Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session

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

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Loving God, you bring us comfort when we are in pain.
Thank you for your healing love.
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 youngsters what symbols remind them of healing and goodness. Write down their responses. Provide a blank sheet of paper and markers for each person. Invite the young people to draw symbols that help remind them of goodness and healing when they are sad or in pain. Discuss:

• What brings you comfort when you or a loved one is sick or in pain?
• Who can you go to for help when you are hurting?
• How can you help others who are sick or in pain?

Allow time for discussion. Faith in God helps us get through tough times. We can hope in the healing power of God.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today, listen to find out about the suffering of God’s faithful servant, Job.

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

Scripture Discussion Starters
• How does Job describe his suffering?
• What happens at night?
• What does Job believe that he will never see again?

In the gospel today listen to how Jesus brings comfort and healing to those who suffer.

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

• What is wrong with Simon’s mother-in-law?
• What does Jesus do for Simon’s mother-in-law?
• Why do the people seek out Jesus?

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 you to know that God is with you when you are suffering?
• With so much work to do, why does Jesus take time to pray?
• Where do you find the healing power of Jesus in the world today?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The Problem of Evil
All human beings experience suffering and pain. Like Job, it is difficult for believers to understand why God allows evil 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 through the power of the Spirit.

• What imperfections exist in the world today that cause human suffering?
• How do people make choices that lead to suffering and evil?
• How does the love of God 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
How can you bring God’s healing and love to someone who is suffering this week?

Posted in: Sessions B