Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Daniel 12:1-3
Mark 13:24-32

Opening Prayer
Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer,
Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today is salvation in the final days. To help the children understand that they have a place in the family of God, create with them a “Book of the Elect.” Use a simple notebook or staple several blank sheets of paper together. Design the front page and title it, “Book of the Elect.”

Explain to the children that they are members of the chosen people of God. Another name for the chosen people is the Elect. As baptized Christians, our names are written in God’s Book of the Elect. The book that we have created today symbolizes that our names are written in the Book of Life, and we are members of God’s family.

Place the Book of the Elect and a pen in a prominent place in the meeting space. After a moment of quiet invite each child to come forward and sign his or her name in the book. (You may choose to play quiet music at this time.) Discuss:
• What does it mean for you to have your name written in the Book of the Elect?

Today’s session will explore the final judgment, when the Elect will be called forth to live in heaven with God forever. Some day the world as we know it will come to an end. It is part of the Divine plan for all people to live in heaven with God forever.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the Old Testament listen to how the people of God are delivered.

Read Daniel 12:1-3.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• How does this reading describe the last days?
• Who will God deliver?
• What will happen to the people who sleep in the earth?

In the gospel reading, listen to hear about the final coming of Jesus.

Read Mark 13:24-32.
Allow for silence.

• What will happen when the Son of Man comes in glory?
• Who will be gathered up and saved?
• Does anyone know when this will happen?

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

In the Old Testament reading we hear about the end of the world as we know it. This description of the final days is a form of apocalyptic writing. Catholic tradition does not interpret apocalyptic writing literally.

The reading from the Book of Daniel describes a time of great anguish when the people of God will be delivered. Many who sleep in the earth shall awaken to everlasting life. And some will experience shame and horror. This reading declares that at the end of time, the wise will be exalted for leading others to righteousness.

The gospel reading today also describes the end of the world, as we know it. Again a time of great suffering is mentioned. Then, the coming of the Lord on the last day is described with vivid imagery. This reading provides a message of both consolation and hope. The Son of Man will overcome all evil and put an end to suffering and death. The Elect will be saved.

Today’s readings can cause fear and uncertainty about the final days. It is reasonable to fear the possibility of being separated from God. However it is more desirable for love to be the motivating force when it comes to faith. Today’s gospel reading assures us that God will protect and gather up the chosen. We place our hope in the protection and presence of God.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• The Lord’s coming on the last day will restore peace and harmony to the world. Imagine a world without suffering or evil.
• How does this reading give you hope for the end of time?
• Does this reading cause you to fear the end of time? Explain.
• Does it comfort you to know that you are one of God’s Elect? If so, why?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Final Judgment

Human beings were created with the freedom to choose whether or not to live in cooperation with God. Throughout human history we have seen the devastating consequences of decisions made apart from the grace of God. It is up to us to make choices that help to renew the earth and bring about Christ’s presence. It is part of God’s ultimate plan that we live forever with God. It is our responsibility to do our best to live in accordance with God’s grace.

Final judgment will occur when Jesus comes again in glory. We believe that the world is currently being renewed by the presence of Christ. In the final days, the world as we know it will be completely transformed into a new and wonderful place.

The last judgment is when God will ultimately triumph over evil and establish a new heaven and earth. Catholics interpret the imagery regarding the end times with eyes of faith. Final judgment is perceived as the glorious revelation of God’s power over evil.

• Describe your thoughts about the final days.
• How can you prepare for the coming of the Kingdom of God?

The Gospel in Life
Talk with a family member or write in a journal about your thoughts and feelings concerning the final judgment. Remember that your name is written in the Book of Life.

Posted in: Sessions B