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Youth Ministry Resources - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year B: Mark 1:21-28 - A new kind of teaching, with authority - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Scriptures we frequently hear mention of the city of Capernaum, it was on the north west shore of the sea of Galilee and was the centre of Jesus' activities in Galilee. It is in the synagogue that Mark describes the first public act of Jesus and we hear that Jesus is powerful in both word and deed.

On the Sabbath the service in the Synagogue would feature prayers, Scripture readings and teachings in fact our Liturgy of the Word follows a similar pattern. Anyone with sufficient learning would be invited to teach as there was no need for Rabbinic "ordination" in the time of Jesus.

The Scribes based their teaching on the Scriptures but we hear that the teaching of Jesus was 'new', so Jesus' style would have been more direct and confident of his own authority because when Jesus spoke about God he was speaking about a God he called Abba.

While Jesus did heal the man passed by a demon, he shows that he is not merely a wonder worker because of the authority of his teaching. The demon objects to Jesus' meddling in the domain of evil. The coming of God's kingdom would spell the end of the demon's power and the demon recognises Jesus' identity and his significance for the coming kingdom.

The fact that Jesus cures the possessed man by word alone indicates the power of God's incarnate Word, Jesus. You and I are exposed to the power of God's word every time we read or listen to the Scriptures. We can thank the teachings of the Second Vatican Council for the greater significance Catholics now place on the Scriptures. To be denied God's Word would make us a "people who live in darkness".

When we live in the darkness of secularism we can be possessed by various demons - uncontrollable urges to participate in addictions or activities that shrink the life out of us and can turn us into bitter, angry, frightened and anxious people. Addictions to drugs, to alcohol, to power, to materialism, to consumerism, to gossip, to vindictive behaviour, all deny us the openness needed to be Christ's disciples.

It is worth considering what it is that we need to be liberated from and ask God to free us, so that when we interact with people they encounter a person of peace, a person of love, a person of hope, a person who makes them wonder what it is that makes us different. The answer would be found in the liberation that God gives us when we open ourselves to God's incredible love.

Cate Mapstone

Year A: Matthew 5:1-12 - The Beatitudes - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The number of books written on this passage would fill a library. There is something attractive and compelling that has driven numerous authors to seek further understanding of this most famous sermon. In one way, you can be relieved that I have a word limit because it would be easy to write at length on the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew places this sermon on a mountain because it is the biblical place of revelation, in Luke, this passage is on flat ground.

A beatitude is an exclamation of congratulations that recognises an existing state of happiness, so Matthew begins this teaching with a cry of joy on the nearness of the Kingdom of heaven. This is a challenging sermon because it asks us to make significant sacrifices, sacrifices that seem to put us at a disadvantage by the standards of this world. The beatitudes about the poor, the mourners and the hungry express Jesus' mission to the needy in Israel and the dawn of a new era in salvation history. In a way, all three beatitudes refer to the same people and it is worth remembering that we hear about the poor across the whole of the Christian Scriptures. The poor are happy, not because they are morally better off than others but because of God's special care for them.

The "poor in spirit" has been added by Matthew from the common source "Q" which provides many of the sayings of Jesus. Their economic poverty remains real but Matthew has added a spiritual dimension. By doing this Matthew includes a personal moral aspect which often leads to detachment from wealth, in a way it is a form of voluntary poverty. Wealth is not an evil in itself, indeed it is a necessity and something that can make an enormous difference to many struggling countries. But we risk becoming too attached to our wealth and so it risks neglect of God and of the poor because we become too comfortable.

The 'meek' means 'slow to anger; gentle with others' and is indicating a form of charity. 'Mourners' morn to see evil reign on earth. 'Merciful' is in pardoning one's neighbour, something we pray daily "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those…" To love, especially the needy and even one's enemies so that all vengeance is excluded. "Pure of heart" stands close to justice and includes covenant fidelity, loyalty to God's commands, sincere worship. "Peacemakers" in Matthew is closely related to love of neighbour and so the beatitude is of the merciful. The last long one is about the martyrdom experienced by the early church. So, how do we measure up to this list of desirable virtues or qualities? This is something to contemplate as we approach Lent and is a useful tool for preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Cate Mapstone

The Beatitudes - YOUTH ANGLE:

If you really really think someone is cool or great or your idol you want to be as much like them as you can. The "beatitudes" or list of blessings tells us exactly how Jesus lived and how we need to live. They're not easy. * Pick one that is easy for you * Pick one that is hardest * Who do you know that is an example of each Beatitude? * Where do different groups of people fit in: refugees, street kids, the people affected by the Tsunami, religious sisters, your next door neighbour, political prisoners, Indigenous people, your teachers at school? * And which beatitude are you going to work on?

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall have mercy shown to them.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for justice' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Manuela Macri

Year C: Luke 4:21-30 - Jesus is rejected by his own people - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel continues on from the Gospel read last Sunday where we heard Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Today we hear of the approval of all present and then how quickly that approval turned into rejection. Luke uses the theological principle of 'promise and fulfilment.' This is God's promise (Lk F:18-19) and Jesus is here to fulfil that promise. This passage is about the restoration of God's reign and how the structures of social and economic life must reflect God's reign. The townspeople were amazed that one they had known all along was the messenger of such news. It seems that the shift to the rejection of Jesus came when Jesus did not produce powerful deeds for them.

In fact Jesus was drawing their attention to the fact that the social and economic structures of their time and community, did not reflect God's vision for God's people. As God's people, we too have the responsibility to look at the social and economic structures of our time and work to ensure they reflect God's desire for humanity. There are many Church structures in our Archdiocese that work for social justice, we too can look at these structures in our local community. You and I have been anointed at Baptism and Confirmation "to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour." So our questions include:- Who is poor in our community? And don't just think of economics. Am I an experience of good news to those around em? Who is captive? Is my phone call, visit or different perspective an experience of freedom? Do I respond to the blindness of racism and sexism? Do I reject Jesus from my comfort zone?

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click the Pope for more Youth Ministry Resources.

Youth Ministry Resources 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time