Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
1 Kings 17:10-16
Mark 12:38-44 [or short form 12:41-44]

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Lord, make me
an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen. (Prayer attributed to St. Francis)

Opening Life Reflection
Begin the session by drawing the young people’s attention to the opening prayer. Invite them to reflect on the line, “For it is in giving that we receive.” Discuss:

• What do you think this line from the prayer means?
• Do you agree with it? Explain.
• Can you relate this line to a personal experience of giving?

Allow time for discussion. We are surrounded by the gifts of creation. God also has given each person unique gifts to share. It is our task to use our gifts to care for the world. When we give to others and share our gifts for the good of creation we are giving thanks to God.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading today a woman trusts in the goodness of God. Listen to how the widow receives all that she needs.

Read 1 Kings 17:10-16.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Why is the widow gathering sticks?
• What does Elijah ask of her?
• How does the woman respond?
• How is she able to give Elijah what he asks for?

In the gospel today Jesus tells us about a poor widow gives everything she has. Listen as Jesus teaches his disciples about generosity.

Read Mark 12:38-44.
Allow for silence.

• What did the many rich people give to the treasury?
• What did the poor widow give?
• According to Jesus, who gave more?
• Explain the difference between giving out of abundance and giving out of poverty?

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

In the Old Testament reading today the power of the Word of God through the prophets is revealed. The poor widow did what Elijah told her and as was promised, her jar of meal was not emptied. God gave her all that she needed and more. In the days of the Old Testament it was not uncommon for a widow to be very poor since she no longer had a husband to provide for her. What is exceptional about this woman is her willingness to share what little she had.

The gospel reading today introduces us to another generous widow who gives everything she has. As many rich people put large sums into the treasury, Jesus watches a poor widow put in a penny. Jesus tells his disciples that others gave out of their abundance but this woman gave of her poverty. The generosity and quiet humility of this poor widow are admirable.

Jesus calls attention to the poor widow in order to teach his disciples what they have not yet learned. Their concern for worldly success and possessions was keeping them from understanding true discipleship. The widow represents the one who is truly great in the Reign of God.

Today’s gospel reading suggests that the amount that one gives does not matter. What does matter is the spirit and intention of the giver. The poor widow put her trust in God and gave all that she had. She was able to empty herself with the awareness that God would provide for her every need.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What have you learned from these readings about generosity?
• How are you being called to give?
• Do you trust that God will take care of your needs?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Stewardship is closely linked to discipleship. A steward is one who cares for the goods and property of an owner. Because God is the creator of every living thing and all the resources of the world, we are the stewards who care for that which ultimately belongs to God. Each of us has been given unique gifts from God to be used to help build the Reign of God on earth. St. Francis of Assisi exemplified what it means to be a good steward. He is remembered for living simply, caring for the poor, and cherishing all of creation. For Catholics, being a follower of Christ includes being a good steward and taking good care of the resources that God has given.

The reward of the good steward will be experienced in the world beyond this one. However, when we share our gifts with others and contribute to the good of the world around us we are living in cooperation with God. That is our reward here and now.

• Name some people who you think are being good stewards.
• Do you think of yourself as a good steward? Why?
• Are you willing to share what you have been given?
• How can you be a better steward?

The Gospel in Life
Many of the choices we make each day reflect how well we care for God’s creation. This week make a conscious effort to be less wasteful.

Posted in: Sessions B