Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
Luke 6:27-38

 

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Loving God, you love us even when we do not deserve your love.
Help us to show your generous love to others.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

 

Opening Life Reflection
Jesus’ command to love one another goes beyond loving those who love us in return. This is the topic of today’s session. To begin, divide the children into small groups of three or four. Invite them to discuss the following questions in their small groups.
• How do you like to be treated by the members of your family?
• How do you like to be treated by your classmates and teachers at school?
• How do you like to be treated by your friends?

Allow time for discussion in the small groups. Continue the reflection with the large group by inviting the children to think for a moment about how they treat the members of their family, how they treat their classmates and teachers, and how they treat their friends. Discuss:
• Do you think that it is important to treat others the same way that you would like to be treated?

Allow time for discussion. Jesus teaches us to treat one another as we would like to be treated ourselves.

 

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading, listen to how David treats his enemy.

Read 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23.
Allow for silence.

 

Scripture Discussion Starters
• How does David treat his enemy?
• Why does David spare the king’s life?
• Where does David find the strength to deal with his enemy?

In the gospel reading Jesus has a surprising message. Listen to what Jesus has to say.

Read Luke 6:27-38.
Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus say about how to treat one another?
• What does Jesus say about how to treat our enemies?
• What will happen to those who judge?
• What will happen to those who forgive?

 

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.

In the Old Testament reading today, David chooses to spare his enemy from destruction. There is no hint of vengeance or hatred in the description of David’s treatment of Saul. We only hear that David relies on God to reward those who are righteous and faithful. David’s respect for the king is founded on the fact that, even with all of his faults, Saul is still the Lord’s anointed. David’s personal qualities are admirable. He does not take advantage of Saul’s vulnerability. Instead, David offers forgiveness when his enemy is defenseless.

In today’s gospel Jesus presents a remarkable vision of love. It is a vision that moves beyond loving only those who love us in return. Jesus challenges his followers to love their enemies and do good expecting nothing in return. According to Jesus, God sets the standard of how we treat our enemies. And that standard includes acting merciful and extending forgiveness even toward the undeserving. This teaching was unconventional for it’s time and it continues to challenge followers of Jesus today.

Jesus taught love of enemies with his actions as well as his words. Jesus’ entire life and ultimately his death modeled a self-giving love offered to all. Jesus offered forgiveness to the very ones who were persecuting him. The love and forgiveness that Jesus extended was given freely for the salvation of all humanity.

 

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What do today’s readings tell us about how to treat our enemies?
• What do we learn from television and the movies about how to treat our enemies?
• Why is it sometimes difficult to forgive those who hurt us?

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

 

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Love of Enemies

In this Sunday’s gospel we find that Jesus’ commandment to love God and neighbor extends to include love for one’s enemies. As followers of Jesus we are to love God and love all people. This includes those whom we consider our “enemies.”

Violence and hatred were directed at Jesus. Those who mocked him and put him to death saw Jesus as “the enemy.” Jesus forgave his “enemies,” and by his sacrifice all people are reconciled with God.

We all need to stand up for ourselves when we are being harmed or mistreated. However, as followers of Christ we are called to seek non-violent ways of dealing with conflict. We are given the ability to offer love to the undeserving and expect nothing in return when we turn to love’s Source. Love for one’s enemies requires reliance upon the grace of God.

• How can Jesus help you to forgive those who hurt you?
• Are you able to do good things without expecting anything in return?
• Name some people that you know or that you have heard about who have shown love for their enemies.

 

The Gospel in Life
Learn more about people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Jean Donovan who have loved generously. Ask a family member, teacher or catechist to help you.

 

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