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.


Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, September 25, 2016


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.

Background on the Gospel Reading

A major theme in the Gospel of Luke is the importance of the care of the poor in the life of discipleship. In the parable found in today's Gospel, Jesus contrasts the life of a rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, who lives in the shadow of the rich man and his wealth. Both die. Lazarus finds himself in heaven; the rich man in the netherworld. The rich man asks for assistance from Lazarus in his torment. But Abraham reminds the rich man of the good things he had in his life and describes the current situation as a reversal of fortunes. The rich man then asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his family, but this is denied with the reminder that Moses and the prophets have warned of judgment for those who neglect the care of the poor.

In the context of Luke's Gospel, this parable, delivered in the presence of a crowd of listeners, is part of Jesus' response to some Pharisees. These Pharisees are described in Luke's Gospel as “loving money.” (Note: The Pharisees were followers of a sect of Judaism active before, during, and after Jesus' lifetime. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for popular Jewish piety. They put less emphasis on Temple worship and more on applying the law to everyday life. Though they are often portrayed negatively in the Gospels, they shared many of Jesus' and the early Church's concerns about the law.) Jesus observed that the actions of some Pharisees betrayed misplaced priorities: they spoke one way, but acted in another. The story of the rich man and Lazarus demonstrates the importance of the care of the poor and is a reminder to those who would follow Jesus of the unimportance of wealth in the eyes of God.


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.


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

The attentiveness of children of this age group to who has received the greater or lesser portion is sometimes comic. In addition to teaching the rewards of sharing, it is the challenge of those who work with these young people to help them learn that their self-worth is not determined by how much they possess.

Materials Needed

  • Jelly beans (or other soft candy)

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Bring enough jelly beans (or other soft candy) to give two to each child. Say to the children: I have ### jelly beans here. That's enough to give each of you one and have ### left over. Would one of you like the extra jelly beans? (Many hands will probably be raised at this point.)

  2. Say: There is one rule if you take the rest of the jelly beans— you cannot sit with the class and enjoy our company. Instead you must sit all alone for the rest of the class period. (Young children will usually not want to be singled out like this but, if someone chooses to, tell him or her maybe he or she should think about it and wait until after he or she hears what you are about to say.)

  3. Tell today's Gospel in your own words. Ask: What did the rich man do with his money? (He feasted every day.) What did the poor man, Lazarus, do? (He begged at the gate of the rich man.) What did Lazarus want from the rich man?(the scraps from the rich man's table) How could the rich man have helped Lazarus? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  4. Say: Jesus wants us to know that those who have everything now and fail to share with those in need are like the rich man. Jesus wants us to care for the poor as God does. God does not love us more or less because we have few or many possessions. God loves us for who we are and wants us to share what we have with others.

  5. Help the children identify some ways they are called upon to share what they have with others. Discuss the importance of helping the poor. As a class, make of list of ways in which people show their care for the poor.

  6. Ask the child (or children) who wanted all of the jelly beans what Jesus might have suggested you do with the extra jelly beans. Accept all reasonable answers. Try to make a decision as a group about what to do with the remaining jelly beans, for example, pass out the remaining jelly beans so each child will get two, share the remainder with another class, and the like.

  7. Conclude by praying together the Our Father or a portion of today's responsorial psalm. (Example: Psalm 146:7-9)


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.


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

Many children have developed a strong sense of fairness, of justice. Among the familiar refrains of childhood is “that's not fair.” We can build upon this sense of justice to teach about how God desires that all share in the goods of our world. In particular, God calls upon those who have material possessions to share from this wealth with those who are in need. We can also teach that our value in the eyes of God is not based upon our material possessions.

Materials Needed

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Art supplies (such as colored pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Bible
  • A basket

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Try this simulation with the children. Divide the class into two groups and assign a drawing task. For example, ask them to draw a picture of a sunset. To the first group, give each child just one crayon. To the second group, provide an overabundance of art supplies.

  2. Observe carefully what happens so you may share these observations with the group. Perhaps you will hear complaints from the group that has less. Perhaps the children will ask if they can share the drawing tools among themselves. When you have observed the class's response, simply stop the exercise and describe for the class what happened when the class began to discover that some had more and some had fewer coloring tools. Introduce today's Gospel by saying that Jesus told a story about a situation that was like this one.

  3. Ask a volunteer to read the Gospel for today, Luke 16:19-31. Ask: What did the rich man do with his money? (He feasted every day.) What did the poor man, Lazarus, do? (He begged at the gate of the rich man.) What did Lazarus want from the rich man? (the scraps from the rich man's table) What happened to each man after he died? (Lazarus received eternal reward; the rich man went to the land of the dead.)

  4. Ask the children what they think about the situation described. Help them to identify why the rich man received judgment (because he did not share his possessions with the poor man, Lazarus; note that death itself was not a punishment [both men died]).

  5. Ask the children to name some options that the rich man had in his life in regards to the poor man. Say: God wants us to share our possessions with those who are in need. Ask: Did the rich man in the parable know this about God? (Be sure that the children say yes—the Gospel reading says that this is the teaching of Moses and the prophets). Then ask the children to identify some reasons the rich man might have had for not sharing his possessions.

  6. Together, make a list of some ways in which the children can share of their possessions with those who are poor. Have them each write one commitment to do so on a slip of paper and use this as part of a concluding prayer.

  7. Prepare a prayer table that includes an open Bible and a basket. Conclude by praying together the responsorial psalm for today. Invite the children to read what they have written on their slips of paper and to place them in the basket on the prayer table as a sign of their commitment to do this and other similar actions.


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people are encouraged by society to be very self-absorbed. By doing so, they can easily overlook the needs of others. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to think about sins of omission.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the students to brainstorm a list of actions that can be considered sinful. (Examples: stealing, hurting someone's reputation, lying)

  2. Ask: Do you think it's possible to sin by sitting perfectly still and doing nothing? (invite discussion)

  3. Explain that the Church teaches us that there are two different ways of sinning: through commission and through omission.

  4. Write on the board the words commission and omission and ask volunteers to explain their meanings. Say: To sin by commission is to commit an act that directly hurts another. To sin by omission is to stand by idly while someone is suffering. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus tells a story that describes the sin of omission.

  5. Ask a volunteer to read aloud the Gospel for today, Luke 16:19-31. Ask: What did the rich man do with his money? (He feasted every day.) What did Lazarus, the poor man, do? (He begged at the gate of the rich man.) What did Lazarus want from the rich man? (He wanted the scraps from the rich man's table.) What happened to each man after he died? (Lazarus received eternal reward, while the rich man went to the land of the dead.)

  6. Discuss with the students their thoughts about the situation described. Help them to identify the rich man's sin of omission. (He did not share his possessions with Lazarus, the poor man.) Emphasize that death itself was not a punishment. (Both men died.)

  7. Say: God wants us to share with those who are in need. The first step in doing so is to recognize or be aware of those who are in need. As we conclude today, let us pray for the grace we need to be more aware of the needs of others so that we don't ignore their suffering.

  8. Conclude by praying together the responsorial psalm for today.


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.


Family Connection

Talk with your children about some of the things that they have that can be shared with others. Ask your children to describe a time when they had to share something that they had. Ask if this was easy or difficult and why. Talk about some of ways in which your family shares your possessions. Read together today's Gospel, Luke 16:19-31. Consider together some reasons why the rich man may not have shared his riches with the poor man, Lazarus. Identify some reasons why we might share our possessions with others. Make a commitment as a family to do something this week in which you will choose to share your possessions with someone in need.