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

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Junior High Session
Daniel 12:1-3
Mark 13:24-32

Opening Prayer
Let us pray,
Jesus our Savior,
you came into the world to bring us salvation.
Help us to live in the light of your presence, until you come again in glory.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today is final judgment and salvation. To begin, explore together the concept of salvation. Discuss:
• If someone were to ask you whether or not you were “saved,” how would you answer?
• How do you define salvation?
• What influence does your understanding of salvation have on the choices you make?
• How do the choices you make now affect your future?

Allow time for discussion. Someday the world as we know it will come to an end and all those who have been faithful to God will be saved. God does not want anyone to be separated from love. It is the Divine plan for all people to live forever with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the Old Testament listen to how the people of God will be saved.

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

Scripture Discussion Starters
• What does this reading describe?
• Who will be delivered?
• What will happen to the people who sleep in the earth?

In the gospel reading listen to how Jesus will come again in glory.

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

• What will happen when the Son of Man comes in glory?
• Who will be saved?
• Does anyone know the day or hour of the final coming of Jesus?

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. In the end time, the wise will be exalted for leading others to righteousness.

Today’s gospel 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 faithful will be saved.

These 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 can hope in the protection and presence of God.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Imagine a time when there will be no more violence or evil in the world.
• Does this reading give you hope for the end of time? Explain.
• Does this reading cause you to fear the end of time? Explain.
• Do you consider yourself to be one of God’s chosen people? 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 in heaven forever with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to do our best to live in accordance with God’s grace.

Catholics believe that every person undergoes personal judgment. Immediately after death Christ will determine whether or not a person has lived a life in cooperation with God’s grace. Personal judgment differs from final judgment. Final judgment concerns all of human history.

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.

• Explain your thoughts and feelings about the final judgment.
• How can you make choices that help to renew the earth?

The Gospel in Life
Remember that God is loving and merciful. When you are faced with a difficult decision, pray for guidance and direction. You will not be led astray.

Posted in: Sessions B