Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Proverbs 9:1-6
John 6:51-58

Opening Prayer

God, Giver of all life,
Only you can fill our longing with your loving presence.
Thank you for the gift of your Son's friendship, which lasts forever.
Help us to make choices that lead to life, and protect us from all that is evil.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
Invite the young people to reflect silently for a moment on whether or not they have ever felt a deep hunger or emptiness within themselves. Then discuss the following:

• What is it like to experience a deep longing within?
• Why do you suppose such a hunger exists?
• How can you try to fill an inner hunger?
• Describe what it means to make choices that either foster or threaten life.

Allow time for discussion. Guide the young people to share from their lived experience.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament and the New Testament we hear about how God fills our hunger with living bread from heaven. Listen to what the first reading from the Old Testament tells us about being invited to a feast.

Read Proverbs 9:1-6.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• What kind of food is being offered at Wisdom's feast?
• Who is invited to this great banquet?
• What is being asked of those who come?

In the Gospel today, listen and learn about the spiritual food that God provides.

Read John 6:51-58.
Allow for silence.

• Why does Jesus describe himself as the living bread that came down from heaven?
• Why does Jesus offer himself?
• Who is invited to receive the gift of eternal life?

Scripture Background

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

Each proverb in the Book of Proverbs offers wisdom about life. In today's passage wisdom is personified as a woman giving a banquet. This passage conveys the idea that abundant life is being offered to those who answer wisdom's call. The text also implies that the decision of whether or not to receive the gift of life is up to us.

In the Gospel of John we hear the invitation to receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus asserts that he is the Living Bread that came down from heaven. According to this passage, the receiving of Jesus' flesh and blood is the means of obtaining eternal life.

The invitation we hear in this Gospel is to receive the gift of Jesus. This is an invitation to live in friendship with Jesus forever and be united to him in the same way that Jesus and the Father are united as one. This union ultimately feeds our hunger and satisfies our deepest longing.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• How can being in relationship with Jesus satisfy the longing of our spirit?
• What choices do we have to make in order to live in friendship with Jesus?
• In what way do Catholics eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus?
• What gift is offered to those who choose to receive Jesus?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
Catholics believe that the way in which Jesus' followers eat his flesh and drink his blood is through receiving the Eucharist. The Eucharist is truly and really the flesh and blood of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine. Transubstantiation is the word the Church uses to name this great mystery of our faith.

In the celebration of the Mass, Christ is also present in his holy Word, the scriptures, and he is present in the gathered community of believers.

Receiving the Eucharist nurtures our communion with God and with one another. The Mystics of our Catholic tradition helped to further enlighten us with the concept that through Jesus, all of life is interconnected and all creation is filled with the presence of God. As we grow in friendship with Jesus and continue to be nourished by the Eucharist we gain a deeper sense of the sacredness of life.

• Describe how receiving God's presence within you can make a difference in your life.

Sacrament Connection
In the celebration of the Mass, Christ is also present in his holy Word, the scriptures, and he is present in the gathered community of believers.

The Gospel in Life
Imagine what it would be like in the world today if all people respected the sacredness of life. How does believing in the sacredness of life affect the choices you make?

Posted in: Sessions B