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.

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, June 5, 2016

This Sunday's Reading

First Reading
1 Kings 17:17–24
A widow’s son is brought back to life by the prophet Elijah.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 30:2,4,5–6,11–12,13(2a)
The psalmist praises the Lord for deliverance from harm.

Second Reading

Galatians 1:11–19
Paul defends his authority to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:11–17
Jesus demonstrates his power over death.

Background on the Gospel
The Gospel of Luke, written around A.D. 80–90, is best understood in light of the author’s background. Luke was not Jewish, nor was he among the first generation of Christian disciples. He did not know or travel with Jesus. To write his Gospel, he depended on the testimony and traditions of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and death.

Luke, as a Gentile, was intent on sharing Jesus’ life story, teachings, and message of universal Salvation. In the passage before this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus cures the dying slave of a Gentile. Throughout his Gospel, Luke demonstrates that God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Jesus and that Salvation through Jesus Christ is extended to all people.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus and his disciples are approaching the city of Naim when they come upon a large funeral procession. The only son of a widow is being carried out. Jesus, filled with pity for the grieving mother, tells her not to weep. He then touches the coffin and tells the young man to arise. With that, the dead man gets up and starts speaking. The crowd, amazed at what they have just witnessed, praise God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst” and “God has visited his people.”

This is reminiscent of what we hear in today’s First Reading from 1 Kings when the prophet Elijah raised from the dead the only son of a widow. The woman’s response is recognition of Elijah as a prophet, a man of God: “It is truly the word of the LORD that you speak.”

For all these people, at this point in time, Jesus is a great prophet doing wonders and speaking in the name of God. Even John the Baptist sent his followers to listen to Jesus and report back to him. John’s question was: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Luke 7:19) The time for the full revelation of Jesus’ person and his mission is yet to come.

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:11–17
Jesus demonstrates his power over death.

Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)
To children of this age, Jesus may appear like a superhero or a Disney character who has special powers. They need help to understand the purpose of Jesus’ miraculous works.

Materials Needed (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

  • Two or so costumes depicting superheroes or Disney characters such as a fairy godmother or The Incredibles family

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

  1. Say: When we play, sometimes we like to dress up or wear costumes. Then we can pretend to be Peter Pan or Tinker Belle or Superman. We make believe that we can fly or that we have super powers. Why is it so much fun to pretend to be someone else? (Possible answer: You can imagine doing things you ordinarily couldn’t do.)
  2. Show children the costumes you brought and discuss the characters they depict and the good things of which the characters are capable.
  3. Read Luke 7:11–17.
  4. Ask: What great thing did Jesus do in the Gospel Reading? (He brought the widow’s son back to life.) Why did he do it? (He felt sorry for the boy’s mother. He loved the boy and his mother.) Say: Jesus is God’s Son, and he has a special message for us. His message is that God loves us. Because of that great love, God sent Jesus to use his special powers to bring love and kindness into the world by showing us how to care for one another. Jesus wants us to be superheroes, real heroes who do what is good and loving in our homes and our schools.
  5. Say: Let us sit quietly, fold our hands, and tell Jesus what we will do to be superheroes for God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:11–17
Jesus demonstrates his power over death.

Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)
Children of this age are fascinated by the unusual or spectacular. They like magic but are sometimes unable to fully comprehend the difference between magic and the miraculous actions of Jesus.

Materials Needed (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

  • Copies of the Gospel Reading

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

  1. Ask the following questions, allowing time for responses: How many of you have been to a magic show or seen a magician on television? What kinds of tricks did they perform? Do any of you do magic tricks?
  2. Assign parts for the reading of the Gospel—Jesus, the widow, the son, several persons to form the crowd. Explain that you will read the narrative parts. Discuss with the “actors” their roles and actions. Ask the remaining children to speak the words in quotes in the last paragraph of the Gospel.
  3. Have the children act out Luke 7:11–17.
  4. Discuss: What miracle did Jesus perform in this Gospel? (He brought a dead man to life.) What prompted Jesus to perform the miracle? (He was moved with pity for the widow, who had lost her only son.) What was the people’s response to Jesus’ miracle? (They called him a great prophet.)
  5. Help the children understand the difference between miracle and magic. (Magic is an illusion, an art based on false appearances. A miracle is the manifestation of God’s power and love for us; it has religious significance.)
  6. Ask the children to sit quietly, fold their hands, close their eyes, and thank God for the gift of his Son, Jesus, who teaches us about God’s great love for all people.

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:11–17
Jesus demonstrates his power over death.

Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)
Young people of this age are much like the crowds who followed Jesus. They require proof, but once they believe, they are committed to action.

Materials Needed (Grades 7 and 8)

  • Paper and pens or pencils
  • Copies of the Gospel Reading

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings (Grades 7 and 8)

  1. Invite two of the young people to read this Sunday’s Gospel—Luke 7:11–17—one as the narrator, the other as the various persons speaking.
  2. Pass out paper, pencils, and copies of the Gospel Reading.
  3. Say: Based on this reading, write down what you learned about Jesus. (Possible responses: Crowds were attracted to him; he was compassionate; he responded to the situation at hand; he did not seek thanks or recognition; he could perform miracles; he had power over life and death.) You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about Jesus from this one Gospel account.
  4. Ask the young people to gather in small groups. Say: Discuss and compile your responses; then when I call on you, have someone from your group share your insights with the class.
  5. After the sharing, summarize the young people’s conclusions about Jesus. Note that Jesus did not wait around for a thank-you or for recognition from the crowd. His action was a pure gift.
  6. Say: Sit quietly now and close your eyes. Recall what you learned about Jesus from the Gospel. Choose one characteristic of Jesus that you could emulate.
  7. After a few moments, ask the young people to repeat after you:

“A great prophet has arisen in our midst.”
“God has visited his people.”

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:11–17
Jesus demonstrates his power over death.

Family Connection
Gather at the family table or in a room that is quiet and comfortable. Read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel Reading (Luke 7:11–17). If your family enjoys dramatizing, assign parts and reenact the Gospel.

Note that Jesus responded to the widow’s loss with a miracle; he restored the gift of life to her son. In doing this, he showed respect for the widow, compassion for her loss, and concern for her continued well-being.

Respect, compassion, concern for the well-being of others—these are virtues practiced toward one another in a Christlike family. Talk together about how and when these virtures were manifest in your family during the past week. If you have difficulty thinking of examples of any one of them, make a serious effort during the coming week to practice it.
Join together in praying,

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
in our home as it is in heaven. Amen.