Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle 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.


Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

Sunday, April 24, 2016


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 14:21-27
Paul and Barnabas proclaim the good news in many places.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:8-9,10-11,12-13
A song of praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:1-5a
John describes his vision of a new heaven and a new earth.

Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today's Gospel again comes from the Gospel of John. Like last week, today we hear words spoken by Jesus before his death and Resurrection. Jesus is teaching at the Last Supper.

John's Gospel does not include an institution of the Eucharist narrative; instead, Jesus washes his disciples' feet. Immediately after, Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas. Today's Gospel follows that prediction. It can be read as a continuing explanation of Jesus' act of washing his disciples' feet. It begins with the announcement that this is the moment when the Son of Man will be glorified. This theme continues throughout John's Passion. Jesus will be glorified in his death on the cross and in his Resurrection, and the disciples will glorify Jesus in the love they show.

John's Gospel does not present a sentimental view of love. This is a type of love that is shown in service and sacrifice. It is difficult to choose to love when faced with hatred and anger. Jesus tells the disciples that all will know that they are his disciples because of the love they show for one another. This description of the early Christian community will be repeated in the Acts of the Apostles: “See how they love one another.” Christian love is the hallmark of Christianity. We see it lived in the witness of the martyrs. We see it in the example of the lives of the saints. We see it in the holy women and men who live and love daily, making small and large sacrifices for others.


Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.


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

Children learn by example. Jesus not only talked about love, he gave us his life as an example to show us how to love.

Materials Needed

  • Origami cup
  • Water
  • Several pieces of square paper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Teach the children to make an origami cup, demonstrating and helping as you give the directions. Tell them to fold a square sheet of paper in half to form a triangle. Have them place the triangles on their desks with the fold facing them. Tell them to bring the left and right points of the triangle to the middle of the opposite sides and crease them. This will produce a five-sided figure with the bottom being shorter in length than the sides. Fold the top points down on the front and back to form the cup. Squeeze the sides of the figure to open the cup. Then demonstrate that it holds water.

  2. Say: Now that you know how to make a cup, maybe someday you'll be able to make one for a small child who doesn't know how to sip water from a drinking fountain. If I had only told you how to make a cup and hadn't shown you how, it would have been difficult for you to learn.

  3. Say: That's why Jesus didn't just tell us how to love, he showed us. The Gospel this week tells us that, before Jesus died, he told his friends to love one another the way he had shown them how to love. He said this at his Last Supper with his friends, just after he had washed their feet. This is what Jesus said.

  4. Read aloud today's Gospel, John 13:31-33a,34-35.

  5. Ask: How had Jesus shown love to his disciples? (He washed their feet.) How did Jesus say that people would recognize his disciples? (by their love for one another)What did Jesus do after this Last Supper to show love? (He died on the cross.)

  6. Say: When you followed my directions you were able to make a cup. When you follow Jesus' directions, you become a disciple and are able to make a different, more loving world.

  7. Conclude by praying together the Act of Love.


Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.


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

Children learn by example. Jesus not only talked about love, he gave us his life as an example to show us how to love.

Materials Needed

  • Origami cup
  • Water
  • Several pieces of square paper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show an origami cup and pour water into the cup to demonstrate that it can actually hold water. Then show a piece of square paper. Ask: Which would be easier: to tell you how to make this cup or to show you how? (to show)

  2. Then show the children how to make an origami cup, demonstrating and helping them as you give the directions. Tell them to fold a square sheet of paper in half to form a triangle. Have them place the triangles on their desks with the fold facing them. Tell them to bring the left and right points of the triangle to the middle of the opposite sides and crease them. This will produce a five-sided figure with the bottom being shorter in length than the sides. Fold the top points down on the front and back to form the cup. Squeeze the sides of the figure to open the cup.

  3. Say: Now that you know how to make a cup, maybe someday you'll be able to teach someone else and perhaps make one for a small child who doesn't know how to sip water from a drinking fountain. If I had only told you how to make a cup and hadn't shown you how, it would have been difficult for you to learn.

  4. Say: That's why Jesus didn't just tell us how to love, he showed us. The Gospel this week tells us that before Jesus died, he told his friends to love one another the way he had shown them how to love. He had just washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper. This is what Jesus said.

  5. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, John 13:31-33a,34-35.

  6. Ask: How had Jesus shown love to his disciples? (He washed their feet.) How did Jesus say that people would recognize his disciples? (by their love for one another) What did Jesus do after this Last Supper to show love? (He died on the cross.)

  7. Say: When you followed the example and directions I gave, you were able to make a cup. When you follow Jesus' example and words, you become a disciple and are able to make a different, more loving world.

  8. Pray together the Act of Love.


Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people in junior high are very tuned in to the notion of being authentic. They can spot phoniness a mile away. For them, words must be backed up by actions. In today's Gospel, Jesus gives words about love that he backs up in his actions.

Materials Needed

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to think about phrases such as “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” or “following in another's footsteps.”

  2. Say: Choose two occasions when you found it difficult to show love. Write about each occasion in one of the footprints on the handout. Pass out the handouts.

  3. Say: Demands or requirements of Christian love; the kind of love Jesus modeled for us is difficult. It involves sacrifice. Jesus knew that the disciples would be called upon to follow his way of love even unto death.

  4. Say: That's why Jesus didn't just tell us how to love, he showed us. The Gospel this week tells us that, before Jesus died, he told his friends to love one another the way he had shown them how to love. This is what we hear in today's Gospel reading.

  5. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, John 13:31-33a,34-35.

  6. Ask: How had Jesus shown love to his disciples at the Last Supper? (He washed their feet.) How did Jesus say that people would recognize his disciples? (by their love for one another) What did Jesus do after this Last Supper to show love? (He died on the cross.)

  7. Say: We believe that the glory of God is seen when we follow Jesus' way of love.

  8. Invite the young people to once again look at the situations written about. Say: Consider whether your actions were consistent with Jesus' way of love. What might you have done differently? What might you do differently the next time you face a similar situation? Write about this in each footprint.

  9. Conclude by praying together the Act of Love.


Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.


Family Connection

Is love the first word your family members use to describe their interactions? Love is difficult. Jesus' sacrifice for us is an example of this. Yet because of love, the glory of God is fully revealed in Jesus. God's glory is revealed in us when we act as the Body of Christ, as individuals and as a community. In the love we have for one another—difficult, challenging, sacrificial love—we find Jesus.

Choose one or two occasions when your family was together during the week. Describe the family's interactions from an outsider's perspective. When is it less difficult to show love to family members? When is it more difficult? When love is difficult, what do we do?

Jesus didn't just tell us to love one another. He showed us how to love one another. In what ways did Jesus show us how to love? (in his acts of healing and forgiving; at the Last Supper as he washed his disciples' feet; in the gift of the Eucharist; through his death on the Cross)