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

Download PDF

Primary Session

Matthew 16:13-20

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

O God, your Church is built on a solid foundation.

We are happy to be part 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 past down to each successive pope. To begin, provide crayons and a simple outline of a church building for the children to color. Invite the children to draw pictures of the things that belong in the church. Discuss:

• Who belongs in the Church?
• Who are the leaders in the Church?
• How is Jesus present in the Church?

Allow time for discussion. Peter was the first leader in the Church. Jesus gave Peter his name, which means “rock,” because Jesus chose Peter to be the rock upon which the Church was built.

Listening to the Word of God

In the gospel today, listen to find out why Jesus calls Peter the rock upon which he will build his Church.

Read Matthew 16:13-20.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• What question does Jesus ask his disciples?
• How does Peter answer Jesus?
• Why is Jesus pleased with Peter’s answer?
• What does Jesus say to Peter about being a rock?

Scripture Background

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

In today’s gospel, Peter shows his great faith in Jesus. Jesus asks his friends what they believe about him. Peter replies, “You are the Messiah.” For this answer 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 great faith in Jesus is a gift from God. Peter is given the task of passing on the faith of all Jesus’ followers. Jesus gives the keys to Peter and God’s power is given to the entire community of believers.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• How does Peter show his great faith in Jesus?

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

• How do you show your faith in Jesus?

[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 rock upon whom Jesus built his Church. Peter was the first leader in the Church. Catholics believe that the leadership of 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 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 leadership over the Church.

The pope is a spiritual leader. His leadership is modeled after Jesus the Good Shepherd, 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 Jesus?
• What kind of a leader is the pope?
• What is the name of our current pope?

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