28th 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-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, October 14, 2018


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Wisdom 7:7-11
Wisdom is preferred above gold and silver.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:12-13,14-15,16-17
The Lord fills us with love and joy.

Second Reading
Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God exposes the heart.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)
A man with many possessions asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.
 

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we continue reading the Gospel of Mark from where we left off last Sunday. Last Sunday our Gospel told how Jesus was tested by the Pharisees about the requirements for divorce. Recall that these chapters come from the second part of Mark's Gospel, which chronicles the beginning of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem.

In today's Gospel, an unnamed man approaches Jesus and inquires about what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies that one must follow the commandments of the Law of Moses. The man acknowledges that he has observed all of these since his childhood. Jesus then says that only one thing is lacking: he must give his possessions to the poor and follow Jesus. The man leaves in sadness, and Mark tells us that this is because he had many possessions.

The belief in resurrection and eternal life was a relatively recent development in Jewish thought at Jesus' time, and it wasn't shared by everyone. The Pharisees taught that there would be a resurrection from the dead; the Sadducees did not share this belief. Jesus taught that there would be a final judgment for everyone and eternal life (the Kingdom of God) for believers.

Jesus makes two requirements of the wealthy man who approaches him. First, he must give up his possessions. Throughout history, some Christians have taken this literally. Their example witnesses to us a radical commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. Some have read this as a particular requirement directed to this specific individual. Still others have sought to explain the meaning intended by the word possessions as those things that prevent one from following Jesus. Christians have generally understood that at the least, following Jesus requires that believers hold material possessions loosely and remain vigilant against seeking security in accumulating possessions.

The second requirement Jesus makes of this man is the invitation that Jesus extends to all would-be disciples: “follow me.” Jesus very much wants this man to be his disciple. We believe that the Christian faith is one in which each believer is in a personal relationship with Jesus. Just as this Gospel tells us that Jesus loves the man and is sad when he departs, so too, Jesus loves us and is saddened when we are unable to follow him.

We see in this Gospel reading another example of Mark's pattern, which shows Jesus offering further elaboration about his message and meaning to his disciples. To his disciples, Jesus laments the challenges faced by those who are rich in following him and entering the Kingdom of God. In reply to the disciples' astonishment at the strictness of the standard that Jesus speaks about today, Jesus reminds his disciples that nothing is impossible with God. Salvation is determined by our ability to rely completely upon God.

Peter replies to Jesus by boasting that the disciples have already given up everything. Jesus acknowledges that those who have given up everything for the sake of the Gospel will be rewarded. This reward begins now, in the new community that one will gain in this life, and will continue in the eternal age to come. Our personal relationship with Jesus is also an invitation to the community of faith, the Church.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)
A man with many possessions asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.
 


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

All of us are greatly influenced by our consumer society. Jesus' Gospel asks us to be critical of this influence and to consider carefully our relationship with our possessions.

Materials Needed

  • Pair of dice
  • Play money, including $100 bills

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Play a game of dice with the children. Each time a child rolls doubles, give him or her a hundred-dollar bill of play money. Explain that the child who has the most money after ten minutes will be the winner. When the children have had a chance to accumulate some money, ask whether anyone would like to donate all of his or her money to those in the class who have little or none. Ask whether it is more difficult to win a lot of money and give it up or to win a little and give it up.

  2. Say: In the Gospel this week, Jesus tells a rich man that in order to get into heaven he must want heaven more than money. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  3. Read today's Gospel in its shorter form, Mark 10:17-27.

  4. Ask: What is the first part of Jesus' answer to this man's question? (to follow God's commandments) What is the second part of Jesus' answer? (to give what he has to the poor and to follow Jesus) What does the man do? (He goes away in sadness.) Why? (because he had many possessions and it was too difficult for him to give them up to follow Jesus)

  5. Say: Jesus is telling us that money and possessions can sometimes become more important to us than doing what God wants. Jesus wants us to be careful about our attitude toward material things. If our possessions stand in the way of loving God or loving others, it is better for us to give them away.

  6. Conclude in prayer together that we will not let our possessions keep us from loving God. Pray together the Lord's Prayer. Give each child some play money as a remembrance of this message.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)
A man with many possessions asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.


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

All of us are greatly influenced by our consumer society. Jesus' Gospel asks us to be critical of this influence and to consider carefully our relationship with our possessions.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the group to consider the question: How many possessions do you have? (probably too many to count) Are there things you own that you don't need anymore? What do you do with these things? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  2. Next invite the group to consider the toys, games, and books they have outgrown. Ask: What do you do with these things? When it comes time to give these toys away, how easy is it for you to give them up? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Sometimes it is even difficult for us to give away things we don't use anymore.

  3. Say: In today's Gospel, a man asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel in its shorter form, Mark 10:17-27.

  5. Ask: What is the first part of Jesus' answer to this man's question? (to follow God's commandments) What is the second part of Jesus' answer? (to give what he has to the poor and to follow Jesus) What does the man do? (He goes away in sadness.) Why? (because he had many possessions and it was too difficult for him to give them up to follow Jesus)

  6. Say: Jesus is telling us that money and possessions can sometimes become more important to us than doing what God wants. Jesus wants us to be careful about our attitude toward material things. If our possessions stand in the way of loving God or loving others, it is better for us to give them away.

  7. Conclude in prayer together asking God to help you remember that doing what God wants is more important than keeping our possessions. Pray together the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)
A man with many possessions asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

As older children become young teens, they begin to be able to experience faith as a personal relationship with Jesus. In Jesus' encounter with the rich man, we see an example of how Jesus invites each of us to be his disciple.

Materials Needed

  • Two invitations or advertisements, one addressed to a particular individual by name and one addressed less personally, such as to a group or “dear resident”
  • Paper and pens for journaling

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show two invitations or advertisements, one addressed to a particular individual and the other addressed less personally, such as to a group or “dear resident.” Ask: Which invitation or advertisement are people more likely to respond to? (personal invitations) People are much more likely to respond positively to personal invitations. That is why advertisers spend their resources collecting names for their solicitations.

  2. Say: As Christians, we believe that Jesus invites each of us to have a personal relationship with him. In today's Gospel, we hear an example of an invitation Jesus extended to one person to be his disciple.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Mark 10:17-30.

  4. Ask: What does Jesus say that this man must do to follow him? (He must give up his possessions.) Why is this difficult for the man? (He has many possessions.)

  5. Say: Jesus doesn't want to make it difficult for us to follow him, but he does want us to follow him with our whole heart. Sometimes this requires that we make changes in our lives to be Jesus' disciple.

  6. Distribute paper and pens and invite the young people to spend some time in quiet reflection and journaling. Say: Imagine that you asked Jesus this man's question. What would Jesus ask of you? What might you do as a first step toward giving your whole self to Jesus? Allow time for the group to write about this.

  7. Conclude in prayer together asking Jesus to help us give ourselves completely to being his disciple. Pray together the Suscipe, the prayer of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.


Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)
A man with many possessions asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.


Family Connection

Today's Gospel might make us uncomfortable about our possessions. This discomfort offers us an opportunity to consider our possessions and our family's commitment to the poor. Material possessions are a necessity in our culture. Our use of these possessions and our attitude about their importance is our choice, however. It is a choice we can make with the awareness that our faith in Jesus commits us to show our care for the poor.

As you gather as a family, consider together these questions: Would it be possible to inventory our possessions? Are there things in our house that we no longer need or use? What might we do with these things? Read together today's Gospel, Mark 10:17-30. Talk about the warning about material possessions that Jesus gives in this Gospel. How does this make you feel? Choose an action that helps your family show its commitment to the poor. Conclude by praying together the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis.