Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Ezekiel 2:2-5
Mark 6:1-6

Opening Prayer

Let us pray Psalm 119:105.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The main theme for today is Prophecy. To begin, divide into small groups of four or five. Invite the youngsters to reflect on areas of conflict in the world today. Assign each group to focus on one area of conflict and write a phrase together that contains "words of inspiration and hope." Discuss:

• What effect can words have on a person?
• How can words offer hope?
• What does it mean for words to be inspired?

Allow time for discussion. We believe that God uses words to communicate with us. Inspired words come from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Throughout history God has created hope in people through the inspired words of the prophets.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the Old Testament, listen to the words of the prophet Ezekiel.

Read Ezekiel 2:2-5.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

* How does God speak through the prophet Ezekiel?
* What is Ezekiel called by God to do?
* How will the people know that there has been a prophet among them?

In the gospel, listen to find out what happens to prophets in their hometown.

Read Mark 6:1-6.
Allow for silence.

• Where does Jesus go to teach in the synagogue?
• How do the people respond to Jesus' teaching?
• What happens to prophets in their hometown?

Scripture Background

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

In today's first reading from the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel describes a vision he has seen. He reports that he has heard a call to bring God's Word to his fellow citizens, a word that will challenge their faithless ways. The prophet's message will not be a popular one, so the Lord reassures Ezekiel that the message he brings will have its impact. The prophet can be certain of the power of his words because they are not his own words, but God's words.

Today's gospel focuses on prophecy with Mark's story of the rejection of Jesus in his hometown. Jesus' person and message are rejected by those closest to him. The people in Jesus' hometown take offense that Jesus, a carpenter's son, is teaching in the synagogue. The power of God is at work in the words of Jesus, but the people do not get it. Like the prophets before him, Jesus faithfully delivers God's word of power, regardless of the people's acceptance or rejection of that word.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• How does God speak to us through the prophets?
• What is it like to be rejected?
• Where can you find strength in the face of rejection?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The prophet is one who is called by God to convey a message to God's people. The Old Testament prophets delivered varied messages. Many prophets brought messages of hope to God's people during times of suffering and persecution. They reminded the people that God was always with them and always faithful to them, even when they were unfaithful to God. Some Old Testament prophets denounced the people for being unfaithful to the Covenant and placing their trust in false Gods. Whether challenging the people or offering comfort, the Old Testament prophets delivered God's message.

We believe that the fullness of God's promise is made clear in Jesus Christ. The long line of Old Testament prophets leading up to Jesus concludes with John the Baptist. Jesus fulfills his mission as, "the anointed One of God." In the course of his ministry he is prophetic, but unlike the prophets of the Old Testament, he is the fullness of God's revelation. While he teaches and speaks God's Word to the people, he himself is the eternal Word made flesh.

• What were some messages from the Old Testament prophets?
• How is Jesus the fulfillment of God's promise?
• How is God's Word brought to God's people today?

Sacrament Connection
In Baptism the presider anoints the crown of the head of each of the newly baptized with sacred oil called chrism and prays: The God of power and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin and brought you to new life through water and the Holy Spirit. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation, so that, united with his people, you may remain forever a member of Christ who is Priest, Prophet, and King.

The Gospel in Life
How can you bring God's message of peace and unity to others this week?

Posted in: Sessions B