Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Deuteronomy 5:12—15
Mark 2:23—28

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
Good and gracious God,
you have created everything for our good.
Help us to spend each Sunday in giving praise and thanks to you.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Opening Life Reflection

The theme for today is to keep holy the Lord's Day.  On a sheet of paper, draw a large circle, covering the entire piece of paper.  In the center of the circle, draw a small circle and write the name “God” in the center of the small circle.  Divide the large circle into three sections.  Write in each section one way in which you can keep God as the center of your lives. 


  • What can you do to remember to keep God as the center of your life every day?
  • How difficult is it to keep God as the center of your life?
  • Why do you think it is important to keep God as the center of your life? 

Allow time for discussion.  The Third Commandment asks us to keep the Lord's Day holy and reminds us to keep God as the center of lives.  This commandment is also an expression of God’s love and goodness to us.

Listening to the Word of God

In today’s gospel, listen to Jesus’ response to the question from the Pharisees about keeping the sabbath holy. 

Read Mark 2:23-28
Allow for silence. 

Scripture Discussion Starters

  • Why do the Pharisees question what the disciples of Jesus are doing on the sabbath?
  • Why did Jesus respond to the Pharisees by telling of the time that David fed his companions? 
  • Why do you think the Pharisees did not like Jesus’ response? 

Scripture Background

Provide 2—3 minutes of background information on the gospel using the Catechist Background section.

In the first reading from Deuteronomy, the sabbath, the day of rest, is described as a remembrance of the people’s deliverance through the Exodus.  God’s action of bringing them into a “place of rest” — the Promised Land— is recalled and celebrated by the sabbath observance.  The reading also mentions how those who work would benefit from refraining from strenuous labor during the sabbath.

The gospel reading identifies Jesus with King David.  The bread eaten by David’s soldiers was sacred and was to be eaten by only the priests.  But just as David had the authority to take and eat this bread, so Jesus and his disciples may strip grain from the wheat fields for food, even though this was considered work, and a violation of the Sabbath rest.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  • What are some ways that you can help others take a break from their strenuous work?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when he said “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”?
  • What are some things that you can do to keep Sunday a holy day? 

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

Doctrinal Discussion Starters

In 1998 Pope John Paul II issued the apostolic letter Dies Domini (On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy).  In this letter, the Pope encouraged Catholics to keep Sunday holy by living the entire day well.  He suggested that, in addition to gathering with the Church to celebrate the Eucharist, we also need to spend time with our families, enrich our relationships with others, and spend time in relaxation and prayer.  He said that these practices can help cultivate peace and joy in the simple things of ordinary life (see Dies Domini 52).  Pope John Paul II encouraged us that spending Sunday in this way helps us to keep our worldly concerns in better perspective, and helps us to be at peace in our relationships with God, ourselves, and others (see Dies Domini 67). 

  • What are some ways that you can live the entire day of Sunday well? 
  • What are some ways that families can enrich their relationship with others?
  • What are some ways that we can participate more fully in the Eucharist?

Sacrament Connection

One of the precepts of the Church is to participate in Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation, and to rest from unnecessary work.  The main way that we can practice this precept and honor the Third Cmmandment is by celebrating the Eucharist at Mass. 

The Gospel in Life

This week, re-affirm your commitment to keep holy the Lord’s Day by participating at Mass and resting from unnecessary work. 

Posted in: Sessions B