Temptations To Sin – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Lesson Overview

In this week’s Gospel passage Jesus says whoever is not against Him is for Him, while laying out a difficult teaching on the nature and consequences of sin. Jesus’ teaching is simple in concept, but it is difficult to be His disciple in practice. In this lesson, students analyze scenarios of sin to apply Jesus’ teaching.

Lesson Materials

Activity Part I, Gospel Reading 

  1. Read the Gospel passage aloud to your students as they follow along. Then discuss the focus and reflection questions with them as a class.

Focus Questions 

Lower Elementary Gospel Reading, Mark 9:38-48

  1. What do you think Jesus meant when He said, "whoever is not against us is for us" ? Jesus explains that anyone who performs a mighty deed in His name cannot at the same be against Him.
  2. Do you think it is a sin to cause someone else to sin? It is sinful to intentionally cause someone else to sin, even if you are not sinning directly yourself. The Catechism explains “we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them” (CCC 1868).
  3. Gehenna is another name for Hell. What does Jesus teach about the consequences of sin? Gehenna or Hell is the consequence for our sins.

Activity Part II, Sin Scenarios

  1. Read the Sin Scenarios aloud to your students as they follow along and discuss the questions together as a class.

Sin Scenarios 

A. Dave is shopping at a department store. He sees a sweater that he really likes. Dave cannot afford to buy the sweater. Looking around to see if there are any store employees watching, Dave puts the sweater in his shopping bag and walks out of the store without paying for the sweater. 

  1. How is Dave sinning this situation? Dave’s sin is stealing the sweater.
  2. What should Dave do? Dave should have put the sweater back and left the store. He could save up his money to return later and buy the sweater. Or he could decide he already has enough clothes—much more than most people in the world have—and he really doesn’t need another sweater.

B. Helen and her friends are playing on the playground. As they are playing, one of Helen’s friends, Elizabeth, keeps calling another friend, Jane, a loser. It’s obvious that Jane does not like being called this name. Helen knows that Jane doesn’t like it, but is afraid if she says something to Elizabeth, she’ll be called names too. Helen does not say anything. 

  1. Who is sinning in this situation? How? Elizabeth sinned by calling Jane names. Helen is sinning too, by witnessing what happened, knowing it was wrong, but not acting to stop Elizabeth’s bullying. This is a sin of omission.
  2. What should Helen do? Helen should have stood up to Elizabeth and asked her to stop calling Jane names. She could have made an effort to be especially kind to Jane so that others could see her and know what it looks like to be a friend. Helen and Jane could have stopped playing with Elizabeth and found something else to do.

C. Jose and Carl want to go see a movie, but don’t have the money for tickets. Jose knows that his mom keeps some money in her purse. Jose asks Carl to keep watch for his mom at the doorway to her room while he takes the money from her purse. Carl agrees and stands at the doorway watching for Jose’s Mom. 

  1. Who is sinning in this situation? How? Both Jose and Carl are sinning. Jose is stealing money from his mom, while Carl, who is not directly committing a sin, is sinning by cooperating with Jose’s sin. Both are also sinning by knowingly using stolen money to buy the movie tickets.
  2. What should Carl do? Carl should have refused to help Jose steal the money. He could have also suggested they find something else to do other than see the movie.

 

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