Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Wisdom 7:7-11
Mark 10:17-30

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Gracious God,
With you all things are possible.
Thank you for hearing our prayers.
Help us to put aside all that keeps us from you.
Open our hearts to your holy Word.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection

Provide each young person with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Invite them to list all the things that they would like to possess in order to be happy and fulfilled. Encourage them not limit their selections to material items alone. Next ask the young people to look at their list and circle the three top choices and then underline their first choice.

Divide the young people into groups of two and have them share with each other their top three choices and then their first choice. Discuss.

  • Was it difficult for you to limit your list to three things and then just pick one?
  • What were the most important things on your list?
  • Do you think that the desire for and accumulation of material things can get in the way of happiness? Explain.

Allow time for discussion. Deep in our hearts we have the answer to what is most important in life. When we open our hearts to the Word of God, we are given the invitation to follow Jesus. And in Jesus we find all that we need.

Listening to the Word of God

In today’s reading from the Old Testament listen to the graciousness of God.
Read Wisdom 7:7-11.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • What was given to the person who prayed?
  • Was God’s gift accepted and appreciated?
  • What did wisdom bring along with her?

In the gospel reading the disciples ask Jesus who can be saved. Listen to Jesus’ invitation to follow him.

Read Mark 10:17-30.
Allow for silence.

  • Who asks Jesus about what he must do to attain eternal life?
  • What does Jesus say that the man must do in order to be saved?
  • How does the man respond to Jesus’ answer?
  • What do the disciples ask Jesus about salvation?
  • How does Jesus answer them?

Scripture Background

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

Today’s Old Testament reading begins with a prayer. It is a prayer answered by God. We hear that God was called upon and wisdom was given. In this passage the author indicates that

God offered to give Solomon whatever he wished for, and the king asked only for the gift of wisdom. Wisdom was understood to be a gift from God. In this story Solomon does not pray for material things. We are given the impression that according to him nothing compares to the radiance of Wisdom.

The gospel reading today gives us an account of a young man who chooses material things over God’s offering. The rich man approaches Jesus seeking the ultimate good, but when Jesus answers him with what he must do to be a disciple, the man goes away sad.

Jesus wanted the rich man to be a disciple. However, the man chooses his treasures on earth instead of the treasure in heaven. Immediately the rich man pays the price of his decision and he goes away sad. His material wealth will never give him the fullness of life here on earth and after death that Jesus has to offer.

After witnessing the young man’s refusal to follow Jesus, the disciples begin to wonder who can be saved. Jesus responds to their question with the hopeful news that all things are possible with God.

Salvation is a work of grace and a gift from God. This reading points out that we can choose to accept the gift or walk away. Jesus offers saving words to those who seek eternal life, and the gospels pass on that same offer to all who hear God’s Word in every age.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • Where is your treasure?
  • What is Jesus calling you to turn away from in order to follow him?
  • How can you be more open to hearing God’s Word?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Word of God/Revelation

What God reveals to us and how God is revealed forms the basis of Catholic theology. Everything focuses around Jesus Christ who is the ultimate revelation of God and God’s love for us. We believe that Jesus is the eternal Word of God who by his earthly life, teaching, and ministry and by his death and resurrection has shown us the way to God and brought us salvation. Jesus is the eternal Word, the self-communication of God to humanity.

This belief implies that there is a need for a personal response. God issues an invitation to us and we have the freedom to turn toward God or turn away. Because God is gracious and merciful we are given a lifetime to respond to the invitation.

While each individual believer makes a personal response, faith is not lived out alone. The Church is a community that believes, and through that community faith is nourished, sustained, and expressed.

  • When have you heard the call to follow Jesus?
  • What keeps you from responding positively to God’s invitation?
  • Describe the faith community that you belong to.

The Gospel in Life

Take some time this week to read the Bible. Begin with one of the four gospels. Listen for your personal invitation to become friends with Jesus.

Posted in: Sessions B