Second Sunday of Advent, 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.


Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle C

Sunday, December 6, 2015


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Baruch 5:1-9
Jerusalem shall see the splendor of God's glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6
A song of praise for God's great deeds

Second Reading
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
Paul prays for the Philippians.

Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This week and next, our Gospel readings invite us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. John the Baptist appears in the tradition of the great prophets, preaching repentance and reform to the people of Israel. To affirm this, Luke quotes at length from the prophet Isaiah. John baptizes for repentance and for forgiveness of sins, preparing the way for God's salvation.

The three Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke—attest to the importance of the baptism of John in preparing for Jesus. Only the Gospel of Luke, however, extends the connection between these two men to their birth. The first two chapters of Luke's Gospel contain the Infancy Narrative, which tells about the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. These stories set the stage for the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in chapter 3.

The evangelist Luke is the author of the Gospel that bears his name, and he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a continuation of the story of Jesus and the Church. In these two works, Luke's sense of time and history emerges. He identifies three epochs of salvation history: the time before Christ, the time of Christ, and the time of the Church and the Holy Spirit. In today's Gospel reading, as elsewhere, John the Baptist is presented as the figure who bridges the time before Christ and prepares the way for Christ's own ministry.

In today's Gospel we also note Luke's attention to political and historical detail. Luke shows that salvation is for all people and situated in world events. Therefore, Luke lists the political and religious leaders at the time of John's appearance in the desert. Salvation is understood as God's breaking into this political and social history.

John's preaching of the coming of the Lord is a key theme of the Advent season. As John's message prepared the way for Jesus, we too are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus' coming. We respond to John's message by repentance and reform of our lives. We are also called to be prophets of Christ, who announce by our lives the coming of the Lord, as John did.


Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.


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

Making decisions can be difficult for young children. We can help encourage moral decision making by teaching that we can avoid some difficulties by making choices that show our obedience to God.

Materials Needed

  • five slips of paper that say Sure willand five slips that say No way
  • two bowls
  • pieces of candy
  • two obstacle courses made up of chairs to climb over, desks to climb under, and strips of tape on the floor to balance on

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Place five slips of paper that say Sure will and five slips that say No way in a bowl. Set up two obstacle courses made up of chairs to climb over, desks to climb under, and strips of tape on the floor to balance on. Place a bowl of candy at the end. Separate the group into two teams and choose a representative from each team to go through the course.

  2. Say: Today [Name] and [Name] are going to try to get candy for their teams by overcoming some obstacles. How they do this will depend on how they act in the following situations. Here is the first one. 1) You go to the store with your mom and you ask for some gum. She says no, but you still want it. Will you take it when no one is looking? Have each representative choose an answer from the bowl. If they choose Sure will, they must go through an obstacle; if they choose No way, they can walk around the first obstacle. Explain to the class that if they steal the candy, they might get caught and be punished, but even if they don't get caught, they will feel guilty about stealing. By doing what's wrong, they choose the more difficult path.

  3. 2) You see Mrs. Brown walking home from the grocery store. She walks with a cane and is trying to carry her groceries. Will you stop to help? Have the representatives choose again. This time if they choose Sure will, they can step around the next obstacle; No way requires them to deal with the obstacle. Explain that when we ignore others' needs, we become less caring. Continue in this manner, asking questions such as the following: Will you cheat on a test? Will you share your lunch with someone who forgot to bring one?

  4. Have the two children bring the candy back to their teams. Say: The Gospel this week tells about a man who knew all about obstacles. His name was John, and he tells us that we can get past the obstacles of life by choosing to obey God. Even when we make bad choices, we can get back on the right path by being sorry; God will always forgive us.

  5. Read today's Gospel, Luke 3:1-6.

  6. Say: During the season of Advent, we prepare the way of the Lord by making choices that show we obey God and by asking God to forgive us for any bad choices we might have made. God always forgives us.

  7. Conclude in prayer together asking God's forgiveness for the times we have not obeyed God and asking God to help us make good choices. Pray together the Act of Contrition.


Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.


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

Older children are learning that their choices have consequences, for good and for ill. During the season of Advent, we hear the message of John the Baptist calling us to repent and to make choices that will prepare the way of the Lord.

Materials Needed

  • A set of dominoes

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Set up a series of dominoes in the shape of a Y so that when you push the first domino, it initiates a chain reaction causing the other dominoes to fall.

  2. Show the young people your domino setup. Ask: What will happen if I push over this first domino? (It will cause the other dominoes to fall.) What will happen if I don't push this first domino? (Nothing; the other dominoes won't fall.) Say: What do you think I should do? Do what the majority of students want you to do.

  3. Say: Each of our choices has consequences. Notice how pushing this first domino caused the others dominoes to fall. Sometimes our choice to do one thing leads us to other choices that we didn't see at first.

  4. Say: In today's Gospel, we hear about the appearance of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel to see what choices this Gospel invites us to make.

  5. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Luke 3:1-6.

  6. Ask: What choice did John the Baptist make? (He chose to prepare the way of the Lord.) What choice did John the Baptist want others to make? (to repent and be baptized; to change their lives; to prepare the way of the Lord) Say: John's choice to prepare the way of the Lord started what might be described as a chain reaction, as others also chose to prepare the way of the Lord through their baptism and repentance.

  7. Say: We can also be people who prepare the way of the Lord through our good choices and by our repentance when we fail to make good choices. The season of Advent is a time when we focus on making good choices so that we have made ourselves ready to receive Jesus when he comes.

  8. Pray together that we will be people whose good choices help prepare the way of the Lord and invite others to do the same. Pray together the Act of Contrition.


Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Through their exposure to advertising, young people hear messages that try to influence their behavior. In the announcement of John the Baptist, we hear a very different message, one calling for repentance.

Materials Needed

  • Samples of advertising slogans with which the young people are familiar
  • paper and pencils

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show the young people the advertising slogans. Ask them to identify the message the slogan is announcing and what the advertisers want those who hear the message to do.

  2. Say: There are many messages sent to us in our society. Many of these are advertising messages that seek to get our attention in order to sell a product. Are there other people or organizations that have messages for us today? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  3. Say: In today's Gospel, we hear about John the Baptist, a messenger who appeared before Jesus. After we listen to this Gospel, we'll identify the message John the Baptist announced.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, Luke 3:1-6.

  5. Ask: What message is John the Baptist announcing? (Repent of your sins.) Is this message still relevant today? (Yes.) Are there voices today that continue to announce this message? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  6. Say: During the season of Advent, the message of John the Baptist is particularly appropriate. During Advent, we seek forgiveness of our sins as we prepare for Jesus' coming. To help us hear better John's message, let's try to be advertisers and write the message of John the Baptist in the form of a slogan so that people might better hear this message today.

  7. Place the young people in groups of two or three. Invite them to prepare slogans for the season of Advent that echo the message of John the Baptist. Invite volunteers to share their slogans with the group. (If appropriate, these messages might also be shared with others in your parish, perhaps in announcements for a parish Advent reconciliation service.)

  8. Conclude in prayer together asking God to help us hear and respond to the message of John the Baptist calling us to repentance. Pray together the Act of Contrition.


Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.


Family Connection

During the season of Advent, we choose to add many activities to our family's schedule to prepare for our celebration of Christmas. John the Baptist reminds us that our repentance is another way in which we can prepare for the Lord's coming and our celebration of Christmas. Parish communities often offer a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Advent season. Your family might choose to participate in the communal celebration of the sacrament, or you might seek out this sacrament on an individual basis.

Read together today's Gospel, Luke 3:1-6. Talk about how John the Baptist called upon the people to prepare the way of the Lord through repentance. Together as a family, prepare a simple reconciliation service in preparation for Christmas. Gather in a prayerful space, perhaps around the family Advent wreath. Read again from today's Gospel, Luke 3:1-6. Invite each family member to pray silently, asking God to forgive his or her sins. Pray together the Act of Contrition. Then celebrate God's forgiveness by sharing the sign of peace with one another.