Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session
2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16
Matthew 10:37-42

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
O God, you are the source of all goodness and love.
Help us to bring your love into the world.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the Sacrament of Baptism. For today's session bring materials to symbolize God, family, wealth, and friendship - items such as a cross, a picture of a family, a dollar bill, and a phone. To begin, place the items in the center of the room and explain what each symbolizes. Invite the young people to reflect on what means most to them at this time in their lives. Provide pencils and paper and have them list the objects in order of priority. Give the young people an opportunity to share with the large group how they prioritized the items and why. Discuss:

  • Why is it important to look at what we put first in life?
  • What influence does being baptized members of the Church have on our priorities?
  • What does the cross represent to people of faith?

Allow time for discussion. By our Baptism we are joined together as one in the Lord. When we put Jesus first, we live out our baptismal promise.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading, listen to how the prophet Elisha is welcomed.

Read 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • How does the woman welcome Elisha?
  • What does she tell her husband?
  • How is the woman rewarded for her hospitality?

In today's gospel, listen to how Jesus tells his followers to put him first.

Read Matthew 10:37-42.
Allow for silence.

  • How does Jesus tell his followers to put him first?
  • What does Jesus say about taking up the cross?
  • What happens to those who welcome a prophet?

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

In the Old Testament reading, the prophet Elisha helps reveal the word of God to the people. The message in today's passage is: those who welcome a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Traveling through town, Elisha needs a place to stay and a woman welcomes him. The woman gives the prophet food and she asks her husband to set aside a room for him. The woman responds to the needs of the prophet out of kindness, seeking nothing in return. The prophet wants to reward her for her kindness. Elisha finds out that the woman's greatest wish is to have a son. Elisha tells the woman that in due time she will have a son.

In today's gospel, Jesus helps his disciples put their priorities in order. He tells his followers that they are to put Jesus first, before themselves and their families. There is another requirement. Those who follow Jesus need to take up the cross. Today's gospel shows that the cross not only symbolizes death, but it offers the promise of new life.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • How are you rewarded for doing good deeds?
  • Why does Jesus want his followers to put him first?
  • What does the cross symbolize?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
Sacrament of Baptism
We believe that Baptism (along with Confirmation and Eucharist) initiates one as a member into God's Church. Being a member of the Church means that we belong to God and we are united with one another. We are members of God's family. As members of God's family we depend on one another. The love and support of others helps us to live out our baptism.

We are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Our baptism incorporates us into Christ's mission. At our baptism we promise to bring Christ's love into the world, to reject sin and selfishness, and to put Jesus Christ first. All people who are baptized are called to live out their baptismal promises for the rest of their lives.

  • What does baptism mean for your life today?
  • Who has supported you most in your walk of faith?
  • How do you live out your baptismal promises?

The Gospel in Life
In what ways can you show others this week that you put Jesus first?

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Posted in: Sessions A