Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Isaiah 8:23-9:3
Matthew 4:12-23


Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Lord God,
you call us to live as followers of Christ.
Help us to work for goodness and peace in our world today.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The theme for today is vocation. To begin, brainstorm with the young people what they think the world is most in need of today in order to make the world a better place. Write down their responses. Discuss:

  • What is the world most in need of today?
  • What can be done in response to the world’s needs?
  • How are you called to respond to the world’s needs?

Allow time for discussion. As Christians we are called to use our time and talents to build a better world. Sharing in Christ’s life and work is our vocation.


Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading listen to a message of hope.

Read Isaiah 8:23-9:3.

Allow for silence.


Scripture discussion Starters

  • What is hopeful about the reading?
  • What have the people done?
  • What imagery does Isaiah use to uplift the people?

In the gospel today Jesus calls his first followers. Listen to find out what they do.

Read Matthew 4:12-23.

Allow for silence.

  • How is the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled?
  • Who does Jesus call to come follow him?
  • What does Jesus go on to do?


Scripture Background

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

In today’s Old Testament reading Isaiah offers a vision of hope. The basis of this hope is that God is on the side of the people of Israel. The uplifting message in today’s passage is evident with images of a bright dawn, blazing torches of victory, a harvest festival, and soldiers dividing spoils after a victory.

Today’s gospel marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus who has come to proclaim the arrival of the kingdom of God. In today’s passage Jesus calls fishermen by the sea to come follow him. He invites them to become fishers of people. Many disciples join Jesus as he preaches the good news of the kingdom of God, and works deeds of power throughout the land.

Jesus chose to share his ministry with those whom he called his disciples. Today, Jesus calls us to be disciples and build God’s kingdom on earth.


Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • What did Jesus come into the world to do?
  • Why did the disciples follow Jesus?
  • How does Jesus call you to be a disciple?

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


Doctrinal Discussion Starters


The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word “vocare”, which means “to call.” Catholics believe that all people are called to share in God’s life. Jesus made it possible for us to share in the life of God. We are called to follow Jesus and work for goodness and peace in our world.

The gift of God’s life and love is a grace. This grace is lived out by our actions in the world. By our Baptism we are called to live lives of holiness.

Historically the term vocation has been used in the Church to describe the call to priesthood and religious life. In modern times, the teaching of the Church expands the understanding of vocation to apply to all believers. As Catholic Christians we are called to follow Jesus and use our God given gifts and abilities to serve God and others.

  • What is the vocation of all Christians?
  • What does it mean to be called to holiness?
  • What are some of the things you do that show that you are a follower of Jesus?


The Gospel in Life

Spend time in prayer this week and listen for God’s call in your life.


Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 14
Junior High, Morality, chapter 4
Junior High, Jesus in the New Testament, chapters 8 and 10

Posted in: Sessions A