Junior High Session
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Let us pray.
you lead and guide us
in your way of love.
Help us to hear your voice
and be faithful to your call.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
The main focus for today is the relationship between Jesus and those who belong to him. To begin the session, divide the large group of young people into small groups. Assign each group with the task of creating an advertisement designed to encourage young people to follow Jesus. Provide a variety of materials so that they can be creative with their add campaign. Suggest that they can design posters, use props or come up with a jingle.
When the small groups have finished, invite each group to demonstrate their advertisement for the large group. Discuss:
- Why do people choose to follow Jesus?
- How is Jesus like a “good shepherd”
Allow time for discussion. Good shepherds guide and protect their sheep. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and they follow him. Like the good shepherd and his sheep, Jesus knows and loves us. Jesus calls us to know and follow him.
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, listen to how the people gather to hear the word of the Lord.
Read Acts 13:14, 43-52
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Where do Paul and Barnabus come to spread the word of the Lord?
- Why were many Jews filled with Jealousy?
- Who listens to and praises the word of the Lord?
- Why do Paul and Barnabas leave the region?
- What do they do when they leave?
In the gospel today, listen to how Jesus is like a good shepherd.
Read John 10:27-30
Allow for silence.
- How is Jesus like a good shepherd?
- What does Jesus give his followers?
- What does Jesus say about himself and the Father?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because the image of shepherd is used to describe the relationship between Jesus and those who belong to him.
The first reading from Acts describes Paul’s missionary journey to Antioch. Paul and Barnabus preach the good news and many Jews follow them. Soon the whole City gathers to hear the word of the Lord. This causes some in the Jewish community at Antioch to become jealous.
Paul speaks out claiming to be sent by God to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. This points out that the disciple’s mission to speak the word of God to the Gentiles is part of God’s plan. Upon leaving the area Paul and Barnabus “shook the dust form their feet”, a practice Jesus told the first disciples to use when they are rejected. But all is not lost. The disciples leave behind many people of newfound faith who are full of joy and the Holy Spirit.
In today’s gospel Jesus uses the image of sheep and shepherd to describe his love and care for his followers. We are given the message that those who belong to Jesus are held safely in the hand of God.
Today’s passage goes on to reveal the gift of everlasting life. Not only does Jesus give his followers guidance and protection they are also promised the gift of eternal life.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How does Jesus love and care for you?
- Do you trust Jesus to guide and protect you?
- How does Jesus offer you the gift of eternal life?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Divinity of Christ
We believe that Jesus and God are together as one. Jesus has shown us who God is as Father and Creator. Also, because of the total love that they share, Jesus reveals to us the nature of God.
At liturgy, the Church prays what we believe about the Trinity developed by those who have gone before us in faith. We proclaim of Christ that he is “begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.”
- What does it mean to you that Jesus and God are one?
- How does knowing Jesus help you to know God?
- How is God’s love revealed to you?
The Gospel in Life
What can you do this week to encourage someone to follow Jesus?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 27
Junior High, Mystery of God, chapter 7
Blest Are We
Grade 7, chapter 1
Grade 8, chapter 2