Junior High Session
2 Kings 5:14-17
Let us pray.
all of life and creation are gifts from you.
We thank you for your many gifts.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
The theme for today is prayer of thanksgiving. To begin invite the youngsters to brainstorm the things for which they are thankful. Write down their responses. Discuss:
- What are you most thankful for?
- Why do we give thanks to God?
- How do you thank God for the many gifts that you have been given?
- How often do you thank God?
Allow time for discussion. God blesses us with countless gifts throughout our lives. When we pray prayers of thanksgiving we show our gratitude to God.
Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to how Naaman shows his gratitude to God.
Read 2 Kings 5:14-17.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- How does God heal Naaman?
- What does Naaman tell the prophet who cures him?
- How does Naaman show his gratitude to God?
In the Gospel today Jesus heals ten lepers. Listen to find out how many give thanks.
Read Luke 17:11-19.
Allow for silence.
- What do the ten lepers ask of Jesus?
- How does Jesus heal them?
- Who returns to Jesus to give thanks?
- What happens to the other nine lepers?
- What does Jesus tell the healed Samaritan?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
The Old Testament reading today was written to give encouragement to God’s people at a time of devastation, when Jerusalem was being destroyed. Today’s passage tells of a foreigner named Naaman who is miraculously healed through the prophet Elisha.
When Naaman is healed he gives thanks to the prophet and gives praise to the God of Israel. Naaman shows his gratitude by offering two mule-loads of dirt for the prophet’s servant to bring home so that he can worship the God of Israel. This gesture is a great sign of faith and thanksgiving because when this passage was written it was believed that deities could not be worshipped except on their own soil.
In the Gospel reading today a miraculous healing takes place and we find another genuine expression of gratitude. In this Gospel passage Jesus cures ten lepers. Yet, the sole person to return and give thanks is a Samaritan, an outsider to the people of Israel. Luke point’s out that it is the foreigner who is open to Jesus and his message.
The cured Samaritan shows his adoration and overwhelming gratitude by coming to Jesus and prostrating himself, lying flat on the ground before him. The gratitude that the Samaritan shows is a true response of faith. Not only is he cured but he is saved as well.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- Where do you find God’s healing in the world?
- How do you show gratitude to God?
- Is it hard to be grateful at times? Explain.
[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life]
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Prayer of Thanksgiving
There are five basic types of prayer named in our Catholic tradition. They are adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise. The scriptures this Sunday powerfully illustrate the prayer of thanksgiving.
All of life and creation is a gift from God. The position of the Church is one of thanksgiving for all God’s gifts, especially God’s saving action in Jesus. Through Jesus, all life and creation are redeemed and set free from sin.
The word Eucharist is Greek for “thanksgiving.” We give thanks to God for the saving sacrifice of Jesus that is made present when we gather together to share in the Eucharistic banquet.
The thanksgiving that we offer God not only takes place when Eucharist is celebrated. Every moment and every need is an opportunity to give thanks to God. When we live in gratitude we appreciate all of life as a blessing from God.
- Which of the five basic types of prayer do you pray most?
- Do you view all of creation as a gift from God?
- How do you show your appreciation for God’s gifts?
The Gospel in Life
What can you do this week to make prayer of thanksgiving more a part of your daily prayer?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 16
Junior High, Church and Sacraments, chapter 6