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

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Intermediate Session

Isaiah 22:15, 19-23

Matthew 16:13-20

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

Thank you, God, for building your Church on a solid foundation.

Help us to live as members of your Church family.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The topic for today is Petrine Ministry, a ministry that comes from the Church’s understanding that the leadership of Saint Peter is passed down to each successive pope. To begin, divide into small groups of four or five. Provide half a bag of marshmallows and a handful of toothpicks to each group. Instruct each group to build a structure using the marshmallows and toothpicks. Discuss:

• What does a structure need in order to stand secure?
• What does it mean to have a solid foundation?
• How does the Church have a solid foundation?

Allow time for discussion. Peter was the foundation upon which Jesus built his Church. The head of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope, is the successor to Saint Peter. The Church is built on a solid foundation.

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading listen to find out how God calls for a change in leadership.

Read Isaiah 22:15, 19-23.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• How does God call for a change in leadership?

• Who is God’s chosen leader?

• What key will be given to Eliakim?

In the gospel today listen to find out what key will be given to Peter.

Read Matthew 16:13-20.

Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus ask his disciples?

• How does Simon Peter answer Jesus?

• What does Jesus tell Peter about being a rock?

• What keys will Jesus give to Peter?

Scripture Background

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

In today’s first reading from the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah prepares the people for a change in leadership. Isaiah brings God’s message that Eliakim will replace Shebna. God will put great trust in Eliakim and give to him the “key to the House of David.” Eliakim will do all things in the name of God. Along with leadership comes responsibility. God chose Eliakim to be a caring leader who treats the people with respect.

In today’s gospel, Peter professes his faith in Jesus. Jesus asks his friends what they believe about him. Peter replies, “You are the Messiah.” For this statement Jesus gives Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven,” and calls Peter “Rock,” the foundation stone upon which Jesus will build his Church.

Peter’s faith in Jesus’ identity is a gift from God. Peter is given the task of passing on the faith. Jesus entrusts the keys to Peter and God’s power is given to the entire community of believers.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• What kind of leader does God want Eliakim to be?

• What kind of a leader is Jesus?

• Why does Jesus choose Peter to be the rock upon which he will build his Church?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Petrine Ministry in the Church
Peter is the foundational leader upon whom Jesus built his Church. Catholics believe that the charge of shepherding the Catholic Church has passed down from Peter to successive holders of the office of bishop of Rome.

The pope is the bishop of Rome and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Our Church teaches that as pastor of the entire Church, the pope has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church. Bishops are successors to the apostles in their role as teachers and pastors. Together with their leader, the pope and never apart from him, they have full authority over the Church.

The pope is a spiritual leader. His leadership is modeled after the Good Shepherd, Christ, who is compassionate and loving. The pope witnesses to Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit by spreading love, justice, peace, and holiness throughout the world.

• What kind of a leader is the pope?
• What is the name of our current pope?
• How does the pope spread justice and peace throughout the world?

Sacrament Connection
The sacrament of Holy Orders celebrates the ordaining of a man as a bishop, a priest, or a deacon, to serve the People of God in the name of Jesus. From the days of the apostles, bishops, priests and deacons have served the Church.

The Gospel in Life

How can you find out more about our current Pope John Paul II this week?

Posted in: Sessions A