Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Hosea 6:3-6
Matthew 9:9-13

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Loving God, thank you for the unearned gift of your love.
Help us to live as your children.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is grace. To begin, invite the youngsters to reflect on a time in their lives when they have felt the presence of God. Divide the large group in small groups of three or four and invite each person to share their experience within their group. Discuss:
• When are you most aware of God’s presence?
• How can we grow in our awareness of God’s presence in our daily lives?
• What is grace?

Allow time for discussion. Grace is the free gift of Divine love given to us by God. God’s gift of grace enables us to share in Divine life.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to find out what God desires of the people of Israel.

Read Hosea 6:3-6.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• How do the people of Israel express their love for God?
• Why is the devotion of the people described as dew that goes away early?
• What does God desire for the people of Israel?

In today’s gospel listen to how Jesus gives his love freely.

Read Matthew 9:9-13.
Allow for silence.

• Who does Jesus eat with?
• How do the Pharisees react when they discover Jesus eating with sinners?
• What does Jesus tell the others?

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, the prophet Hosea reprimands Israel for its infidelity to the covenant with Yahweh. The people offer prayers for deliverance, yet, their rituals are empty and their hearts are not with God. The prophet condemns such worship by announcing Yahweh’s reply: “Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away.”

The gospel reading today reveals that God’s love is freely given. Matthew the tax collector does nothing to earn the love that is shown to him by the Lord. Even before Matthew has repented of his sins, and without any guarantee that he will change his ways, Matthew is loved by Jesus and called to follow him. The Pharisees are shocked and outraged when they learn that Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus responds, “People who are in good health do not need a doctor; sick people do.” Jesus proclaims that he has come to offer the gift of grace to all who are in need of it.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What does it mean to practice empty rituals?
• How does Jesus show unearned love for Matthew the tax collector?
• Who is the gift of grace offered to?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Grace

The gift of God’s love and kindness is given to all of humanity. Grace is the gift of God’s life and love.

The Church believes that through Baptism we receive the gift of God’s life and love. We call this gift sanctifying grace. Through sanctifying grace we are made holy and sin is forgiven. We believe that God is present with us helping us to live as God’s children. The Church understands this grace to be actual grace.

God has created us to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth, and to receive eternal life. The gift of grace enables us share in the life of God.

• How is grace a free and undeserved gift?
• What does the Church believe about grace?
• How does God’s grace help you in your daily life?

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Posted in: Sessions A