Third Sunday of Lent, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Exodus 20:1-17

John 2:13-25

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

O God,

Your law of love is written upon our hearts.

Guide us and help us live your Commandments.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The topic for today is the Ten Commandments. To begin, brainstorm with the young people what rules and laws help them to value life. Write down their responses. Discuss:

• Why are rules and laws important?

• What laws in our society value life?

• What are God’s laws?

Allow time for discussion. The Ten Commandments are laws given to us by God. God’s Commandments shows us how to love and respect God and others.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today listen to God’s Commandments.

Read Exodus 20:1-17.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• Who does God give the Ten Commandments to?

• What are the first three commandments?

• What are the last seven commandments?

In the gospel reading today listen to what happens when Jesus finds moneychangers in the Temple.

Read John 2:13-25.

Allow for silence.

• Why does Jesus go to Jerusalem?

• What are the moneychangers doing in the temple?

• What happens when Jesus finds the moneychangers and sellers in the Temple?

Scripture Background

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

In the Old Testament reading God gives the Ten Commandments to the chosen people. God’s people consider the Ten Commandments to be a gift given to them by God. Following God’s law shows the faithful response of the people to their God. In this passage God commands, “You shall not have strange gods before me. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.”

In the gospel Jesus cleanses the Temple of greed and corruption. Jesus drives out the moneychangers and sellers. When Jesus foretells the destruction and rebuilding of the Temple, the people think he is speaking of bricks and mortar. They don’t realize that Jesus is speaking of his own death and resurrection.

This gospel concludes by pointing out that Jesus knows the hearts of those he meets. Jesus can see through the lies and false attitudes that work against God’s law of love. This passage reminds us that we can ask Jesus to cleanse our hearts as we try to live a moral life.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?

• How do you show respect for holy places?

• What are some attitudes and actions that can work against God’s law of love?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are part of the covenant God made with the people of Israel. Out of love God chose a people and entered into a close relationship with them. The people were given God’s Law to show them how to live.

God called Moses up to the mountain where he was given the Ten Commandments. God made a promise to Moses, that if the people keep the commandments, they will be God’s own. The people of Israel are called in freedom by the love of God to live in relationship with God and one another. The idea of law is not constricting for the people of Israel. It is just the opposite when seen through the eyes of God’s people who have been freed from slavery. God has given the people life. The Ten Commandments help the people to express their love and respect for God, for one another and for themselves. The first three commandments outline Israel’s relationship to God, and the last seven deal with relations with one’s neighbor. The command to love is at the heart of God’s Law.

Christians understand that the Ten Commandments guide us in living a moral life. However, we believe that the perfection of God’s Law is found in the New Law given to us by Jesus Christ. The example of Jesus’ life, his mission and teaching, and the ongoing teaching handed down by his Church through the Spirit, guide us in living as followers of Jesus.

• What do the first three commandments teach us?
• What do the last seven commandments teach us?
• How can following the Ten Commandments help us to live as followers of Jesus?

Sacrament Connection
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are forgiven the sins that we commit after we are baptized. God’s Commandments teach us to love and respect God, all people, and ourselves. We sin when we freely choose to do what we know is against God’s Law.

The Gospel in Life
How can you better live the first three Commandments this week?

Posted in: Sessions B