September 24, 2006
Junior High Session
Opening Life Reflection
Allow time for discussion. Make the connection to Jesus’ message that the first shall be last and the servant of all.
Listening to the Word of God
Scripture Discussion Starters
In the gospel today Jesus defines true greatness.
• What does Jesus try to tell his disciples?
In the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear about a righteous man who is being tested. At the time that this book was written, it was understood by some that the wicked believed that everything ends at death. Therefore they rejected living on behalf of what is good and right in favor of immediate satisfaction in life. The just, however, believed in life after death, so they were encouraged to work on behalf of what is good and right in the present. In today’s reading, the just man is persecuted and tested. This passage prepares us for the prediction of Christ’s passion that we will hear in today’s gospel.
Today’s gospel contains the prediction of Jesus’ passion. Jesus tells his disciples about how he is going to be betrayed and killed. The disciples respond with silence. They are afraid to ask Jesus what he means by this prediction. We can imagine how lonely Jesus must have felt when his own friends could not understand him.
In today’s gospel we also find the disciples arguing about whom is the greatest among them. This would not have been an unusual conversation for the time. Determining what honor was due each person was a common discussion. However, Jesus’ response was unusual and poignant. He tells his disciples that whoever wants to be first must be last and the servant of all. Jesus takes a small child into his arms and say’s “whoever welcomes such a child in my name welcomes me.” The small child represents all that are small, powerless and vulnerable. Jesus makes the point that a person’s greatness is determined by how well she/he serves the most vulnerable.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
(If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.)
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
As Catholic Christians, we are called to a life of service. The baptized continue the work of Jesus and serve the needs of the poor and most vulnerable. We work for peace, care for the sick, stand up for the poor and visit the imprisoned with the understanding that by doing these works we serve Jesus.
• How can you use your talents to help serve your community?
The Gospel in Life
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition