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Fishy Business - A Lesson Plan on Holiness

This Fishy Business lesson plan on holiness will help youth understand that the path of discipleship can be full of potholes and twists and turns. God is calling to us to give us the grace we need. We just need to listen to his invitation and respond.

Opening Game for Fishy Business

Start by playing Donut Fishing. This involves dangling donuts on a string and seeing who can eat them fastest. See Donut Fishing for complete instructions.

Follow up with a couple of questions:

  • Who thought donut fishing was hard?
  • Who thought it was messy?
  • What would have happened if the partners didn't cooperate?

Like donut fishing, growing in holiness can be messy and difficult. Sometimes we look at the saints and holy people in our lives and think that we can never be holy. We stumble and sin and it seems impossible. Guess what! Even St. Peter didn't think he could be holy enough to be with Jesus.

Scripture Reading for Lesson Plan on Holiness

Read the Gospel:

Luke 5:1-11 (The call of Peter) - the Gospel Reading for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.

He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."

Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."

When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon.

Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."

When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:1-11

Discussion for Lesson Plan on Holiness

St. Peter was a fisherman. He spent his days doing difficult, messy work. He would have had to be big and strong to pull in the large nets. He probably reeked of fish at the end of the day. He would have been very different in appearance and manner than the learned men who spent their days studying the Jewish scripture or the priests who worked at the temple.

But he knew a lot about fishing. So he probably had second thoughts when Jesus came by and told him to put his nets out again. Why is a rabbi telling him how to fish? And he has already been cleaning up the day's work. But he does what Jesus asks of him anyway.

Then things get really interesting. Peter casts out the nets and they are full to bursting. So much so that he has to call for help. Even with his friends helping, it would have been hard work to get all of those fish in.

Peter realizes immediately that this is not an ordinary occurrence. Only the hand of God can work wonders like this. And he is not a priest or a scribe. He is a burly fisherman. It frightens him to know that God is doing something here. Clearly Jesus is a holy man. Peter feels he is too ordinary to be in his presence.

But Jesus is not put off by Peter. Instead, he calls him to more. Instead of just a fishing trip, he calls him to discipleship. This means leaving everything behind - the fishing business, families, all that is familiar and comfortable. Peter says yes again. Peter knows he is not perfect, but he knows that life with Jesus will help him grow.

So we are going to talk about holiness and discipleship. First of all, what is holiness? It is to be intimately connected to God through a relationship. And what is discipleship? This is our call to follow Jesus. Holiness and discipleship are tied together. As our holiness increases, we become more focused on our life as disciples.

So we can learn a few things about holiness and discipleship from this Gospel.

First of all, you can't grow in holiness if you don't say yes to Jesus. Peter could have refused to take Jesus out in his boat. He could have also said no to leaving everything behind. But in order to have that relationship you must agree to it. The first step in the path of holiness is responding to God's invitation. We have free will and God does not force us to do anything.

Second, the path of a disciple requires work. Peter had to work hard to get all of those fish in the boat. And leaving home is another type of hardship. You can't ignore relationships and expect them to thrive. Growing in holiness doesn't just happen. We have to put some effort into it.

Third, you don't have to be perfect to be a disciple. God knows who we are. But the more time we spend with him, the more He will live in us and we will live in Him. When difficult times come - and they will - we will be able to trust in God to be with us. When we stumble and sin, we know that God will forgive us.

Reflection Questions for Lesson Plan on Holiness

  • Can you think of some people in your lives who you view as holy? What qualities do they have?
  • Have you ever felt like holiness is unachievable? If so, does it help to think about St. Peter telling Jesus that he was too sinful to be with Him?
  • What are some ways you might grow in holiness? (Eucharist, reconciliation, prayer)

Challenge for Lesson Plan on Holiness

This week think of one way to grow more deeply in relationship with God. Commit to do it.

Prayer for Lesson Plan on Holiness

Conclude by offering petitions and this prayer to the Holy Spirit. It asks the Spirit to be with us so we can become more holy.

Resources for Lesson Plan on Holiness

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
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Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.

Download a printable copy

Video Resource

Fr Mike explains how families can help us grow in holiness and develop relationships.

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