Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle A 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 Lent, Cycle A

Sunday, March 12, 2017


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Genesis 12:1-4a
God promises Abram a great blessing.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22
God's mercy is upon those who trust in God.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Through God's grace we are called to holiness.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is transfigured on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John.

Background on the Gospel Reading

For the second Sunday of Lent, we move from Jesus' retreat to the desert to his Transfiguration. Each year on the first Sunday of Lent, our Gospel tells the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert. On the second Sunday of Lent each year, we hear the story of Jesus' Transfiguration.

The story of Jesus' Transfiguration is told in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In each of those Gospels, the Transfiguration follows Jesus' first prediction of his death and his teaching about the costs of discipleship. Jesus' Transfiguration is a promise of Jesus' glory, his Resurrection.

On a mountain in today's reading, a voice affirms that Jesus is God's Son in words reminiscent of the voice at Jesus' baptism. In addition, the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mountain connects this story with God's relationship to the people of Israel. Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, respectively. Together with Jesus, they represent God's complete Word.

The Transfiguration occurs in the presence of just three of Jesus' disciples: Peter, James, and John. In Matthew's Gospel, those disciples are among the first whom Jesus calls. The three men are identified as an “inner circle” among Jesus' disciples when Jesus asks them to accompany him to the Garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is transfigured on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John.


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

Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a mountaintop. Jesus' appearance was changed, and Moses and Elijah appeared. God's voice spoke from a cloud, saying that Jesus was God's own Son. Only after Jesus' Resurrection from the dead would the disciples fully understand what they had observed on the mountain.

Materials Needed

  • Drawing paper
  • Crayons

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: In the Gospel this week, an amazing thing happens to Jesus. First, Jesus goes up a mountain with three of his friends—Peter, James, and John—and he became bright like a light. Second, two important men, Moses and Elijah, are seen with Jesus. They lived before Jesus, and everyone respected them because they had been strong and had obeyed God no matter what happened. Third, God himself says something very important about Jesus. Let's listen to today's Gospel to find out what God said.

  2. Read the Gospel, Matthew 17:1-9, to the children.

  3. Ask: What did God say about Jesus? (“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”) What happened to Jesus? (His face became bright and his clothes became white.) Tell the children that the change in the way Jesus looked was called the Transfiguration.

  4. Ask: Who went to the mountain with Jesus? (his friends: Peter, James, and John)

  5. Say: To help us remember what happened to Jesus, let's each draw a picture of Jesus on the mountain.

  6. Distribute paper and crayons and let each child draw their picture of the Transfiguration.

  7. Using the pictures, create a place for prayer and gather the group in this area. Pray together that we will recognize Jesus as God's Son in our lives and listen to him as God told us. Pray together Psalm 33 or pray the Lord's Prayer.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is transfigured on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John.


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

The Transfiguration of Jesus might be described as one of Jesus' greatest moments. It might well have been a “greatest moment” in the lives of his disciples, Peter, James, and John as well. The event offered Jesus and his disciples a foretaste of the glory that would come. It may also have been a moment that helped to sustain Jesus and his disciples through the difficult times ahead of them.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: What is the best thing that has ever happened to you? Invite a sample of responses. Ask: Did you wish that you could stay in that moment forever? What do those great experiences mean to you now? Were they just great things that happened, or do they still have importance for you today? Invite a sample of responses.

  2. Say: Today's Gospel tells the story of a great moment in Jesus' life and the lives of his closest disciples: Peter, James, and John. Let's listen to that Gospel to hear what meaning it might have for us today.
  3. Invite volunteers to read different parts of today's Gospel, Matthew 17:1-9.

  4. Ask: What did Peter want to do when he saw the change in Jesus' appearance? (He wanted to set up three tents.) What did the voice from the cloud say? (“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”) What did Jesus tell the disciples as they were coming down from the mountain? (“Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”)

  5. Ask: Do you think the disciples understood what they had just observed? Would they understand it better later? How might this experience have helped Jesus and his disciples during the days of Jesus' Passion? Accept all reasonable answers.

  6. Conclude in prayer together by praying today's Psalm, Psalm 33.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is transfigured on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are influenced by celebrities who endorse clothing, shoes, or sports equipment. In this Sunday's Gospel, the appearances of Moses and Elijah during Jesus' Transfiguration can be seen as endorsements of Jesus and his mission.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to think of celebrities who are known for endorsing certain products or services.

  2. Explain that when celebrities give endorsements, the celebrity's reputation is closely connected with the reputation of the product he or she is endorsing.

  3. Invite the young people to think of two people (celebrities or people in their own lives) whose endorsement they would want if they were trying to develop positive reputations.

  4. Invite the young people to share the people they have chosen. Ask them to explain why they would want those endorsements.

  5. Point out that in the Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent, two important people appear with Jesus, and that in a sense, these people are endorsing Jesus' mission.

  6. Invite volunteers to read aloud Matthew 17:1-9

  7. Ask: Who are the two important figures who appear next to Jesus? (Moses and Elijah)

  8. Explain that when Moses and Elijah appeared next to Jesus at the Transfiguration, the message was clear: Jesus represents what Moses and Elijah stand for: the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).

  9. Say: This Gospel reminds us that Jesus is no ordinary person and that his message is not ordinary either. We are reminded to pay close attention to the teachings of Jesus because he represents God's complete Word.
  10.  Conclude by praying together this Sunday's psalm, Psalm 33.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is transfigured on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John.


Family Connection

As a family, talk about some of your times of highs and lows. How have you been able to use the good times and experiences to sustain you in the difficult ones? Jesus' Transfiguration may have been an event from which Peter, James, and John drew courage when they faced the difficult events of Jesus' Passion. Read together today's Gospel, Matthew 17:1-9. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the good times and experiences that your family has had together. Pray that your family will use these experiences to sustain you during times of difficulty. Close by praying today's psalm, Psalm 33.