of Jesus reveals the saving love of God to the world.

Questions for Deeper Reflection 
• Does it help Job to know that God is with him in his suffering?
• With so much work to do, why does Jesus take time to pray?
• How does the Church help to bring the healing power of Jesus into the world?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Problem of Evil
All human beings experience suffering and pain. Like Job, it is difficult for believers to understand why God allows evil and suffering to exist in the world. The Church teaches that evil causes the imperfections that cause human suffering. However, the meaning of suffering will always remain a mystery.

When reflecting on the problem of evil it is important to look at the power of God’s love. We believe that God is good and all-powerful. God’s Son shared our suffering and death so that our sins would be forgiven. Jesus came to save us from all sin. Jesus continues to bring God’s healing love into the world through the Church and with the power of the Spirit.

• What causes pain and suffering?
• How do people make choices that lead to goodness?
• How do people make choices that lead to suffering?
• How does love conquer evil?

Sacrament Connection
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick celebrates the healing power of God’s love. In the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick we are given the strength to face sickness and death with courage and hope. Through the power of the Holy Spirit this sacrament continues Christ’s work of healing among us.

The Gospel in Life
Bring your card of comfort to someone who is sick or in pain this week.

Posted in: Sessions B