33rd 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.


Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, November 18, 2018


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Daniel 12:1-3
Daniel prophesies about the judgment of the last days.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:5,8,9-10,11
God protects us and shows us the path of life.

Second Reading
Hebrews 10:11-14,18
Jesus' offering for sin has made all to be consecrated perfect forever.

Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32
Jesus teaches about the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday is the second to last Sunday of our liturgical year. As we approach the end of the Church year, our Gospel invites us to consider Jesus' predictions and teaching about the end of the world. In the context of Mark's Gospel, Jesus' words about this are spoken to his disciples as he prepares them for his passion and death.

Before we consider Jesus' words, it is important to note the political backdrop against which many think Mark's Gospel was written. Most scholars concur that Mark wrote his Gospel for Christians living in or near Rome about 30 to 40 years after the death of Jesus. This was a time of political turmoil in Rome. Some Christians experienced persecution by the Romans during the reign of the emperor Nero (about 64 A.D.). Jewish revolutionaries rebelled against the Romans, which led the Romans to destroy the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. In this time of political turmoil and persecution, many in Mark's community might have wondered if the end times predicted by Jesus were in fact quite near.

Last Sunday we heard Jesus' observation about the contributions being made to the temple treasury and the example of sacrificial giving that he saw in the poor widow's offering. If we had been reading Mark's Gospel continuously, we would have heard Jesus predict the destruction of the Temple, his teaching about the costs of discipleship, and the woes that will accompany the end times. Finally, we would have heard Jesus instruct his disciples about the need for watchfulness so that they will not be caught unprepared for this final day of judgment.

In today's Gospel, Jesus continues this teaching by offering his disciples signs to look for that will indicate that the coming of the Son of Man is near. His words and images draw upon Old Testament imagery, especially images found in the Book of Daniel. Next, Jesus offers the lesson of the fig tree, a parable that teaches that if one knows how to read the signs, one can be prepared for the end times. Jesus also teaches, however, that no one knows when the end time will come, except the Father. In the verses that follow this reading in Mark's Gospel, Jesus continues to warn his disciples to be on watch for this end time.

Jesus' words are not spoken to frighten his disciples, nor should they frighten us. Rather, they are offered to prepare us for the changes we will experience during our lifetimes and at the end times. Our consolation and hope is found in the lasting nature of Jesus' words and God's never-ending love for us.


Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32
Jesus teaches about the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.


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

For young children, security is found in establishing confidence that the most important aspects of their lives will not change. We can help them to be secure in their faith in Jesus by teaching them that Jesus' words to us and his love for us will endure forever.

Materials Needed

  • A few blocks for each child

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Bring to class a box of blocks. Give a few blocks to each child. Allow the children to build a class tower by taking turns placing their blocks on top of one another's. After a few blocks are placed, say: At some point this tower will fall. How will we know when that will happen? (The blocks will begin to sway.) Permit the children to continue with the building.

  2. Say: Even though the signs will tell us, we still don't know exactly when this tower will fall, do we? In the Gospel this week, we will learn about some things that will happen to tell us that the world is about to fall or end. It might be scary to think of these things. However, the Gospel tells us that God will catch us (knock over the blocks and catch one as it falls) and save us.

  3. Read today's Gospel, Mark 13:24-32.

  4. Say: We don't know when the things that Jesus talks about will happen, but we know that they will happen. We can trust Jesus' words to us. Many things in the world may change, but Jesus' words to us and God's love for us will never change.

  5. Conclude in prayer together thanking God for the great, unending love that he showed to us by sending us Jesus. Pray together the Glory Be to the Father.


Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32
Jesus teaches about the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.


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

Older children are learning to accept change in their lives. Many things in our world are subject to change, but Jesus' words to us and his love for us will endure forever.

Materials Needed

  • The weather page from a newspaper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show the weather page from a newspaper to the group. Ask them to identify some things that will change about the weather during the week ahead (Some days might be sunny, others cloudy; the temperature will change throughout each day; and so on). Ask: Is there anything about the weather that will stay constant throughout the week? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  2. Say: There are many things that are subject to change. Weather is one example. What are some other examples of things that change? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  3. Say: Jesus taught us about another change that will happen one day in our world. He taught us that one day the world will come to an end. Jesus taught us some signs that will tell us the end time is near.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Mark 12:38-44.

  5. Ask: What signs does Jesus say will signal the end times? (the sun darkening, stars falling, the coming of the Son of Man, and so on) Do you think we will be able to predict the end times? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Who does Jesus say knows when these things will happen? (only God)

  6. Say: We don't know when the things that Jesus talks about will happen, but we know that they will happen. Jesus does not want us to be frightened by these signs, nor does he want us to be fearful about the fact that the world will one day come to an end. Many things in the world may change, but Jesus' words to us and God's love for us will never change.

  7. Conclude in prayer together thanking God for the great, unending love that he showed us by sending us Jesus. Pray together the Glory Be to the Father.


Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32
Jesus teaches about the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Even as teens prepare for changes in their lives, they find security in the people whose love for them will not change. Many things in our world are subject to change, but Jesus' words to us and his love for us will endure forever.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: When predicting the weather, what signs are used? (temperature, wind direction, clouds, and so on) What do you predict the weather will be tomorrow? Are your predictions likely to be accurate? Why or why not? (They might be accurate because we heard a forecaster give the weather report; they might not be accurate because we don't know how to interpret the signs; and so on.)

  2. Say: We can make a guess about what the weather will be tomorrow, but we're not really making a weather prediction. Without the help of trained meteorologists, it is unlikely that our predictions will be accurate. If they are, it is because we have read the forecast of others very well.

  3. Say: Just as signs help meteorologists predict the weather, Jesus told us there will be signs that will indicate that the end of the world is near. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Mark 12:38-44.

  5. Ask: What signs does Jesus say will signal the end times? (the sun darkening, stars falling, the coming of the Son of Man, and so on) Do you think we will be able to predict the end times? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Who does Jesus say knows when these things will happen? (only God)

  6. Say: We don't know when the things that Jesus talks about will happen, but we know that they will happen. Why? (because we can trust Jesus' words to us)

  7. Say: Jesus does not want us to be frightened by these signs, nor does he want us to be fearful about the fact that the world will one day come to an end. Many things in the world may change, but Jesus' words to us and God's love for us will never change.

  8. Conclude in prayer together thanking God for the great, unending love he showed to us by sending us Jesus. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.


Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32
Jesus teaches about the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.


Family Connection

Many things in our lives and in our world are subject to change. Yet all of us find security in relationships and values that endure. Foremost among these are our family relationships. We can confidently accept change if we know that we will continue to be loved by our family and by God. We help impart this sense of trust and confidence in our children with our daily assurances to them that nothing can change our love for them.

As you gather as a family, look through several family photo albums. Observe and talk about things that have changed in your family life over the years. Talk also about the things that have stayed the same. We do not need to fear changes in our family life because we know that the most important aspects of our family life do not change, such as our love for one another. The same is true with God and God's love for us. Read today's Gospel, Mark 13:24-32. Jesus teaches us that things in our world will change and that the world itself will one day end. We don't need to be fearful because God's love for us will never end. Conclude in prayer together thanking God his never-ending love for us. Pray together the Glory Be to the Father.