Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, July 31, 2016


 This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 95:1-2,6-9
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading
Colossians 3:1-5,9-11
There is neither Greek nor Jew, but Christ is all in all.

Gospel Reading
Luke 12:13-21
A person's life does not consist of possessions.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In Chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples and the crowd on how to be ready for the coming judgment. A crowd of many thousands has gathered to hear Jesus. At first he speaks only to the disciples, reminding them that it is not persecution they should fear but the judgment that is coming for all who do not acknowledge the Son of Man. Suddenly a man in the crowd shouts out to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” He seems to have grown tired of Jesus speaking only to the disciples. Jesus offers the man no help. Instead he uses the question to teach what, in light of the coming judgment, life really consist of.

Jesus tells the crowd a parable. A rich man's lands have yielded more crops than expected. His response is not to consider how he might share all the extra food with others but to wonder how he can possibly store it all. He has what he thinks is a brilliant idea: to tear down his present barns and build larger ones. Then he will have many things stored up for years of eating, drinking, and making merry.

“You fool” is God's response to this man because that very night his life will be taken away. To whom will everything belong then, God asks. The rich man's world is small, just him and his possessions, and now he learns that he is to lose his life. What good are his possessions now? Jesus states the moral of the story. This is how it will be for everyone who stores up treasure for himself or herself but is not rich in what matters to God.

Centuries later St. Gregory the Great taught that when we care for the needs of the poor, we are giving them what is theirs, not ours. We are not just performing works of mercy; we are paying a debt of justice. Life does not consist in possessions but in sharing what we possess with others. The goods of the earth have been given to everyone.


Gospel Reading
Luke 12:13-21
A person's life does not consist of possessions.


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Children at this age are beginning to develop a sense of right and wrong and are beginning to form consciences. This Sunday's Gospel and the building-block activity below serve to further form their consciences in terms of how we are called to share the goods of creation.

Materials Needed

  • 30 building blocks

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Divide the children into three groups.

  2. Explain that you will give each group blocks with which they can build whatever they like.

  3. Give the first group 15 blocks, the next group 12 blocks, and the last group 3 blocks.

  4. Invite the children to begin building.

  5. The children may ask why the groups have different numbers of blocks.

  6. The group with only three blocks may say they can't build much with only three blocks.

  7. Ask: What can we do so that we can all build something? (The groups with more blocks can share.)

  8. Tell the children that if the group with 15 blocks gives 5 blocks to the group that has 3 blocks, and the group that has 12 blocks gives them 2, then every group will have 10 blocks.

  9. After the blocks are shared, say: In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus tells a story about a man who did not share.

  10. Read aloud Luke 12:13-21.

  11. Say: The rich man in the story does not seem like a bad man; in fact, he seems like a smart businessman. Jesus, however, points out that what his man did wrong was that he thought only about himself and his own comfort and security. When we fail to think about the needs of others, we call that a sin of omission. Each time we go to Mass, we ask forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do. We call this prayer the Confiteor. Let's end our time by praying this prayer together.

  12. Pray aloud the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”).


Gospel Reading
Luke 12:13-21
A person's life does not consist of possessions.


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

Children at this age are concerned with issues of fairness and are drawn to participate in making things right. This Sunday's Gospel and the activity below are opportunities to help them consider the unfairness of hoarding wealth.

Materials Needed

  • The words to the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”) written on the board or on a sheet of paper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the children to imagine that they have each been granted a $1,000 shopping spree.

  2. Have them brainstorm how they would spend their money.

  3. Invite volunteers to share their wish lists with the group.

  4. Point out that there is a difference between buying things that we need and buying things that we want.

  5. Mention that although it would be fun to be able to buy anything we want, there are many people in the world who don't have enough money to buy even what they need.

  6. Tell the children that in this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to share the goods of creation with all people.

  7. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 12:13-21.

  8. Ask for volunteers to summarize the parable of the rich fool.

  9. Say: The rich man in the story does not seem like a bad man; in fact, he seems like a smart businessman. Jesus, however, points out that this man's flaw was that he was thinking only about himself and his own comfort and security. When we fail to think about the needs of others, we call that a sin of omission. Each time we go to Mass, we ask forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do. We call this prayer the Confiteor. Let's end our time by praying this prayer together.

  10. Pray aloud the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”).


Gospel Reading
Luke 12:13-21
A person's life does not consist of possessions.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are developing social consciences and sets of values, making them idealistic and passionate about social justice. This Sunday's Gospel and the activity below are opportunities to invite them to consider the issues surrounding the equitable distribution of the world's resources.

Materials Needed

  • Large bowl of popcorn
  • A serving spoon
  • Disposable bowls (one for each young person)
  • The words to the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”) written on a sheet of paper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Bring in a large bowl of popcorn, a serving spoon, and one disposable bowl per person.

  2. Before the session, indicate in pen on the bottom of the bowls how many spoonfuls of popcorn each person may take: One-fifth of the group may take one spoonful; three-fifths may take two or three spoonfuls; and one-fifth may take eight or nine spoonfuls.

  3. Distribute the bowls randomly to the young people. Tell them to look at the number on the bottom of their bowl without revealing it to others.

  4. Tell them to imagine that the popcorn is the only food they will have to in the days to come.

  5. Invite them in groups of two or three to come forward and take their allotted spoonfuls.

  6. Observe reactions as the one-fifth who take eight or nine spoonfuls fill their bowls.

  7. When everyone is finished, ask how those who could take only one, two, or three spoonfuls felt watching some take eight or nine spoonfuls.

  8. Point out that this activity demonstrates the unequal distribution of wealth in the world.

  9. Explain that in this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to remember that the goods of the world are intended to be shared by all.

  10. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 12:13-21. 

  11. Ask for volunteers to summarize the parable of the rich fool.

  12. Say: The rich man in the story does not seem like a bad man; in fact, he seems like a smart businessman. Jesus, however, points out that this man's flaw was that he was thinking only about himself and his own comfort and security. When we fail to think about the needs of others, we call that a sin of omission. Each time we go to Mass, we ask forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do. We call this prayer the Confiteor. Let's end our time by praying this prayer together.

  13. Pray aloud the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”).


Gospel Reading
Luke 12:13-21
A person's life does not consist of possessions.


Family Connection

Family life helps us learn about the values of solidarity and the common good. As a family, we strive to respect the rights of each family member and make decisions that promote the common good of the family. Talk about what it would be like if the family ordered a pizza and then divided it unevenly, with some members getting as many pieces as they wanted while others got only a half slice. Talk about how you work to make sure that everyone in the family has his or her fair share.

Talk about how your family is also a member of the human family, called to share the goods of creation fairly and justly. Explain that in this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to remember that the goods of the world are intended to be shared by all. Read aloud Luke 12:13-21. Talk about the parable of the rich fool and ask family members to describe what they think he did wrong. Emphasize that although the man in the story doesn't seem bad, Jesus points out that this man's flaw was that he was thinking only about himself and his own comfort and security. Emphasize that when we fail to think about the needs of others, we call that a sin of omission.

Remind your children that each time we go to Mass, we ask forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do. We call this prayer the Confiteor. End this time together by praying the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”).