Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
John 6:60-69

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Generous God, you love us completely and you offer us the wondrous gift of faith.
Help us to follow the way of your son Jesus more closely each day.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection

God freely offers the gift of faith. Begin by inviting the children to name all the people of faith that they can think of, from the past or present. Then discuss the following:

• What are the qualities found in people of faith?
• Can you find any of those same qualities in yourself?
• What helps you to grow in faith?

Allow time for discussion.

Listening to the Word of God

In today's first reading, listen to how God is generous in love and faithfulness.

Read Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• Why did God stand by his people even though they were unfaithful in the past?
• What important decision do the people face?
• Explain the statement "as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

In the gospel today, listen to the call to follow Jesus.

Read John 6:60-69.
Allow for silence.

• Why did some people find Jesus' teaching hard to accept?
• Who chose to remain with Jesus?
• Why did the 12 disciples want to follow Jesus?

Scripture Background

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

The book of Joshua marks the conclusion to the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible. In today's first reading, the people of God are faced with the decision of whether or not to serve the Lord. They choose to renew their covenant with God with a great ceremony as they enter the Promised Land.

In today's gospel, the people are faced with the decision of whether or not to follow Jesus. We hear that many followers desert Jesus after hearing his message, which they find difficult to accept. The listeners are challenged by the notion that Jesus came from heaven with a mission to help restore the world. Their decision to leave Jesus shows the difficulty of discipleship.

The twelve disciples choose to remain with Jesus. Jesus makes it clear that God has given them the gift of faith.

Today's gospel reveals that the gift of faith enables us to follow Jesus and continue his mission of healing in the world.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• What did the people find difficult to accept about Jesus' message?
• Do you think that following Jesus is hard at times? Why?
• How does the gift of faith help you?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The gift of Faith
Catholics believe that faith is a free gift given to us by a generous God. Believing in God begins with God's self-revelation to us. We find God's revelation in the beauty and love that exists in the world around us. Accepting the gift of faith includes putting our trust in God and following the way of Jesus. Faith is our security in a troubled world. The darkness that exists in the world can turn us away from God. But we can count on God to draw us back to all that is good.

• Have you ever asked God to help get you through a difficult situation?

The Gospel in Life
When you have moments of doubt, ask God to give you the gift of faith.

Posted in: Sessions B