Junior High: Presentation of the Lord

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Junior High Session
Malachi 3:1-4
Luke 2:22-40

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Creator God, You have formed us in Your own image and likeness.
Help us to live as members of Your family.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the belief that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. For today’s session provide the young people with several newspapers. Invite them to take a section of the newspaper and find stories that reflect human beings who are not living up to their potential and stories that show God’s presence in human situations. Discuss:
• What kind of human stories did you find in the newspaper?
• What does it mean for a person to live up to his or her potential?
• How can a human being reflect the presence of God?

Allow time for discussion. Jesus possesses two natures: Jesus Christ is fully human and truly divine. Because of his two natures, Jesus is able to help us live up to our potential as sons and daughters of God.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to find out how the Lord will come to his people.

Read Malachi 3:1-4.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• How will the Lord come to his people?
• What will happen in the temple?
• How will the people be purified?

In the Gospel today listen to find out what happens when Jesus is presented in the temple.

Read Luke 2:22-40.
Allow for silence.

• Why is Jesus brought to the temple?
• What does Simeon tell Mary and Joseph about Jesus?
• How does the prophet Anna react to meeting Jesus?

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

Today’s feast of the Presentation invites us to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. We remember Jesus’ coming as the very visitation of God, offering salvation and light to all nations.

The Old Testament reading today tells of the Lord’s coming to the temple. God’s people who have lost their way are called to correct their behavior. They must be purified and made ready for the Lord’s appearance.

Today’s gospel shows that Jesus is part of a family that is faithful to God’s law. In keeping with the Law of Moses, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord. Simeon and Anna, two faithful people of Israel, recognize Jesus as the Son of God. This gospel reveals that Jesus will cause conflict and division within Israel, but at the same time it proclaims that Jesus’ coming is Israel’s glory.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• How can we open the door of our lives for a visit from God?
• What are some ways that you are faithful to God’s Law?
• What does Jesus’ coming into the world mean to you?

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

The Two Natures
The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus possesses two natures: Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine. Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. In the one person Jesus, God and humanity are united.

The feast of the Presentation celebrates that Jesus, the light of all peoples, is the only Messiah. Jesus is fully human and truly divine. Because of Jesus’ humanity, he can identify totally with us. Because of Jesus’ divinity he can help us to grow and become all that God has intended us to be.

• What two natures does Jesus possess?
• Why is Jesus able to identify with human experiences?
• How does Jesus help us to grow and change?

Sacrament Connection
In the Sacrament of Baptism we are joined to Jesus Christ. We become his followers and members of the Body of Christ, the Church. In Baptism we are reborn as God’s children.

The Gospel in Life
Choose a situation in your life in which you trust that Jesus identifies with you. Speak to Jesus in prayer about this.

Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, chapter 25
Junior High, Morality chapters 9 and 10
Junior High, Jesus in the New Testament, chapter 9