Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Mark 6:30-34

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
God of all Goodness,
As members of the Body of Christ, help us to think beyond ourselves,
and reach out to serve the needs of others.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today is Pastoral Ministry in the Church. To begin, divide a chalkboard or a large sheet of paper into three columns. Title the first column "Acts of Service in the Community." Title the second column "Acts of Service in the Parish." Title the third column "Acts of Service in the Home." Brainstorm with the youngsters what acts of service they witness in these three areas. Write their responses in the appropriate columns. Discuss:

• Who are some of the people involved in acts of service in your community?
• Who are some of the people involved in service in your parish community?
• What acts of service are you involved in at home that contribute to the well-being of your family?

Allow time for discussion. As members of Christ's body we care for one another. Pastoral Ministry can be described as the kind of service that shows others the love and care of God.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading, listen to find out about God's plan to send a caring shepherd to the people.

Read Jeremiah 23:1-6.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• How does Jeremiah warn the leaders of God's people?
• How will God bring the scattered flock back to their fold?
• How does God plan to send a caring shepherd to the people?

In today's gospel listen to find out how Jesus shows compassion for the people.

Read Mark 6:30-34.
Allow for silence.

• Why does Jesus tell the apostles to come away and rest a while?
• Why does Jesus feel compassion for the crowd of people?
• What does Jesus do for the people?

Scripture Background

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

In the Old Testament reading the image of shepherd is used to describe those in leadership positions. Jeremiah warns the leaders of his time because the current king has led the people astray. In this passage the prophet foretells a time when the Lord himself will protect and guide his people through a king who will be caring and righteous. The name of this future leader ("The Lord our justice") points out that God's power will be at work in the future Messiah.

In today's gospel, Jesus invites the twelve apostles to come away and rest. This is the first and only time in Mark's gospel that the twelve are called "apostles." The disciples have faithfully done what Jesus told them to do, and so they are given a new title that shows a new relationship with Jesus. When Jesus departs from them, his followers will continue his work on earth. Like Jesus the Good Shepherd, the apostles are to be teachers and loving servants for others.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What are the qualities of a good shepherd?
• Why is the image of shepherd used in today's readings?
• How do people live as followers of Jesus today?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
Pastoral Ministry in the Church
In the life of the Church, members of the Body of Christ continue the work of shepherding God's people. Pastoral Ministry can be described as the kind of service that shows others the shepherding care of God, and is designed to help people recognize and respond to the saving presence of God in this world. God reaches out to us time and again through the Spirit, inviting us to live as children of God, and to truly live as members of the one body of Christ. Involvement in pastoral ministry allows us to live out our baptismal call to serve others.

There are four major forms of pastoral ministry today. First, any activity that attempts to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is a form of pastoral ministry. Second is any activity of public or communal prayer. A third form of pastoral ministry is any activity that promotes or assists the building up of the Church. And fourth, all actions that serve the needs of others such as counseling, feeding the hungry, finding shelter for the homeless, or any other acts of compassionate service. All these forms of service bring healing and compassion to hurting and sinful people in need of God's grace.

• What are the four major forms of pastoral ministry?
• Who is involved in pastoral ministry?
• How can you show compassion for those who are hurting?

Sacrament Connection
In the Sacrament of Matrimony, the Holy Spirit helps married couples to live a life of service to each other and the Church. Marriage is a sign of the faithful and life-giving love of God.

The Gospel in Life
What acts of service can you get involved in this week?

Posted in: Sessions B