Pentecost Sunday, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Acts 2:1-11
John 20:19-23

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
(Traditional Prayer to the Holy Spirit)

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the Holy Spirit and Confirmation. To begin write the words, "Acts of Courage" on a chalkboard or sheet of poster paper. Brainstorm with the youngsters what acts of courage they have seen or heard about. Divide into small groups of four or five, and invite each group to list ways that young people can display acts of courage today. Discuss:

• What does it mean to be courageous?
• What are some situations that call for courage?
• What helps you to be courageous?

Allow time for discussion. After Jesus' death, the disciples gathered in fear behind locked doors. Their fear was turned to joy with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helped the disciples to courageously spread the Good News. The Holy Spirit helps us to be courageous too.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles listen to find out what happens on the day of Pentecost.

Read Acts 2:1-11.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• What happens on the day of Pentecost?
• What do the symbols of wind and fire represent?
• What does the Spirit give the disciples the ability to do?

In the gospel today listen to how the Holy Spirit turns the disciples' fear into joy.

Read John 20:19-23.
Allow for silence.

• Why were the disciples meeting behind locked doors?
• How does Jesus greet the disciples?
• What gift does Jesus leave with his friends?

Scripture Background

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

Today's feast of Pentecost celebrates the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples. On Pentecost the Church celebrates its birth. It is the last Sunday of Easter and brings the Easter season to a close.

The first reading from Acts tells the story of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with sounds of rushing wind and with tongues of fire coming to rest on each disciple. The Holy Spirit gives the disciples the courage to go out and fearlessly proclaim the Good News.

Today's gospel begins with the disciples gathered in fear behind locked doors. Then something drastic happens and their fear turns to joy. The Risen Lord comes to the disciples with a greeting of peace. He commands them to go fourth, giving each of them the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gives the Spirit by breathing on the disciples.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What do we celebrate on Pentecost?
• How does the Holy Spirit help the disciples?
• How does the Holy Spirit help us?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The Holy Spirit and Confirmation
There are many names for the Holy Spirit, such as "Spirit of God," "Paraclete," and "Advocate." All these names tell us something about the third person of the Holy Trinity. Catholics understand that the Holy Spirit shares in the same divine nature as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit makes Christ present in the Church and in the world. The Spirit kindles in the hearts of believers the fire of faith giving them the courage to tell others about Jesus. The Holy Spirit makes God present in our lives and in the life of the Church. The Spirit gives the believing community gifts of healing, unity and love.

The sacrament of Confirmation is linked with the giving of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation and it is necessary in order to complete baptismal grace. Through the sacrament of confirmation we are enriched with the special strength to become true witnesses of Christ in the world. Because of the gifts of the Spirit, we can live as Christians in the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit the work of Jesus continues in those who follow him.

• Why do we call the Holy Spirit our Advocate, or Helper?
• What gifts have you received from the Holy Spirit?
• What signs of the Holy Spirit do you see at work in the Church?

Sacrament Connection
In the sacrament of Confirmation the Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way. Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation and it is necessary in order to complete baptismal grace. The gifts of the Spirit give us the special strength to become true witnessed of Christ in the world.

The Gospel in Life
How can the Holy Spirit help you to forgive someone this week? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to forgive that person.

Posted in: Sessions B