27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C 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 C

Sunday, October 2, 2016


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the vision fulfilled.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,8-9
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today's Gospel we hear Jesus teach about faith and service to God. The context is a continuing dialogue between Jesus and his followers about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus has just finished an instruction on sin and forgiveness. There are two related teachings that Jesus offers to his disciples when they cry out for an increase in faith. The first is the familiar reminder that faith, even just a little, will enable the followers of Jesus to do wondrous things. But this uplifting and inspiring teaching is quickly followed by the second teaching, a caution about knowing one's place in God's plans. The disciples of Jesus are to understand themselves as servants to God and his plans. Even when God works wonders through us, with our mustard seed-sized faith, we must not seek praise. Our participation in God's plans is God's grace to us—nothing more, nothing less. When we are graced enough to cooperate with God, the work we do is nothing more than our obligation to God as faithful stewards. And yet, our faith enables us to believe that what we have offered in service to God, as his servants, can be made to produce a hundredfold.


Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.


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

Children seem to know intuitively that even little things can make a big difference; for example, a simple kiss can heal a hurt. This is what it means to have faith the size of a mustard seed. We nurture this faith in our children when we help them to see how they contribute to the Kingdom of God in simple ways.

Materials Needed

  • Apple seeds

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show the apple seeds. Say to the children: Do you see what I have here? Allow time for volunteers to guess.

  2. When someone correctly identifies these as apple seeds, ask: If I plant these seeds and water them, what will happen? (They will grow into a tree.) Ask: How big might this tree grow? Isn't it amazing that these tiny seeds can produce a tree that can be almost as tall as a house? It's even more amazing that one tree that size can produce bushels of apples to feed lots of people. This reminds me of faith.

  3. Does anyone know what faith is? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Faith is believing something we cannot see. We can have a little bit of faith today, and it can grow and grow as we learn to love Jesus more. There were times in the Bible when Jesus cured sick people just because they had faith. That's called a miracle.

  4. Our Gospel this week tells us that having faith can help miracles happen. Listen as I read it to you. Read today's Gospel, Luke 17:5-10. Then ask: How do you think you get faith—even a tiny bit? Wait for the children's input, then say: The Holy Spirit will help us believe what we cannot see, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, God will do amazing things through us.

  5. Conclude with the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, or the Morning Prayer, or sing, "This Little Light of Mine."


Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.


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

The optimism of youth believes that small things can make a difference. This is an example of what it means to have faith the size of a mustard seed. We can nurture the faith of young people by showing how in small but real ways, we each can participate in the Kingdom of God.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Introduce today's readings by saying: In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples about the importance of faith and how with even just a little faith, God will help the disciples of Jesus to work wonders. Before we read today's Gospel, let's think about some of the ways people make a difference in the lives of others.

  2. Invite the group to prepare a list of jobs/occupations that people hold. Choose one or two jobs from this list and ask the group to identify how these jobs make a difference in the lives of people. Next, ask the group to identify some of the rewards for doing this kind of work. Say: Whenever a person is able to make a positive difference in the life of another, we see God's action at work in our world.

  3. Say: Now let's listen to God's Word and hear what Jesus teaches us about faith and action. Ask a volunteer to read Luke 17:5-6. Ask: What does is mean to have faith the size of a mustard seed? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  4. Ask a second volunteer to read Luke 17:7-10. Ask: How does this teaching make you feel? (Accept all reasonable answers.) What does this reading tell us about why we should want to do the work of God? (This is what God requires of us; doing God's will is its own reward.)

  5. Ask each person in your group to identify one thing that he or she has done that made a positive difference in the life of another. Then invite each person to write a short paragraph about this task and about how it makes them feel to do it. These will be used in the closing prayer.

  6. In conclusion, invite the group to enter into a prayerful spirit around a prayer table. Invite each person to place on a prayer table the paragraph that he or she wrote about an action that made a difference in the life of another as a sign of their willingness to serve God in faith. Pray together that God will transform these actions and make them serve God's kingdom as you pray aloud Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Prayer for Generosity or sing, "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace."

 


Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are capable of participating in many types of service opportunities but may need to be challenged to be more generous with their time.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask whether any of the young people have earned awards.

  2. Invite volunteers to share examples.

  3. Point out that while it feels good to achieve recognition, it has no place in God's kingdom.

  4. Tell the young people that in the Kingdom of God, we are called to do service for others without seeking recognition. Say: The service we provide for others flows from our faith in God. Faith and service are tied together.

  5. Invite a volunteer to read aloud Luke 17:5-10. Ask: What does this reading tell us about why we should want to do the work of God and serve others? (Because serving others is what God requires of us; because doing God's will is its own reward.)

  6. Ask if anyone can explain the term covert operation. (an action undertaken in secret)

  7. Tell the young people that you are going to invite them to participate in a covert operation involving doing service for others.

  8. Guide the group to brainstorm simple acts of service that can be performed without attracting attention.

  9. Record the list on the board and number each item.

  10. Write the numbers on small slips of paper. Create enough slips so that there is one for each young person.

  11. Place the slips in a container and invite each young person to choose a slip. Have him or her write down the act of service that he or she will perform in secret in the days ahead.

  12. Say: When you do your act of service, remind yourself that doing God's will is the only reward you need.

  13. Conclude by praying the Doxology (Glory Be to the Father), reminding the young people that all praise is directed to God.

 


Gospel Reading

Luke 17:5-10

Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.


Family Connection

There is much in today's Gospel that resonates in family life. In our daily attempts as parents to live up to the confidence and trust that our children place in us, we come to know the wonders that God can do with just a little faith. In family life we also learn about obligations that are their own rewards. The daily tasks that family members do for one another and for the household are simply the manifestations of our responsibilities to one another.

Take a turn with each member of the family and identify some of the little things that each family member does that make a big difference in your family life.

Read today's Gospel, Luke 17:5-10. Talk about how each person is called upon by God to believe that God can work miracles in our lives, that God can use us to make a difference in our world.

Together as a family, pray Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Prayer of Generosity. Ask that God will work through your family to make a difference in the lives of those around you.