Junior High Session
Let us pray.
Good and loving God,
You created us to live In friendship with you and with one another.
Help us to be a good friend and we thank you for our friendships.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Opening Life Reflection
Begin today’s session by inviting the young people to reflect on friendship. Discuss the following:
- Describe what you think it means to be a friend.
- What qualities do you look for in a friend?
- What qualities do you bring into your friendships?
- After a falling out, how do you know if a friendship is worth saving?
- How do you know when a person is not your friend?
- Why are relationships important in our lives?
Friendships are for the good of each person. Friends and companions bring great comfort and joy to our lives. Human beings were created to live in friendship with God and one another
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the book of Genesis we are given an account of creation. Listen to what this reading tells us about how God made man and woman.
Read Genesis 2:18-24.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- Why did God think it was important for man to have a partner?
- How was woman created?
- Why was woman the most suitable companion for man?
- According this reading, how did God intend for man and woman to live together?
In the gospel reading today, listen to what Jesus has to say about marriage.
Read Mark 10:2-12.
Allow for silence.
- What does Jesus teach about marriage?
- How does Jesus describe the union between man and woman?
- Why does Jesus refer to the beginning of creation when he discusses marriage?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.
Today’s Old Testament reading describes the creation of all living things as God intended them to be. Man and woman are made as partners. God formed every animal of the field and bird of the air and none of these were suitable companions for man. So, God caused man to fall into a deep sleep and while he was sleeping, God removed one of his ribs and made it into woman. Man awakes to find woman, his true partner at last, and bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. In this account of creation God creates man and woman side by side as equals. This reading implies that companionship and the attraction that can exist between two human beings is good and God-given.
In today’s gospel reading the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce. Jesus responds with a discussion about creation and God’s original intentions for man and woman. Jesus describes the union of husband and wife as lasting because the two are united and become one flesh.
In this gospel reading, Jesus teaches us about the sacredness of marriage. When two people respect, honor and care deeply for each other, when they give unselfishly to one another and forgive each other’s imperfections, their union reflects the very love of God.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- Do you think that marriage is sacred? Explain.
- Do you think that equality is important to relationships? Why or why not?
- What can happen to a relationship if one individual thinks that he or she is less or more important than the other?
(If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.)
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Marriage, Divorce, and Annulment
Throughout our lives we grow in our ability to live as God intended. The story of creation tells us that God intended for man and woman to live for the good of each other. Marriage is an intimate partnership of life and love. Such a partnership provides an atmosphere of safety and respect so that each person can freely reveal and share who he or she is.
Catholics believe that married couples by their self-giving to each other share in the very love of God. Binding oneself to another for life is possible only through the grace of Christ. The love of man and woman is made holy in the sacrament of marriage, and becomes a sign for the world of God’s everlasting love.
- Think of the married couples that you know. How does their union reflect God’s love?
- What ingredients do you think make up a good marriage?
- Is it possible for a husband and wife to be best friends?
- Do all marriages contain the kind of intimate union between two people in Christ that constitutes a sacrament?
(In your discussion be sensitive to the reality that many young people have experienced a divorce in their family. Today’s discussion may also lead to the topic of annulment. The Church believes that some marriages do not represent the kind of intimate union between two people that God intended at the beginning of creation. Therefore an annulment can be granted to those divorced couples whose marriage was never a sacramental marriage.)
The Gospel in Life
Spend some time with a couple whose relationship reflects God’s love. Ask them to share with you what they think contributes to a good marriage.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 22
Junior High, Church and Sacraments, chapter 12
Junior High, Jesus in the New Testament, chapter 4