Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Junior High

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Junior High Session
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Luke 9:51-62

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Creator God, you made us in your image and likeness.
Help us to make choices that reflect your love.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today’s session is that through his cross and resurrection, Jesus has set us free. Begin by having the young people form small groups of three or four. In their small groups, invite them to describe a good day, when things go well. Then have them describe a bad day, when everything seems to go wrong. Discuss in the large group:
• What contributes to a good day?
• What are some components of a bad day?
• How do the choices we make contribute to the kind of day we have?

Allow time for discussion. God created us with the freedom to make our own choices. Through his cross and resurrection, Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and death. It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to make good choices.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the Old Testament listen to a prophet respond to God’s call.

Read 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Who is called to be a prophet?
• What does Elijah do?
• How does Elisha respond to God’s call?

In the gospel reading Jesus sets out for Jerusalem. Listen to what Jesus tells his disciples.

Read Luke 9:51-62.
Allow for silence.

• Where is Jesus determined to go?
• Why is Jesus not welcome in the Samaritan village?
• How do the disciples react?
• What does Jesus tell his disciples?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.

In the first reading God commands the prophet Elijah to set out and anoint a prophet to succeed him. Elijah finds Elisha and throws his cloak over him. The cloak is the hairskin garment of a prophet. Elisha responds with a request to first say goodbye to his father and mother. Then with the slaughtering of his oxen and the burning of his plowing equipment, Elisha chooses to pursue his new vocation as a prophet.

In today’s gospel Jesus makes a firm decision to go to Jerusalem. On their journey Jesus and his disciples experience rejection as they approach a Samaritan village. The disciples react with anger but Jesus tells them to continue on their way. His disciples tell Jesus that they will always follow him. Jesus lets his followers know that their journey will not be easy. A true disciple must be willing to suffer rejection and poverty. Jesus tells his disciples that they must let go of their past and start on a new journey of building the kingdom of God.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Why is it sometimes difficult to let go of the past?
• Are we free to choose whether or not to follow Jesus?
• Why must a true disciple be willing to face persecution and suffering?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free

Through his cross and resurrection Jesus Christ has freed us from the power of sin and death. Jesus is our Savoir, the One who has set us free.

The Church teaches that God created us out of love with the gift of freedom so that we may willingly choose to love God in return. The human choice to sin and turn away from God is an abuse of the gift of freedom.

Along with the gift of freedom comes the responsibility to direct our actions toward good. God gives the gift of freedom to us so that we could learn and grow and make loving choices as children of God. When we choose to do otherwise we abuse the freedom we have in Christ, which leads to sin.

With the grace of God we are able to strive for what is right and good. We can do our best to seek what is good and avoid evil.

• How are freedom and responsibility related?
• How can we abuse the gift of freedom?
• What helps you seek what is good and avoid evil?

The Gospel in Life
Not all choices between right and wrong are clear-cut. How can you turn to God and your family to help you choose correctly when you are confronted with a difficult decision?

Posted in: Sessions C