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Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Share any experiences you have of public speaking or giving oral reports in the classroom. Why do you think many people become anxious when they have to speak in public? When public speaking involves telling unwelcome truths to powerful leaders, what qualities does the speaker need? Who are the people in today's world you recognize as prophets?

What opportunities do you think young people may have for serving as God's spokesperson? What truth about how God wants us to live would you most want to communicate to the world? Why?

Reading 1 Ezekiel 2:2-5

Reading 1 Reflection

Most people fear public speaking. And the ancient prophets of Israel were no exception. They had to proclaim unwelcome truths to the powerful because that is what God sent them to do. Like Ezekiel in today's reading, they felt inadequate to communicate God's message. Ezekiel knew that the Israelites, who were in exile in Babylon, would resist what he had to say about their need to repent.

However, God assures him that the rebellious Israelites will recognize that a true prophet has come to them. Despite his fears, Ezekiel agrees to be God's messenger.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

Many years ago a famous body builder advertised his services with a humorous illustration. It depicted a "Before" sketch of a skinny weakling, and an "After" sketch of a muscular he-man. The ad succeeded because most people want to avoid weakness of all kinds. What kinds of weakness do people your age worry about? What kinds of strength do they admire? How do you think Jesus might define "weak" and "strong"? Why? Would they be the same or different from the images of strength and weakness perceived by your peer group?

When Paul realized that what he saw as his weaknesses could be used by Jesus, he let go of his pride. He accepted the difficulties that came with serving the Lord. How do you think Jesus has reached others through you? What difficulties have you faced in serving him?

Reading 2 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Reading 2 Reflection

Like Peter and the other apostles, Paul did not suddenly become perfect when he began to follow Jesus. He had been a proud and powerful Pharisee who persecuted the first disciples. Paul received many great graces and blessings as he made his missionary travels and preached the good news. Yet he also had to endure many sufferings like the mysterious "thorn in his side" that he mentions in today’s reading. The purpose of the thorn was to keep him from thinking too highly of himself and taking all the credit for his success as an apostle.

Paul prayed and Jesus revealed a wonderful secret to him. When we cooperate with God's grace, in our weakness God’s power is perfected. Imagine how happy Paul was to discover that "when I am powerless, then I am strong."

Whom do you consider a prophet today? How do you honor today’s prophets?

Discussion Questions for Gospel

When and why have others ever said to you "You're just too much" or "Who do you think you are?" when they disapproved of you? What might these complaints reveal about the ones who make them? What questions did the people of Nazareth have about Jesus? Why do you think they were so determined to reject him?

Find and quote Jesus' response to the way he has been treated. How does his experience help you to act when you are misunderstood or criticized for doing the right thing?

Gospel Mark 6:1-6a

Gospel Reflection

"Who does he think he is?" and "She's just too much!" are common complaints used to belittle others. When Jesus first returned to Nazareth and preached in the local synagogue, his audience was amazed. They could not believe that one who had grown up in their midst could be such an outstanding teacher and healer. Perhaps they envied and feared the power they sensed in him.

Because of their refusal to believe, Jesus could work few miracles among them. He understood that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. So he moved on to other villages where the people welcomed him.

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