Junior High Session
Let us pray.
You gave your life to save us from our sins.
Help us to always be mindful of your generous love.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
On a large sheet of paper or newsprint list a variety of ways that young people experience suffering today. (Examples: illness, the illness of a loved one, divorce, death of a loved one, losing a friend, failing a subject in school, feeling lonely or rejected.)
Invite the young people to reflect on the suffering that they have experienced in their own lives. Point out the list on the large sheet of paper as a reference. Allow time for silent reflection. Discuss:
- What do you think is the most common cause of suffering in the lives of young people today?
- What helps you to get through painful experiences?
- Have you ever helped someone who was suffering? If so, how?
Jesus suffered and died for our sins. But things did not end there. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus’ ultimate victory over death shows us that good does triumph over evil. In times of suffering we remember that a new day will dawn and God will not abandon us.
Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading hear how God’s servant suffers for the good of many.
Read Isaiah 53:10-11.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Why must God’s servant suffer?
- Who is being served by his suffering?
- What is gained through the servant’s suffering and death?
In the gospel today hear Jesus tell how he came to give his life to deliver us from our sins.
Read Mark 10:35-45.
Allow for silence.
- Why did Jesus want to tell his disciples about his approaching death?
- Did the disciples find it hard to accept that Jesus would have to die for their sins?
- What did Jesus mean when he said that he came, “not to be served but to serve?”
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.
Today’s first reading from Isaiah foretells the coming of a savior whose suffering and death will redeem God’s people. The Servant in this passage is one who lays down his life as an offering for sin. We also hear that there is deliverance for this servant, which is a foreshadowing of the resurrection of Jesus.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus tries once again to tell his disciples about his approaching death. Jesus understands that he must suffer and die in order to save the people of God. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ death is not something that takes Jesus by surprise. He journeys to Jerusalem where he knows that death awaits him, while trying to help his disciples realize that he must suffer and die in order for God’s glory to be revealed. Through the suffering and death of Jesus we have gained the glorious resurrection and our redemption.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- What does the Christian symbol of a cross or crucifix remind you of?
- How can the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus give you hope in times of suffering?
- How can you offer hope to people who are suffering?
(If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.)
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Redemption by Christ’s Suffering
The mystery of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the focal point of faith. Jesus saves us from sin and death. The mystery of our salvation unfolds as Jesus walks among us on earth. He gives his life, offering himself to God as one of us in all things but sin. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh in order to save us.
We are redeemed because God loves us. God wants to live with us forever. Through Jesus we are joined with God when we open our hearts to God’s love. Only through the eyes of faith can we understand the salvation that is ours through Jesus.
- How do you open your heart to God?
- Do you believe that good will ultimately triumph over evil?
- Does knowing that Jesus was the same as you in all things but sin help you to turn to Jesus for help when you need it?
- How does your faith in Jesus help you in times of suffering?
The Gospel in Life
During this week find a cross or crucifix to pray with. As you look at the symbol, think of how Jesus died so that you might live. Pray a prayer of thanks.