Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46

Mark 1:40-45

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

O God, you care about us when we are hurt or sick.

Help us remember to turn to you for help.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The topic for today is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. To begin, invite the children to think of the names of family members or friends who are sick or in need of healing at this time. Place a small empty basket or box in the center of the room to represent the “Hands of God.” Provide small sheets of paper and pencils and invite the children to write the name of someone who is in need of healing on the papers. Then explain that the basket or box in the room represents the loving hands of God. Invite the children to come forward and place their papers into the “Hands of God,” and to trust in God’s healing power. Discuss:

• How can you help people who are hurt or sick?
• Who helps you when you are hurt or sick?
• When do you ask God for help?

Allow time for discussion. We can turn to God for healing and help when we are hurt or sick. We can also trust God to care for those in need of healing.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today, listen to find out how people with diseases were treated.

Read Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• How are sick people treated?

• What are the priests instructed to do?

• Where are the lepers sent to live?

In the gospel today listen to find out how Jesus treats people who are sick.

Read Mark 1:40-45.

Allow for silence.

• Who comes to Jesus asking for help?

• What does Jesus do for the leper?

• What does the healed man do when he leaves Jesus?

Scripture Background

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

In today’s first reading from the Old Testament we are shown the terrible plight of those suffering from infectious diseases. The priests are instructed to examine anyone suffering from skin diseases. If it is determined that a person is unclean, they are required to live outside the community. This treatment may have been due to fear of the disease spreading. When this Old Testament passage was written, the understanding was that holy people must be physically and morally well.

Today’s gospel deals with the subject of illness and healing. The healing that Jesus performs on the man with leprosy shows that Jesus has come into the world to restore health and bring people back to God. Because leprosy was such a dreadful skin disease, the leper’s bold approach to Jesus and Jesus’ loving response are all the more meaningful. Jesus is moved with compassion by the sight of the man. Jesus acts, and the man is completely cured. Jesus urges the man to tell no one of his healing, but the man promptly goes out and tells others the great news—that he is healed.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• What did it mean to be holy in Old Testament times?

• Why does Jesus have compassion for the sick?

• When have you been so excited about something that you had to tell others about the news?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
Jesus showed great compassion for those who were sick. He helped people believe in the goodness and healing power of God. While he did not heal everyone, his miracles showed the coming of the kingdom of God. The Church continues the healing mission of Jesus by taking care of those who are ill, by praying for them, and by celebrating the sacrament of anointing of the sick.

In the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, the Word of God is proclaimed from sacred Scripture. Then a silent laying on of hands by either a priest or bishop occurs, followed by the offering of the prayer of faith. Then the person who is sick is anointed with holy oil by the priest or bishop while the following words are said: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” The anointing can be made on the forehead and on the palms of the hands. The sacrament can be celebrated in a private home, in a hospital, in a nursing facility, or in a church. Families and parishioners are encouraged to be present to offer the comfort and support of the whole Church.

• How did Jesus help people believe in the goodness of God?
• How can we experience the healing power of God in the Church today?
• What is the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?

Sacrament Connection
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick strengthens ones faith and gives those who are seriously ill or dying the grace to face their sickness. Through the Sacrament, the Holy Spirit offers the gifts of courage, hope and peace.

The Gospel in Life
How can you offer prayers for those who are sick this week?

Posted in: Sessions B