Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
John 15:9-17 [or: John 17:11-19 when the Ascension is celebrated next Sunday]

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Loving God,
Let the love of Jesus grow in our hearts each day.
Help us to love one another as Jesus loves us.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection

The theme for today is Love, the center and soul of the Church's mission. To begin invite the children to create footprints of love. Provide the outline of a foot on sheets of construction paper, scissors, tape and a large sheet of poster paper. Write in large letters on the poster paper the words "Stepping Out in Love." Invite each child to cut out a footprint and tape it onto the poster. Discuss:

• How can people use their feet to show love for others?
• How can you step out in love at home?
• How can you step out in love when you are with friends?

Allow time for discussion. After calling his disciples friends, Jesus tells them to "love one another." Jesus invites us to be his friends too. Today we are reminded of Jesus' message, to step out in love.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles listen to how God's love is for all people.

Read Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• How does Cornelius greet Peter?
• What message does Peter bring to the Gentiles?
• What happens when the Gentiles receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?

In the gospel today listen to Jesus call his disciples friends.

Read John 15:9-17 [or: John 17:11-19 when the Ascension is celebrated next Sunday].
Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus tell his followers about loving one another?
• Why does Jesus call his disciples, friends?
• What does Jesus ask of his friends?

Scripture Background

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

The first reading from Acts of the Apostles points out that God shows no favoritism when it comes to love. God loves all people equally. In today's passage the disciples are doing what Jesus asked of them. They are going out and spreading the Good News. While Peter is preaching to the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. The gift of the Spirit is freely given not only to Jews, but to Gentiles as well. This event demonstrates how God's unconditional love is for every human being. Love is the heart and soul of the Church's apostolic mission.

In today's gospel Jesus invites his listeners to an even deeper friendship with him, with his Father, and with one another in the Church. By proclaiming that, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you," Jesus makes clear that love is at the core of this friendship. Jesus tells his friends that they have been chosen to bear fruit in the world. They are called to go out and love one another. Christians continue the mission of Jesus in the world because of love, the love they have received from God, the love they have received from Jesus, and the love they share with others in the Christian community.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• Why does God love all people equally?
• What does it mean to be a true friend?
• How can friendship with Jesus help you to be a good friend?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Love, the Soul of an Apostolate
Catholics understand that the entire Church is apostolic. The original apostles have inspired us to continue Christ's saving work and spread Christ's message of love. Through Baptism we share in the life of the Body of Christ, the Church. All members of the Church, through the grace of God, carry out the apostolate of the Church. We each have an important role to play in continuing Christ's mission on earth. God's gift of grace and love must be shared with others. By our acts of love and service toward others we work for the glory of God. The Eucharist draws us closer to Christ and in him we are made closer to one another. United as one Body in Christ, we are a sign for the world of a people formed by the Spirit into a community of faith, hope and love.

• Why do all members of the Church have an important role in spreading Christ's message of love?
• How does the Eucharist help us grow closer to Christ?
• Why is the Church a sign of God's love in the world?

Sacrament Connection
Sharing in the Eucharist nourishes our communion with God and with one another. In this Sacrament we celebrate our unity as members of the one Body of Christ. Communion with Christ strengthens our ability to love God and others.

The Gospel in Life
What act of loving service can you take part in this week?

Posted in: Sessions B