Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Zechariah 9:9-10
Matthew 11:25-30

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Loving God, you command us to love one another.
Help us to treat ourselves and other people with respect and dignity.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection

The topic for today's session is the virtue of chastity. To begin, invite the young people to reflect on how today's top rated television shows portray relationships. Divide the large group into small groups of four or five and provide each group with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Have one person from each small group divide their sheet of paper into two columns. On one side have them write, "shows respect for the whole person" and on the other side write, "devalues the whole person." Invite the young people to list the top rated television shows under one of the two headings that describe how the relationships are portrayed. Discuss:

  • How are relationships portrayed in the media today?
  • What are some ways that people show respect for one another?
  • Why is it important to value the whole person, body, mind and spirit in a relationship?

Allow time for discussion. The Church describes the virtue of chastity as the integration of one's sexuality within the whole person; such that an inner unity of body, mind, spirit, and soul is attained (CCC 2337). As followers of Jesus we are called to practice the virtue of chastity by respecting ourselves and sharing our love with each other in appropriate ways.

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading today, listen to Zechariah announce the coming of a great king.

Read Zechariah 9:9-10.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • How does Zechariah announce the coming of a king?
  • What kind of king is coming?
  • What will this king bring to the people?

In the gospel today, listen to hear about the special relationship that Jesus and the Father share.

Read Matthew 11:25-30.
Allow for silence.

  • How does Jesus describe his relationship with God the Father?
  • Who does God reveal things to?
  • What comforting message does Jesus give his followers?

Scripture Background

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

In today's first reading from the Old Testament, Zechariah announces the arrival of a great king. According to Zechariah, this king will be like no other. This is a king whose greatness is found in his humility. The king is portrayed as meek and humble, rather than as a powerful military or political leader. Zechariah proclaims the coming of a "just savior" who will banish the weapons of war and bring peace.

In today's gospel, Jesus is presented as Wisdom made flesh. He suggests that Wisdom is given as a gift to the "merest children" and it is not the result of the labors of the learned and the clever. Jesus reveals his special relationship with the Father by saying that his Father has given "everything" over to him. In the gospel today, Jesus gives his listeners a comforting message. He invites the people who are burdened to come follow him. Following Jesus is easy and the burden is light because it is fueled by love. Jesus lets us know that if we turn to him, he will always be with us helping us through the tough times.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • What are some qualities of a great leader?
  • When do you find life burdensome?
  • How does Jesus help to lighten your load of burdens?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
God has created human beings as both male and female. Everything God created is good. God has created all human beings with the capacity to love and share and reach out in communion with one another. There is a connection between what we feel, who we are, and how we are built, that leads to this call to love and share. The Church describes the virtue of chastity as the integration of one's sexuality within the whole person; such that an inner unity of body, mind, spirit, and soul is attained (CCC 2337).

As a whole person we are called to live in Christ. As followers of Christ we are called to practice the virtue of chastity. The virtue of chastity helps us respect ourselves and share our love with each other in appropriate ways. Jesus treated all people with respect and love. We are called to treat others with love and respect as Jesus did.

  • Why is the virtue of chastity important?
  • How do we develop the virtue of chastity?
  • How did Jesus live a chaste life?

Correlation to Faith First©

Faith First Junior High: Liturgy & Morality,
Liturgy and Morality, Chapter 19, pp. 231-233

The Gospel in Life

This week how can you be more aware of which media messages encourage you to practice the virtue of chastity?

Posted in: Sessions A