Sixth 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.


Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

Sunday, May 1, 2016

 


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:10-14,22-23
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.

Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This portion of John's Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus' long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian's life is not shaped by Jesus' absence but by God's abiding presence; God's presence overcomes anxiety about God's absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.

These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus' relationship with the Father and the disciples' relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.

Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.

As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.


Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.


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

Young children are often naturally generous in showing love and care for others. We can teach them that we are following Jesus' example when we show love for others.

Materials Needed

  • A seesaw-type apparatus (How to construct: Attach a strip of stiff cardboard to a toilet-paper tube by sticking a tack through the center of the cardboard. Glue or tape a paper cupcake liner to one end of the cardboard strip)
  • Several pieces of heart-shaped candy

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Bring in the seesaw-type apparatus you've constructed and several pieces of heart-shaped candy.

  2. Ask for volunteers to think of ways they can show love. As they name them, hand them a piece of candy to place in the cupcake liner on the high end of the strip of cardboard and ask whether they remember a time when Jesus showed such love. When the cardboard is weighted sufficiently, it will go down and the other end will go up.

  3. Point to the high end and say: The more we love like Jesus, the closer we get to the Father. Jesus said that his Father will give us the help we need to be like Jesus. Hand each child a heart candy. Let's listen carefully to today's Gospel to see what we learn about this Helper that the Father will send.

  4. Read aloud today's Gospel, John 14:23-29.

  5. Ask: What does Jesus say will happen to those who keep his word? (Jesus and the Father will dwell in them.) Who will be sent to help us remember Jesus and follow his word? (the Advocate, the Holy Spirit)

  6. Say: Jesus told us that the Father will give us the Holy Spirit, who will help us to remember how Jesus showed his love and to be like him.

  7. Conclude by praying together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.


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

When touring a place of interest that we are not familiar with, it is helpful to have a guide who can help us to get the most out of our tour. Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to help us and guide us during our journey of life.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask if any of the children have gone on a trip that included a tour guide (for example: to a museum, a national park, or a foreign country). Invite volunteers to share their experiences.

  2. Ask: Why is it helpful to have a tour guide? (to help us understand what we are seeing and to guide us along the way)

  3. Say: Jesus knew that we are in need of guidance in our lives, so he promised to send his Holy Spirit.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, John 14:23-29.

  5. Ask: What title does Jesus use when referring to his Holy Spirit? (Advocate)

  6. Explain that an advocate is a helper. Say: Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to be our advocate—our guide—so that we do not get lost on our journey to heaven.

  7. Tell the children that we can benefit from the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Encourage them to pray often to the Holy Spirit for help and guidance.

  8. Conclude by praying together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

For most of us, peace is understood as the absence of conflict. We long for “peace and quiet.” Jesus gives us the gift of peace but not as the world gives peace. The peace of Christ is that state of being that exists when heaven and earth (God's will and our lives) connect in our hearts.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to identify places in the world for which we should be praying for peace. (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  2. Ask them to explain in their own words what they are asking for when they pray for peace. In other words, how do they define peace? (absence of conflict; justice)

  3. Tell them that in today's Gospel Jesus offers the gift of peace but tells us that his peace is different from the peace that the world gives.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, John 14:23-29.

  5. Ask: What does Jesus mean when he says that he gives us peace but not as the world gives it? (Jesus' peace means his presence in our lives.)

  6. Explain to the young people that the Holy Spirit and peace go together and that peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Say: When we offer people a sign of peace at Mass, we are doing much more than saying “hi” to them. We are offering them our deepest wish that Jesus be always present in their heart.

  8. End by inviting the young people to offer one another a sign of peace, encouraging them to use the words, “Christ's peace be with you.”


Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.


Family Connection

Parents are always helping their children prepare for something, whether that consists of getting ready for school, preparing for an exam, or making preparations to go on vacation. In today's Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciples for his Passion, death, and Resurrection. He promises his Holy Spirit, gives them the gift of his peace, and tells them not to be troubled.

As a family, talk about the kinds of events that you have prepared for together; surgeries, funerals, vacations, and first days of school are some examples. Talk about why it is important to prepare for important events in our lives. Then read aloud this Sunday's Gospel: John 14:23-29. Talk about how Jesus prepared his disciples for his Death and Resurrection and how he wanted them to be prepared for what would happen so that they would be able to believe.

Talk about how, as a family, you can prepare for Pentecost (only 2 weeks away), when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate.