27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B 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-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, October 7, 2018


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Genesis 2:18-24
God creates woman from Adam's rib.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 128:1-2,3,4-5,6
A prayer for God's blessing

Second Reading
Hebrews 2:9-11
Christ was made perfect through suffering so that we might all be consecrated.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus teaches against divorce and welcomes the children.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we continue to read from the Gospel according to Mark. For the past three Sundays, we have been hearing Mark's reports of conversations between Jesus and his disciples. Recall that in Mark's Gospel, Jesus uses these private moments to teach his disciples in greater detail about the Kingdom of God. Beginning with today's Gospel, Jesus returns to Judea, Jewish territory, and resumes his public ministry. The first verse of chapter 10 of Mark's Gospel tells us that crowds gathered around Jesus, and he taught them, as was his custom. Immediately, the Pharisees approach Jesus to test him.

The Pharisees question Jesus about the lawfulness of divorce. Under specific conditions, divorce was an accepted practice among the Jewish people during the time of Jesus. It was regulated by the Law of Moses, as found in Deuteronomy 24:1-5. This law only permits that a husband may divorce his wife if he finds her to be indecent. This is the justification that the Pharisees reference when Jesus inquires about the commandment of Moses. In reply, Jesus quotes from the Book of Genesis and counters that God's original intention was that men and women would become one flesh in marriage. Jesus describes the teaching of Moses as a concession made to God's original intention because of human stubbornness.

In private, Jesus' disciples question him further about this teaching on divorce. It is to his disciples that Jesus lays out the implications of his teaching by explaining that remarriage after divorce is adultery. Jesus' teaching was more restrictive than the teaching of the Pharisees, which permitted remarriage. Jesus further distinguished his teaching from the cultural norms of his time by applying his words equally to men and women. Jewish culture permitted only that a husband may divorce his wife. Wives were not permitted to divorce their husband for any reason, including adultery.

At first glance, the final part of today's Gospel seems unconnected to the previous teaching about divorce. When read together, however, these passages present a strong picture of Jesus' emphasis on the importance of family. God intended for women and men to be joined together in marriage. Among the purposes of marriage is the raising of children. By welcoming children and fostering their relationship with God, parents and families bear witness to the Kingdom of God.

At the end of today's Gospel, the people were bringing their children to Jesus, and again Jesus' disciples show that they just don't get it. Recall that in the Gospel for each of the past two Sundays, Jesus has taught his disciples the value and importance of these “little ones” in the Kingdom of God. Yet in today's Gospel, the disciples try to prevent people from bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus reprimands his disciples and welcomes these children. Again Jesus offers these children as an example of the kind of complete trust and dependence upon God that ought to be the attitude of all believers.
 

 


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus teaches against divorce and welcomes the children.


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

Young children are dependent upon others to care for them and to meet their needs. We can teach them to express their thankfulness for each of these gifts, which come ultimately from God, on whose love and care we depend.

Materials Needed

  • Magazine picture or photograph of a crying baby

 Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show the group a magazine picture or a photograph of a crying baby. Ask: What could be causing the baby to cry? (hunger, wetness, sickness)

  2. Ask: Can the baby solve any of these problems alone? (No.) Will a hungry baby ask what kind of milk you've put in his or her bottle? (No.) Will a baby whose diaper needs changing ask for blue diapers instead of white? (No.) Will a baby with a stomachache ask to go to a dentist rather than a doctor? (No.) Say: Babies are completely dependent upon the adults who care for them, and they do not question what their caregivers think is best for them.

  3. Say: In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus wants us to accept the Kingdom of God with complete trust, just as a baby accepts care without question. God wants us to depend on him and to trust him to take care of us.

  4. Read aloud today's Gospel, Mark 10:13-16.

  5. Say: One of the ways in which we show our dependence on God is by thanking him for all the good things that he has done and continues to do for us. What are some good things that God gives to us? (sun and rain, food, people to care for us)

  6. Conclude in prayer together, thanking God for all the good things he gives to us. Pray a litany of thanks by asking the children to name some of the things for which they wish to thank God. After each of these is named, invite everyone to pray together, “God, we trust in your goodness.” Conclude your litany of thanks by praying the Glory Be to the Father.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus teaches against divorce and welcomes the children.


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

Older children make promises easily and break them even more easily. We can teach them that God's grace helps us honor our commitments and that this grace is essential in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Write on the board the word promise. Ask the group what it means to make a promise to another person. Invite them to name some examples of situations in which a promise might be made to another person (for example, a parent might promise that a child can watch a special TV show, a child might promise to clean up his or her bedroom after breakfast, or one child might make a promise to another to play basketball after school).

  2. Ask: Do you always keep your promises? Do other people keep the promises they make to you? What are some things that might make it difficult for us to keep the promises we have made to another person? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  3. Say: We named some examples of promises that people might make to one another. Sometimes people can keep these promises easily, but sometimes keeping a promise is difficult. There are some kinds of promises that people make that take a great deal of commitment to honor, like the promise a couple makes in marriage. Everyone needs God's help to honor this kind of promise. In today's Gospel, Jesus is asked a question about marriage. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Mark 10:2-16.

  5. Ask: What does Jesus say about the marriage relationship in today's Gospel? (that God joins man and woman in marriage; that in marriage, man and woman become one flesh; that what God has brought together may not be separated by human beings) The disciples question Jesus further about this teaching. Why do you think they ask Jesus about this again? (because they find this teaching challenging; because Jesus is being more strict than the Pharisees) Ask: What scene is described at the end of today's Gospel? (Jesus welcoming the children)

  6. Say: It seems like these two scenes are unrelated, but hearing them together teaches us something important. God wants to help us honor all of our commitments to one another. To do this, we must be like children before God, trusting him completely and depending upon his help. The Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Marriage strengthens our commitment and gives married couples the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them keep their promise to love one another.

  7. Conclude in prayer together that God will help us honor our commitments to other people. Pray that God will strengthen the commitment of married couples and help them honor and respect one another. Pray Saint Ignatius of Loyola's prayer, the Suscipe.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus teaches against divorce and welcomes the children.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

In our society, we sometimes create an unrealistic picture of loving relationships. We can teach young people that successful long-term loving relationships require commitment and the grace of God.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to talk about how relationships are portrayed in songs, books, or TV shows.

  2. Say: Some of the messages about love and relationships sound very romantic. But making a long-term commitment to another person is a difficult thing. People succeed only with God's help and grace. This grace is celebrated in the Sacrament of Marriage. Jesus sent a strong message about the importance and strength of this commitment in today's Gospel.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Mark 10:2-16.

  4. Ask: What does Jesus say about the marriage relationship in today's Gospel? (that God joins man and woman in marriage; that in marriage, man and woman become one flesh; that what God has brought together may not be separated by human beings) The disciples question Jesus further about this teaching. Why do you think they ask Jesus about this again? (because they find this teaching challenging because Jesus is being more strict than the Pharisees, and so on)

  5. Ask: What scene is described at the end of today's Gospel? (Jesus welcoming the children)

  6. Say: It seems like these two scenes are unrelated, but hearing them together teaches us something very important. God wants to help us honor our commitments to one another. To do this, we must be like children before God, trusting him completely and depending upon his help. The Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Marriage strengthens our commitment and gives married couples the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them honor their promises to one another.

  7. Conclude in prayer together that God will help us honor our commitments to other people. Pray that God will strengthen the commitment of married couples and help them honor and respect one another. Pray Saint Ignatius of Loyola's prayer, the Suscipe.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus teaches against divorce and welcomes the children.


Family Connection

Jesus' teaching about divorce and remarriage can be a challenging one for many people. The Church continues to uphold the strong and positive teaching of Jesus that God intends for a man and woman to make a lifelong commitment to one another in the Sacrament of Marriage. Many of us, however, know people whose marriage has not been a lifelong commitment. The example of Jesus teaches us that we are called to act with compassion and love in our relationships with all, and especially when people are hurting because of difficulties in their relationships. Most importantly, we remember that when marriages thrive, it is a sign of God's grace at work.

As you gather as a family, talk about what it means to make a promise or a commitment to someone. Offer examples of promises that are fairly easy to keep. Read today's Gospel, Mark 10:2-16. Talk about examples of promises and commitments that might be more difficult to honor, like the marriage commitment that Jesus is asked about in this Gospel. Talk about how we need God to help us honor our commitment to love and care for each other. Jesus teaches that we should be like children before God, trusting God's promise to care for us and asking for his help to keep our commitments to love and care for others. Conclude by praying together that God will give his grace to us that we may honor our commitments to one another. Pray together Saint Ignatius of Loyola's prayer, the Suscipe.