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

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Intermediate Session
Numbers 11:25-29
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
God our Creator, out of love you have made us in your image.
And you have made all people equal and precious in your sight.
Help us to treat one another with care and respect.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection

Begin with a role-play exercise. Ask for approximately six volunteers to help act out a scene in which a group or clique is shown to make other children feel left out. Give the children time to come up with a skit. After the performance discuss the following:

  • How do you think it felt to belong to the group?
  • How do you think it felt to be rejected by the group?
  • Do groups or cliques like this exist at your school?
  • What can you do to help people fit in?

Allow time for discussion. Jesus did want people to feel left out or unwelcome. He worked very hard to show acceptance and love toward everyone.

Listening to the Word of God

In the Old Testament reading the gift of God's Spirit is given freely.
Read Numbers 11:25-29.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • What did God give to the elders?
  • Why did Moses' assistant want to stop them from doing God's work?
  • Did Moses want to stop them?
  • Why did Moses ask his assistant if he was jealous?

In the gospel reading Jesus does not put a stop to people doing good works in his name.
Read Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48.
Allow for silence.

  • What did John and the other disciples see?
  • Why did they want to stop the person who was doing good works?
  • Why does Jesus tell his disciples not to stop anyone from using his name to do good works?
  • How does Jesus warn his disciples against sin?
  • What did Jesus mean by saying cut off what ever makes a person to sin?

Scripture Background

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

In the reading from the Old Testament we see how the Spirit of God is given wherever God wills. The gift of God's Spirit is not given because people earn it through good behavior. The Spirit is given simply because that is what God wants to do. In today's reading the Spirit of God is placed upon seventy elders who then go around speaking about God and heavenly things. This concerns Joshua who is Moses' assistant. Joshua does not want other people to receive God's gifts because they were not there when the spirit of God was first given. Moses does not agree with his assistant. Moses says that it would be great for the Spirit of God to rest upon all the people of the Lord.

In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples that they should not keep other people from using his name to do good works. Jesus did not want his friends to think that they were part of a special group that left other people out. In the gospel reading we hear that John is concerned about someone who is using Jesus' name to cast out demons. Jesus makes it clear that anyone who does good works in his name should not be stopped.

Today's gospel also describes the seriousness of making choices that turn us away from God. When we make choices that hurt other people, or ourselves we damage our relationship with God. In the gospel reading Jesus talks about cutting off those things that make us sin. He does this to get our attention because Jesus wants us to know that there is nothing worse than sin because it keeps us from God.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • Have you ever wanted someone out of your way because you were jealous?
  • How do today's readings show that it is not a good idea to form groups that leave others out?
  • What can you do to help make the people that you come into contact with feel accepted and welcome?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

Catholic Social Teaching
Catholics believe that all people are created in God's image and likeness. Out of love God created us as unique individuals. We are precious in God's sight. As children of God, we are to view all people as brothers and sisters. God created all people equal and we are to treat one another as equals and with respect.

Catholics also value work. People have been given talents by God to help create a better world. Everyone should have the opportunity to work. This includes men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants. We should not do anything to keep people from getting work. Catholic social teaching makes it clear that we were not created alone but together. Together we make up the family of God. As part of God's family we work together to make God's love known throughout the world.

  • Are there some people who are treated unfairly because of their physical appearance? Explain.
  • What can you do to stand up for those whom are treated badly?
  • Do you accept and welcome people who are different from you?

The Gospel in Life
At school this week, find someone who does not have any friends to sit with during lunch and invite them to sit with you.


Posted in: Sessions B