Seth Moland-Kovash, Palatine, IL

Warm-up Question

If you had the opportunity to have lunch with any living person on Earth, who would it be?

Who Do You Hang With?

In a highly-publicized visit (to understate the case) Pope Francis recently completed a visit to the United States. He met with the President, he addressed a joint session of Congress (the first Pope in history to do this), he held a gathering of families in Philadelphia, he addressed the United Nations, and he met with countless church and national leaders. He had a very tight schedule. Following his historic address to Congress, he had been invited to lunch with Congressional leaders. He turned down that invitation to eat at a Catholic Charities’ center that serves the homeless in Washington, DC instead.


There were reports that, originally, the organization had wanted to invite major donors to the luncheon to meet the Pope. This is not a bad idea. It’s something groups do a lot – thank people who have given generously over the years. Instead, a few such dignitaries were there, but most of the crowd were the homeless who eat at this center on a regular basis. And the Pope met with them, sat with them, and ate with them

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think the Pope (and those who planned his visit) chose to eat at this center rather than with national or church leaders?
  • What does it say about priorities of all those involved?

Lectionary 29 / Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 53:4-12
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

We all have to make choices every day about who is important. We have to choose who is worth our time and our attention. Do we talk to this friend or that friend? Do we do homework for that class or this class? Do we join this team or that club? We make choices based on our own values, based on what seems important to us and also, what seems fun to us.

James and John wanted to feel important. They wanted Jesus to say they were important. They wanted Jesus to promise they would get seats of honor at any banquet table Jesus was sitting at. Jesus, as he so often does, flipped the table on them. He flipped what it means to be important in his kingdom. It’s not about having friends in high places. It’s about serving anyone.

Discussion Questions

  • Who can you serve in your life? How can you serve them?
  • What kind of attitude does Jesus want his followers to have?

Activity Suggestions

Serve together with your youth group is some way that serves the homeless or those in poverty in your community. It might be a homeless shelter, a food pantry, etc. Whatever it is – serve together.

Closing Prayer

Good and gracious God, we thank you for the example that you give us in Jesus’ life and teachings. Help us to serve others first. Amen.