Junior High Session
Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10
Luke 1:1-4: 4:14-21
Let us pray.
O God, open our hearts to your Holy Word.
Guide us and teach us your ways.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Opening Life Reflection
Our main topic for today’s session is sacred scripture. To begin, invite the young people to reflect on their favorite scripture story. Sharing your own favorite scripture story often helps to facilitate the reflection. After a few moments of quiet, divide into small groups of three or four. Invite the young people to discuss the following within their group:
- What is your favorite story from the Bible?
- Why is it your favorite?
- When do you read or listen to scripture?
Following the small group discussion, allow time for discussion within the large group. Scripture is the eternal Word of God. Through the scriptures, God speaks to us. In the Bible we find meaning and direction for our lives today.
Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading the people listen to the Book of the Law of Moses being read. Listen to how attentive they are.
Read Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- What book is brought before the people of Israel?
- What did the people do when the book was opened?
- What were the people of Israel told?
In the gospel reading, listen to Jesus proclaim scripture in the synagogue.
Read Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.
Allow for silence.
- Why does Jesus go to the synagogue?
- What does Jesus do in the synagogue?
- What does Jesus read?
- Why were the eyes of all the people fixed on Jesus after he read from the scroll?
- What does Jesus say to the people?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
In the first reading from the Old Testament the sacred scriptures are proclaimed to the Jewish people. God’s Word gives them strength and hope during a time of rebuilding. After their exile, the people of Israel have the task of rebuilding a nation. Not only were the temple and the holy city in ruins, but the religious identity of the people was also in question. In the Old Testament reading we see what an important role the proclamation of sacred scripture played in renewing Israel’s Covenant with God.
Today’s gospel reading begins with Luke’s introduction to the good news about Jesus Christ. The audience that Luke is writing for has already heard about Jesus. Luke wants to give them a greater understanding of the events that they have already come to know.
The gospel reading goes on to mark the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as he reads from the sacred scroll in the synagogue. The people listen to the scriptures with great reverence as Jesus stands to read from the prophet Isaiah.
Jesus then interprets the sacred text to find meaning for his life at the time. This reveals how the Word of scripture is living and active. We too can find meaning and direction in the scriptures for our lives today.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How do these readings remind you of how we worship at Mass?
- When do you listen to the Word of God proclaimed?
- Can scripture have meaning for you in your daily life? Explain.
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God. Both Scripture and Tradition come from the Word of God. God’s Word helps teach us how to live. God speaks to us through the scriptures. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the books of the Bible. Therefore, the Bible reveals the truth as God intends it to be revealed.
Communication helps all our relationships grow. When we read and listen to scripture we enter into a dialogue with God. This prayerful dialogue strengthens our faith and nourishes our relationship with God.
- How does God speak to you through the scriptures?
- What must you do in order to hear the message that God has for you in the scriptures?
- How can prayer help you listen to the Word of God?
The Gospel in Life
Read one of the four Gospels. Start at the beginning and read to the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Before you begin to read, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 2
Junior High, Mystery of God, chapter 2
Junior High, Jesus in the New Testament, chapter 2
Junior High, Morality, chapter 2