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The Transfiguration of the Lord, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Matthew 17:1-9

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

Dear God,
Thank you for sending Jesus
to reveal your love for us
and your plan for the world.
Help us to know Jesus better
so we can know you better.
Amen.

Opening Life Reflection

Invite the young people to each share one statement that is a little known fact about themselves and one statement that is not true about themselves. As each young person shares, ask the others to guess which statement is true and which statement is false. (As an alternative, you may wish to do this in small groups or pairs.)

After a few minutes, ask the group to discuss:

  • Which was the most outrageous statement that was actually true?
  • What was the most fun false statement shared?
  • What did they consider when guessing what was true and what was false?
  • Did they ever have the experience of hearing news about someone that was hard to believe? What was the news, and why was it hard to believe?

Listening to the Word of God

In the First Reading from the Old Testament, describes Daniel’s vision, which includes some vivid details. Listen to hear what he saw.

Proclaim Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.

Allow time for silent reflection.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • What did Daniel see? (List responses on the whiteboard or flip chart.)
  • Apocalyptic literature often uses wild imagery as a kind of code to describe things currently happening. What do you think the images represent? (List responses on the whiteboard or flip chart.)
  • Why would Daniel offer this vision to the people who were in exile?

In the Gospel reading, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to show them something important. Listen to hear what it is.

Proclaim Matthew 17:1-9.

Allow time for silent reflection.

  • What did Peter, James, and John see on the mountaintop?
  • What did they hear on the mountaintop?
  • Why do you think Moses and Elijah were there?

Scripture Background

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

The First Reading comes from the Book of Daniel. It is intended as a reminder to the Israelites, who are in exile, to be faithful to their Jewish heritage. Even in their suffering, God promises to send one who will bring an end to their suffering. That figure is later understood to be Jesus.

In the Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain, where it is revealed to them that Jesus is the Son of God. In biblical times, mountains were often places of prayer, where God was revealed. The bright shining light and the voice from the cloud would have been familiar symbols of the presence of God. (The cloud is like the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites in the desert.) Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets, respectively. In the Old Testament, God communicated with His people through the law and the prophets. The disappearance of Moses and Elijah after the proclamation of Jesus as God’s Son tells us that Jesus is the fulfillment of all God wants to reveal to us.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • Why do you think Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain?
  • Why do you think Jesus told them to not tell anyone?
  • What do you think it means for Jesus to be the fulfillment of the law and the prophets?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Visions and Private Revelations

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ alone reveals all that God wants us to know about God and his plan of salvation. Everything about Jesus—his life, mission, suffering, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension—reveals the Father’s love through the Holy Spirit. God is still revealed to people, sometimes in quiet words or ideas, and sometimes in big visions. These experiences don’t reveal anything new about God; Jesus has already revealed all that God chooses to communicate to us about our salvation. Rather, these experiences help people understand what is communicated through Jesus.

The Gospel in Life

This week, when you are struggling to understand Jesus, ask others what they have come to know about Jesus. Consider how they can help you understand what has been revealed about Jesus, and ask Jesus to help you know him better.

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Posted in: Sessions A