Suggested Ages: 13-15
Passage: Luke 5:12-16 (also Mark 1:40-45 & Matthew 8:1-4)
- Narrate the story of the healing of the leper
- List the areas in their life that the students have felt like a leper
- The idea behind this is to put the students in the shoes of the man with leprosy
who was ridiculed and shamed to see if they can relate to him at any point
- The idea behind this is to put the students in the shoes of the man with leprosy
- Take a look at their own lives (soul search) and examine when have they treated others unfairly
- The idea behind this is to see if they were on the other end of the healing story. Have they ever ridiculed or shamed someone based off of how they look, or treated someone poorly?
- Discuss how the healing of Jesus can be applied to their own lives, not only in physical illnesses, but in other aspects of life
Also see main retreat page.
- Class 3 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Preparation For The Sacrament of Holy Confession (PDF)
- Student Handout of Confession Self-Reflection Questions (from guide) (PDF)
Session 1 (1-1.5 hours)
Opening Activity (10-15 minutes)
With the opening activity, the objective is to get the students interested and engaged into the lesson prior to actually introducing the story of the leper. The idea with each of the activities is to put the students into the shoes of the leper or experience something the leper might have experienced. Pick and choose which activity is most feasible to do with your group of students based on number and space available. Try to avoid tying in the specific points of the activities with the story of the leper until you go over the story with the students, but be sure to highlight them while the students are going through the activity.
Option 1: “No Touching Allowed”
Materials needed: orange (or a small ball or some kind of small round
Objective: The idea behind this game is to portray the feeling of not being able to physically touch anyone, just as a leper was not allowed to do. The kids have to rely on each other in order to move the orange from one area of the room to another without physically touching each other.
How it works:
● Pair children and give each pair an orange.
● Have the pair place the orange between their foreheads and then try to walk to the opposite side of the room without touching each other at all.
● Try other variations and see what happens (i.e., place orange between partners’ shoulders or knees)
● Get the students’ feedback on what they thought was difficult and what their experience was doing the activity
Option 2: “Introspection”
Materials needed: The activity can be done as a discussion or written down where students will need a sheet of paper and a writing utensil
Objective: The idea behind this activity is to get students to start relating small aspects of their life to the life of the leper and compare and contrast. Through this they can not only look at their own life, but start to get a feel for what life might be like for someone with leprosy.
How it works:
This activity can be conducted as a discussion with the whole group or have the students write down their answers on a sheet of paper. Ask the students the following questions and have them share their answers and discuss with the group.
○ What are some things that you like about yourself?
○ What do you wish was was different about yourself?
○ If you were exactly how you wanted to be, how would life be different for you?
Start by asking the kids to share their experiences and talk about a time where they were sick; what were their experiences? Did they rely on anyone to help them get better? What did they do to help you get better? (5 minutes)
Story Overview (30 minutes)
Have the students read out the story from the Bible. Go over the story with the students utilizing visual aids if possible (powerpoint, posters, etc.)
Character Focus: Leper
- Have the students talk about what the leprosy disease is and how it might have affected someone in that time. Try to get the students into the shoes of the leper and paint a picture about what it might be like to have this disease.
- Leprosy was bad because
- The leper was repulsive to look at
- There was no cure
- They had to live in isolation
- A person who touched a leper was considered unclean
- Start applying the opening activity (“No Touching Allowed”) and mirror their experience with what the leper might have experienced in daily life
- How was the leper supposed to act in society? Who took the first step in the process of healing?
Character Focus: People around Jesus
- Get the students to talk about what the reaction of people around Jesus (disciples, the adults, the children, etc.) might have been when the leper came to Jesus
- Why did they ridicule the leper? Why do you think they would deter Jesus away from the leper? Do you think they would approach the leper?
Character Focus: Jesus
- Get the students to look into the Bible to see what Jesus was doing before he healed the leper (Luke 5:1-11).
- Christ is calling his disciples but it is important to remember that he is not calling disciples out of people who were rich, most beautiful, most educated…rather they were people who were the outcasts of society.
- We should remember that Jesus does not care about outward appearances or material possessions or anything worldly, but He looks into the heart of those who come to Him. Jesus looked into the heart of the man with leprosy and saw that he was willing and ready to accept Him
- How did Christ react to the leper when he came begging for a miracle in his life? What does Christ look for in us? What can we do to have Christ come into our lives?
Student Application (10 minutes)
Objective: Get the students to start applying the story to their lives. With the intermediate group, they may start thinking about instances in their lives where they have felt bullied, or may have even done the bullying. Some of the students may look down on themselves with something they want to change in their life. The idea behind this final application is to get the students to realize that Christ the ultimate healer does not look towards outward appearances or possessions, but rather looks to the heart of the individual. The willingness to accept Him, to trust ones life to Him.
Any change that we want in our lives should be with 100% faith that Christ will be there with us to walk us through the journey. If the students have experiences where they may have looked down upon others or treated others poorly, this is an opportunity for them to see what it might have felt like as a leper who was ridiculed and shamed by others.
Discussion questions to help aid the final objectives:
○ Have you ever treated yourself or been treated like a leper?
○ In your effort to have change in your life, what is the first step you need to take?
○ Have you done something that has affected others in a negative way? Are you willing to change on your part if you have upset someone else?
Concluding Ideas (5 minutes)
Have the students give their feedback of the lesson and summarize what they learned with some Take Home Points
Get the students prepared to start thinking about how they are going to present the story of the leper (skit presentation, poetry, storytelling, etc.)
Session 2 (1 hour)
Opening Activity (10 minutes)
Materials needed: One beanbag per student (or a book in case a bean bag is not available…some sort of object to balance on the head of a student)
Objective: This is a game that encourages students to start reaching out and helping others just as Christ helped out the leper.
How it works:
● Children will balance beanbags on their heads. At your signal, children will move around the area at their own pace. You may then signal that the children need to hop or skip.
● If a bean bag falls off, that child is frozen. A friend must then pick up the beanbag and replace it on the frozen person’s head without losing his or her own bean bag. Play for a specific period of time or until everyone is frozen.
● When the game is over ask the players how many times they helped their friends, or how many times their friends helped them. How did it feel to help someone? How did it feel to be helped?
Video Activity (10 minutes)
Have the students watch the following video to get their memory back with the story. Allow them to explain the emotions of the different characters again.
Guide For HOLY CONFESSION (30-40 minutes total)
Based off of the “Preparation For The Sacrament of Holy Confession: A Guide for Youth and Sunday School Students,” prepared by Fr. Dr. Renjan Mathew. Use this guide to allow you to better understand and explain the Sacrament of Holy Confession to the students.
Objective: The idea behind this part of the lesson is to get the students to start considering the idea of partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Confession. The teacher may use this as an opportunity to guide students through what may be their first confession through the use of activities, presentations, etc. utilizing the story of the leper. Through the lenten season, the idea is for all believers to go through the journey of becoming one with God again, which calls for the divine forgiveness of sins (John 20:23) in order to live a God-centered life following the ways of Christ in thought, word, and deed.
Confession Presentation Activities (OPTIONAL – 10min)
The following activities are available for the students to perform within the class setting in order to guide the class towards the partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Confession.
Activity 1 – Clean me Lord!
Write all the negative things you can come up with about someone on pieces of toilet tissue and wrap it around one person like a leper used to be covered.
Have students ridicule that person for all the bad things the “leper” represents.
The “leper” is on his/her knees crying out to God. Jesus walks up to him and pulls out one paper at a time, crushes the paper and puts into the trash.
When all the paper is removed, the “leper” leaps up with joy and praises God and falls at Jesus’ feet and worships Him. Jesus blesses him.
Activity 2 – Stay Away
Leper covered in toilet paper walks around ringing a bell so people can move away. People avoid him shun him, call him names.
Jesus passes by.
The leper falls at Jesus’ feet asking for cure Jesus touches him and heals the leper
The leper goes away singing
Ask each student to say a sentence what they took to heart from the story.
(Summarize with that the kids actually took to heart)
Confession Activity – Student Application – 10min
Objective: Use the following discussion questions to guide your class to think deeper into the activity that was performed. This final discussion should start to point the class towards realization of the importance of being ‘healed’ through Jesus Christ, where the Holy Church provides an avenue to accomplish this through the Sacrament of Holy Confession.
Discussion Questions: Does any of the mean things you attributed to the leper associate with you? Let us think a little deeper…
● How did the people around the man with leprosy treat him? How do you think he felt?
● Have you ever been treated poorly? How did it make you feel? Have you hated another person? Have you ever treated someone poorly? How do you think it made that person feel?
● Have you said or done something with the intention of hurting someone’s feelings?
● Have you told your parents you were studying, when in reality you were not? Are there other times you hid the truth on purpose?
● Have you made fun of someone even in your heart because they were different?
● Have you been disrespectful of others or other’s property?
● What are things that we do daily that may upset God? How do you think God may feel when we disobey His commands?
You may add plenty to the list
If the answer to any one of the above question is YES, it is time for a cleansing, just as the leper asked Jesus to cleanse him. To help us in this aspect, the Holy Church has established the sacrament of confession.
Be prepared to walk the students through the basics of Holy Confession (What is it? How to prepare? How to confess? Etc.) Use the “Preparation For The Sacrament of Holy Confession: A Guide for Youth and Sunday School Students,” prepared by Fr. Dr. Renjan Mathew as a guide to allow you to facilitate the conversation and encourage the students to partake in Holy Confession.
Confession Preparation (10 minutes)
This is the time for students to begin their preparation for confession. Allow the students to separate into different areas and provide the students with a piece of paper with some of the questions needed to recollect any sins they may have committed (questions provided on pages 5-8 of Preparation For The Sacrament of Holy Confession: A Guide for Youth and Sunday School Students).
Be prepared to walk around and answer any questions, support, or pray with the students as they prepare their confessions. For those who may be feeling hesitant to partake of confession, encourage them and answer any questions or concerns they have. The idea behind this whole activity is to get students comfortable and allow them the opportunity to become healed and reconciled with God Almighty.
Arts & Crafts (Optional)
- Option 1: Each person makes a picture of the story – cuts it to make a jigsaw puzzle and asks another person to figure it out
- Option 2: Write a letter to someone you want to encourage