Fifth Sunday of 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.


Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, February 4, 2018


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Job 7:1-4,6-7
Job laments his sufferings and his life.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 147:1-6
A song of praise for the Lord's goodness to the lowly.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
Paul explains the conditions under which he preaches the gospel and the reasons why he will not accept financial help from the Corinthians.

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law and many others as well.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we continue to read from Mark's Gospel, learning more about the ministry of Jesus. Jesus cured Simon's mother-in-law, and she immediately began to serve Jesus and his disciples. Jesus also cured many others who were brought to him, healing their illnesses and driving out demons. As we will see throughout Mark's Gospel, Jesus did not permit the demons to speak because they knew his identity and would have revealed it to those who were present.

On the morning after this busy day, Jesus retreated in prayer, but was pursued by Simon and others who brought news that many people were looking for him. At this point in Mark's Gospel, we begin to see a distinct role for the inner circle of Jesus' disciples—they act as intermediaries between Jesus and the people. Jesus reports to his disciples that they need to leave Capernaum to preach in other places.

Today's Gospel completes a picture of Jesus' ministry: preaching, curing the sick, driving out demons, and then moving on to continue this work in another place. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus did this throughout Galilee.

Jesus' compassion and healing of the sick is a sign of the Kingdom of God. The Church continues to extend Christ's healing presence to others in its ministry to the sick. In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Church prays for spiritual and physical healing, forgiveness of sins, and comfort for those who are suffering from illness.

In today's Gospel we also notice the importance of prayer in Jesus' daily life. Jesus rose early in the morning, removed himself from the crowds, and went to a deserted place to pray. When the disciples found him, he told them that it was time to move on. We believe that in his prayers Jesus found guidance and direction from God. We also bring our decision-making to God in prayer, asking for his guidance and direction in our lives.

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law and many others as well.


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

Young children are impulsive, acting before they think. We can invite them to slow down, teaching them that prayer is an important step before every action they take.

Materials Needed

  • A box
  • A picture of an oven
  • A knitting needle
  • A picture of a gas pump
  • A mitten
  • A video-game cartridge

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Place a picture of an oven, a knitting needle, a picture of a gas pump, a mitten, and a video-game cartridge inside the box.

  2. Say: Before we can eat bread, what do we need to do? Hold up the picture of an oven, indicating that we must bake it. Before we can wear the wool of a lamb, what needs to be done? Hold up the knitting needle. Before we can drive away on a vacation, what do we need to do? Hold up the picture of the gas pump. Before we can make a snowman, what do we need to do? Hold up the mitten. Before we can play a video game, what must we do? Hold up the game cartridge. No matter who you are, how grown up you become or how talented you are, you still need to do some things before you can do other things.

  3. Say: Even Jesus, who performed miracles, still needed to do some things before he could preach. Listen to the Gospel now and see if you can figure out what Jesus needed to do before he could go to Galilee.

  4. Read aloud the Gospel, Mark 1:29-39.

  5. Ask: What did Jesus need to do before he could go to Galilee? (Jesus had to pray.) What kinds of things do we need to pray about before we can do them? Discuss enough things to help the children realize that we can pray about all things before we do them.

  6. Conclude by offering prayers of petition, inviting each child to name a least one thing that they want to pray for. After each petition is offered, pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Conclude by praying the Glory Be to the Father.

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law and many others as well.


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

Older children can appreciate the compassion and care that was extended to them when they were sick. Some of them may even have had experience helping others who were sick. The Church continues to extend Jesus' healing presence to those who are sick through pastoral care and in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the group to think about times when they were ill. Ask: What did you want most when you were sick? What did other people do to help you when you were sick? How have you helped others who were sick?

  2. Say: In today's Gospel, we hear how Jesus cured Simon's mother-in-law, who was sick with fever. We also hear how Jesus cured many other people. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, Mark 1:29-39.

  4. Ask: What did Simon's mother-in-law do after Jesus healed her? (She served Jesus and his disciples.) We see in her example that one of the things that those who are ill need most is a sense of purpose and the opportunity to make a contribution.

  5. Say: The Church continues to bring Jesus' healing presence to those who are sick. What are some things that our Church does for those who are sick? (We visit the sick; we bring Jesus' presence in the Eucharist; we pray for those who are sick; we celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.)

  6. Conclude in prayer together, asking Jesus to be with those who are sick. Pray prayers of petition for those who are sick; after each petition, pray “Jesus, heal us.” Conclude by praying the Glory Be to the Father.

 

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law and many others as well.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people are learning the importance of managing their time to accommodate their increasing responsibilities and activities. We can help them understand the importance of intentionally making time in their day for prayer.

Materials Needed

  • Paper
  • Pens

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Distribute paper and pens and ask each young person to write a schedule of his or her day, listing all the things he or she has to do today (for example, eat breakfast, go to school, go to a music lesson or sports practice, do homework and chores, eat dinner).

  2. Say: We have many important activities in our day, and some of us are busy from morning to night. We make the time for these activities because they are important to us.

  3. Say: In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see that Jesus also made time in his day for the activities that were important to him. Let’s listen carefully to this Gospel.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel, Mark 1:29–39.

  5. Ask: What activities of Jesus are described in this Gospel? (healing, driving out demons, preaching, praying) What activity do we see Jesus deliberately making time for? (prayer) How did he make time for prayer in his busy day? (He woke very early and went to a place where he could be alone to pray.)

  6. Say: Even though there are many good and important activities that we must do each day, our busy lives cannot become an excuse for failing to pray. Following Jesus’ example, we may find that we also need to be deliberate about making time in our day for prayer.

  7. Have the young people look back at their daily schedule and ask them to consider quietly what steps they might need to take to be sure that they make time for prayer. Encourage the young people to be steadfast in their intention to make time for prayer each day.

  8. Conclude by praying together the psalm for this Sunday, Psalm 147, praising God for his goodness to us.

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law and many others as well.


Family Connection

We know from last week's Gospel that Jesus gathered and prayed with the community in the synagogue. Today we learn that Jesus also took the time to pray alone. Following the example of Jesus, we also pray together with our community, and we take the time to pray alone. Our children observe our prayer with others. We might want to take the opportunity to talk with them about our private prayer, however, so that through our example, they may learn to make private prayer an important part of their daily lives.

Gather as a family and talk about the ways in which your family prays together (at Mass, grace before meals, bedtime prayers). Invite each member of the family to talk about his or her private prayer: When do you pray? Where do you pray? How do you pray? What do you pray for?

Jesus modeled for us a life of prayer. Read together today's Gospel, Mark 1:29-39. Talk about this Gospel with your family. Ask questions such as the following: What do you think Jesus was praying about in today's Gospel? What guidance have you received from God in prayer? Conclude by asking God to bless our times of prayer so that we can know and follow God's ways. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.