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.


Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, November 17, 2019


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Malachi 3:19-20
The day of justice is coming, says the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:5-6,7-8,9
Sing praise to God, who rules with justice.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Paul urges the community to follow his example and to earn their keep.

Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In the context of Luke, today's Gospel appears near the end of Jesus' teaching in Jerusalem, just prior to the events that will lead to his crucifixion. His warnings and predictions are ominous but can be read in many ways.

To those who first heard Luke's Gospel, those may have been words of encouragement. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans was history (70 A.D.); Luke's Gospel, Catholic scholars propose, was written between 80 and 90 A.D. His audience was probably Gentile Christians. Luke here tries to interpret the fall of Jerusalem for them and to locate it in God's plans for humankind (salvation history). At the same time, Luke is suggesting to his audience that there will be a considerable elapse of time before Jesus' final coming. Luke's listeners have likely seen much upheaval and are anxious to know if these are the signs of Jesus' coming. Luke is urging greater patience.

In the second part of today's Gospel, Jesus warns that his followers will face persecution for their beliefs. Luke presents persecution as an opportunity for the followers of Jesus for “It will lead to your giving testimony” (Luke 21:13). In persecution God's wisdom and power will be shown in the example of followers of Jesus. Perseverance in the face of persecution will lead to their salvation.

Here Jesus is assuring his followers that God is present to all believers, even in times of trouble. Ultimately, Jesus will witness to this with his own death. As disciples of Jesus, we try to follow his example, trusting in God's mercy and protection, even when we are facing difficulties.


Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.


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

Younger children may not be aware of most world events, but they understand that life brings challenges. Help children understand that God cares for us and is with us during good times and difficult times.   

Materials Needed

  • a picture of an outdoor scene; a piece of black poster board or paper with a hole cut in the center so that when placed over the picture, only a small part of the picture can be seen

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite volunteers to share difficult days they’ve experienced. Show children the picture with the black poster board over it and ask them what they see. Say: Sometimes when we have difficult days, feelings like sadness and fear can narrow our focus so that all we see or feel is the hard things. It might be hard to trust that God is with us, caring for us, on these hard days. Remove the black poster board to reveal the entire picture. Say: Jesus reminds us of the bigger picture—that God is always watching over us, in good times and in hard times. We can trust that God cares for us always.
  2. Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes some terrible events and God’s care for his people.  
  3. Read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 21:5–19.
  4. Say: Jesus tells us that God is with us, no matter what happens. 
  5. Invite children to think of someone they know who is having a hard time. Say: Let’s pray for these people and for all those who are struggling.
  6. Conclude by praying that all those who are suffer, including your loved ones, will be comforted by God’s care and presence. 


Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.


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

Children, while innocently naïve about most world events, are also profoundly sensitive to the concerns of adults. We can help children interpret adult concerns by sharing information about current events in appropriate ways. We can also put these concerns in the light of God's kingdom and the assurance of God's care for us.

Materials Needed

  • Newspaper clippings that offer examples of current events in which people face difficulties and events like the signs Jesus talks about in today's Gospel (natural disasters, international conflict)

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Prepare a number of examples of current events that might be interpreted as the kind of sign Jesus talks about in today's Gospel—the story of a natural disaster, or a situation of international conflict.

  2. Ask the group what they know about these current events. Summarize together the most important details about the current event. Ask the group to consider what attitudes the people who are suffering in these situations might have toward God.

  3. Invite two volunteers to read today's Gospel; the first reader should read Luke 21:5-11, the second reader should read Luke 21:12-19.

  4. Tell the group: When Luke wrote this Gospel, many terrible things had happened, and people were wondering if perhaps these terrible things meant that the end of time was near. Here Luke reminds us that Jesus told his followers that many bad things would happen, but that they were to trust that God would be with them, even through these difficulties.

  5. Ask the group: Do you think it is easy to trust God when difficult things like the ones we discussed happen? (Accept all reasonable answers). Say: One of the challenges of being a disciple of Jesus is learning to trust his assurance that he would be with us, even in the most difficult of times.

  6. Talk with the group about how God can bring good even from bad or difficult situations. Using your current events, identify some good things that might come out of these bad situations.

  7. Conclude by praying together as a group that God will bring good results from the bad or difficult current events that you discussed, or pray today's responsorial psalm.


Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are already experiencing many of life's difficulties and challenges. It is important for them to understand that God is with them at these moments. This Sunday's reading reminds us that as followers of Jesus, we face many difficulties.

Materials Needed

  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Scissors
  • A small basket marked with a sign that says “Life Is Not Always Easy.”

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Arrange the young people into groups of three or four and distribute copies of newspapers and magazines to each group.

  2. Have the groups go through the material and cut out pictures and stories of people who are suffering and/or facing difficult challenges.

  3. Have each group come forward to show what they have found.

  4. After they describe their examples, have them put the picture or story in the basket.

  5. Keep the basket as a focal point for this gathering as you listen to the Gospel reading.

  6. Say: In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus reminds us that as his followers, we will face many difficulties.

  7. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 21:5-19.

  8. Say: One of the challenges of being a disciple of Jesus is learning to trust his assurance that he will be with us, even in the most difficult of times.

  9. Talk with the young people about how God can bring good out of bad or difficult situations. Using current events, identify some good things that might come out of bad situations.

  10. Conclude by praying together as a group that God will bring good results from the difficult events that they discussed, or pray today's responsorial psalm.


Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.


Family Connection

Children, while innocently naïve about most world events, are also profoundly sensitive to the concerns felt by adults. We can help children interpret adult concerns by sharing information about current events in appropriate ways. We can also put these concerns in the light of God's kingdom and the assurance of God's care for us.

Discuss with your children one or more current events or a situation in your family which shows difficulties that may challenge our trust in a God who cares for us. Then read together today's Gospel, Luke 21:5-19. Notice how Jesus said that even when his disciples are persecuted, God would be with them.

Together with your children, talk about ways in which God might bring good out of the difficult events you discussed. Talk together about some actions you might take as a family to make better the situations you discussed. Conclude by praying for the needs of the people involved in the events you named. In prayer, place each of these difficult situations into God's hands.