Immaculate Conception, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Luke 1:26-38

Opening Prayer
Let us Pray.
Thank you, O Lord, for giving us Mary as a model of obedience. When we are faced with hard choices, let us look to Mary and her example to be strength for us to make the right decision. Like Mary, help us always be open to your plan and not always push ahead for our own. Help us follow your gentle urging to lead us in a way we cannot as yet comprehend. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your son, Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary. Consider each mystery and think about how Mary’s obedience resulted in joyfulness.

• How do we find joy when we are obedient to God?
• How is the example of Mary’s obedience helpful to us in obeying God?
• Are you ever tempted to say “no” to God? What do you do to change the answer to “yes”?

Share responses in a group.

Listening to the Word of God
Listen to the words that describe the sins of our first parents.

Read Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Allow for silence

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Why had Adam and Eve not found it necessary before to hide from God?
• The fall of Adam and Eve changed people’s relationship with God. How was Mary’s relationship with God so different?
• Why do you suppose Eve is called the “mother of the living”?

Although Mary wasn’t completely sure what God wanted of her or what the future would hold, listen to how she accepted God’s will.

Read Luke 1:26-38
Allow for silence.

• What amazing thing does God ask of Mary in this passage?
• What does Mary learn from Gabriel about the future of her son?
• What did Mary do to obey God?

Scripture Background
Provide 23 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

The original fall of human beings occurred with Adam and Eve. This story in Genesis, while not literally true, was developed to help God’s people understand how they were born with sin. Because of our first parents, Adam and Eve, evil is in our lives. For Adam and Eve, the serpent was the tempter. For us, we call the tempter Satan or Devil. God planned for Adam and Eve to live happily in the garden. Because they willingly disobeyed God, their lives became much harder.

At first Mary was afraid when God’s angel, Gabriel, came to her. The angel must have calmed her enough for her to hear the news that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, she would give birth to God’s son. Mary doesn’t understand this news exactly, but she recognizes it as the will and work of God. Therefore, she simply agrees to obey God. The angel gives Mary even more astonishing news when he informs her that her cousin, Elizabeth, and older woman well beyond child-bearing years, is also expecting a baby.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• Who are some people you know or know about who are chosen to do a difficult job? How are these people like Mary?
• What can we know about Mary’s devotion to God from this reading? How is your faith like Mary’s?
• Are there things God asks you to do that you would rather not? How do you have the strength to do them anyway?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Immaculate Conception of Mary

From the time of the Early Church, we have known that Mary was graced in a special way by God . . . indeed, she was full of grace. What took centuries for the Church to understand and state is that Mary was free from sin from the moment of her conception in her mother, Anne’s, womb. God set her apart from all other human beings. Favored by God, she was blessed and gifted. While people always believed that Mary was free from sin, it took many years for the Church to firmly declare that she was free from sin at the time of her own conception. In 1854, Pope Pius IX officially said in a document called Ineffabilis Deus, that Mary, by special grace from God, was conceived by her own mother without sin.

• Why is it important for us to have Mary as a model today?
• In what ways do we receive grace from God?
• How do you see others saying “yes” to God?

Sacrament Connection
The sacrament of Holy Orders is reserved for priests and deacons. Like Mary, they say “yes” to a special way of life so that they can bring Jesus forth into the world. Through our baptism, however, we are all called to priests. We show Jesus to many people when they hear our words and witness God’s love through our actions.

The Gospel in Life
I know that God is calling me to something. I will be like Mary and say “yes” to God by answering the call.

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