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.


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Cycle A

Sunday, June 7, 2020

This Sunday’s Readings

First Reading
Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9
Moses pleads for God’s mercy on Mt. Sinai.

Responsorial Psalm
Daniel 3:52-56
We praise God who is exalted above all forever.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Paul urges the Corinthians to live in peace with one another and with God.

Gospel Reading
John 3:16-18
God sent his Son into the world to save the world.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next, however, are designated as solemnities—special days that call our attention to central mysteries of our faith. Today on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, one God in three persons.

Today’s Gospel is from the beginning of John’s Gospel. The passage we read follows Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee, Nicodemus, about what it means to be born of both water and the spirit. Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night and acknowledges Jesus as a teacher from God. Jesus tells him that only those who are born from above will see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus misunderstands and questions how a person can be born more than once. Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Jesus is essentially explaining Baptism, which we celebrate as a sacrament today. Yet Nicodemus, we are told, still does not understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus continues by testifying to the need to be born from above so that one might have eternal life.

After the dialogue with Nicodemus, the author of the Gospel offers his own explanation of Jesus’ words. This is what we read in today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18.

In the context of today’s focus on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the reading calls our attention to the action of God, who reveals himself in three persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, out of love for the world, sent his Son into the world in order to save it. Through the death and resurrection of the Son, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. As three persons, God acts always as a God of love; he does not condemn the world but acts to save it.

The Gospel also calls attention to the response that is required of us. God’s love for us calls us to respond in faith by professing our belief in God’s son, Jesus, and the salvation that he has won for us. This profession of faith is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Gospel Reading
John 3:16-18
God sent his Son into the world to save the world.


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

Young children are just beginning to learn about the mystery of the Holy Trinity and the belief that there is one God in three Persons. In today’s reading, we learn a central element of this mystery: God acts toward us with love, intending our salvation, and offering us the gift of eternal life.

Materials Needed

  • A chalkboard or butcher paper

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Have the children imagine that a puppy or a kitten has been lost. Give them a moment to think about it.

  2. Then say: Now let’s make a list of what you would do to find the puppy or the kitten. List their suggestions on the chalkboard or butcher paper.

  3. Then say: When we disobey God, it is like we are lost. In today’s reading we will hear about how much God wants us to be found. God loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to be separated from him. So he sent Jesus to find us. Jesus came so that we could be united with God the Father. If we believe in Jesus, he will bring us to heaven to be with God our Father. That is what today’s Gospel tells us. Let’s listen carefully.

  4. Read today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18.

  5. Say: What a loving choice God made! Let’s thank God for giving us a way to be with him forever in heaven. Lead the children in a prayer.

  6. Conclude by praying together the Glory Be to the Father or today’s Psalm.


Gospel Reading
John 3:16-18
God sent his Son into the world to save the world.


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

As children mature, their understanding of the language of our faith becomes more sophisticated. As catechists we can meet their developing maturity by opening up for them the rich traditions of our faith. We can invite young people to the awareness that God always acts with love toward us and through the action of the Holy Spirit, we come to faith in God who is one God in three persons.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Begin by asking the group to pray the Sign of the Cross. Invite the group to think carefully about the meaning of this prayer. Ask: When do we pray the Sign of the Cross? (at the beginning of our prayers, when we bless ourselves with holy water, at the beginning of Mass)

  2. Say: Whenever we make the Sign of the Cross, we are recalling a central mystery of our faith that expresses what we believe about God. What do we believe about God that is expressed in the Sign of the Cross? (We believe in the Holy Trinity: one God who is three Persons—God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit.) Say: At the heart of our understanding of the Holy Trinity is the confidence that God loves us.

  3. Say: Today’s Gospel also tells us about the Holy Trinity. Let’s listen carefully to what it says and see what we can learn about the Trinity.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18.

  5. Say: Today’s Gospel talks about why and how God acts. We come to know who God is by what God does for us. What does our Gospel tell us about what God does and why? (God sent Jesus to save the world because God loves the world.) Say: The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we might believe that God loves us and wants to give us eternal life. The Trinity is a way that we talk about how we experience God’s love for us.

  6. Conclude in prayer together by asking that the Holy Spirit continue to help us with our belief that God is always acting out of love for us. Pray together the Glory Be to the Father or today’s Psalm.


Gospel Reading
John 3:16-18
God sent his Son into the world to save the world.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

The notion of three Persons in one God is difficult for anyone to comprehend. Though God is ultimately unknowable, we can know aspects of God through our experiences of the Creator, Jesus the God/Human, and the Holy Spirit.

Materials Needed

  • One poster board or large sheet of paper with three interlocking triangles drawn on it
  • Paper and pencils for all the young people

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: This Sunday, as the Easter season has ended, we are invited to learn about God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Sunday we celebrate the Holy Trinity, three Persons in one God. We celebrate the solemnity of Trinity Sunday to rejoice that God chooses to interact with us in different, loving ways.

  2. Ask: What different words would you use to describe the different persons in the Trinity? If the young people need help, suggest the following familiar terms: Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, Father, Son, and Spirit.

  3. Divide the young people into three groups. Assign each group one Person of the Trinity. Tell the groups that they are to develop a list of adjectives that describe that Person of the Trinity.

  4. Ask a volunteer from each group to read aloud the lists.

  5. Ask: Were there adjectives that appeared on all three lists? Which descriptive words do the Persons of the Trinity have in common? If the groups have words in common, ask volunteers to write these words in the interlocking area of the triangles on the poster board.

  6. If the groups have not identified the word loving, add it to the poster board. Ask: What does this exercise tell us about how the Persons of the Trinity are different? How are they alike? (Allow time for discussion.)

  7. Invite a student to read aloud the Gospel for this Sunday, John 3:16-18.

  8. Say: This Sunday’s Gospel talks about why and how God acts. We come to know who God is by what God does for us. What does the Gospel tell us about what God does for us and why? (God sent Jesus to save the world because God loves the world.) Say: The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we might believe that God loves us and wants to give us eternal life. The Trinity is a way to talk about how we experience God’s love for us.

  9. Conclude the session with the following quotation: God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him.


Gospel Reading
John 3:16-18
God sent his Son into the world to save the world.


Family Connection

Because of God’s great love for us, he sent his Son, Jesus, to save the world. Jesus, in turn, sent the Holy Spirit so that our faith in God and his love would be strengthened. The nurturing experiences of family life also help us to understand and have faith in God’s love.

Create a family poster together showing all the ways in which your family experiences God’s great love. Use symbols, pictures, and words to show how you have seen God at work in your family life and in our history. Then read together today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18. Pray together, thanking God for his gift of love. Conclude by praying the Glory Be to the Father or today’s Psalm.