13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Readings & Background


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
1 Kings 19:16b,19-21

Elijah anoints Elisha as his successor.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11
I set the Lord ever before me.

Second Reading
Galatians 5:1,13-18
Christ has set us free.

Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today's Gospel reading begins a long section unique to Luke's Gospel. Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem, which will end with his ministry in Jerusalem. We read that Jesus' days for being “taken up” were fulfilled. The Greek word that Luke uses for “taken up” is the same word he uses to describe the Ascension. We also read that Jesus is determined to journey to Jerusalem. For Luke, Jesus ministry begins in Galilee and then is one long journey to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem he will meet his death but also enter into his glory. Only in Luke does Jesus then spend 40 days in Jerusalem instructing his disciples. It is in Jerusalem that his disciples wait after his Ascension to be sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. And it is from Jerusalem, in Luke's second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, that the Good News is spread to Rome and the ends of the earth.

Immediately Jesus is met with rejection, as a Samaritan village will not receive him because he is going to Jerusalem. There was animosity between Samaritans who worshiped on Mount Gerazim and Jews who worshiped in Jerusalem. Jesus was also rejected as he began his ministry in Galilee in Chapter 4. And he will be rejected for the last time when he reaches Jerusalem. James and John want to call down fire from heaven to destroy the people in the village, but Jesus rebukes them and moves on. There is often the temptation to use violence to achieve right. Jesus has come to break this temptation. He is aware that he must undergo violence himself before he can enter his glory.

The rest of today's reading is about the radical demands of discipleship. The three people who volunteer to become disciples on this journey show that they do not understand the demands Jesus will make of them. Neither care of self, care for the dead, nor care of one's family (as required by the Fourth Commandment) can come before the demands of discipleship. Jesus reminds the first volunteer, who would go wherever Jesus goes, that animals in the wild have more security than do Jesus and his followers. The second, who wants to bury a parent, is reminded that the demands of proclaiming the Kingdom of God take precedence. And the third, who wants to say farewell to his family, is reminded that once you put your hand to the plow you cannot look back or the furrow will be crooked. Such a person is not ready for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus seems harsh here, but he is only asking of his disciples what he asks of himself. Jesus' unconditional commitment to God's saving work will demand of him his life. He knows this, but the disciples do not understand. Jesus does not want anyone to rush into discipleship, because the demands of discipleship require everyone considering it to be aware of the cost, make Jesus and his mission central to his life, and then go forward without looking back.

Grades 1-3


Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.


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

Younger children are developing their sense of right and wrong. Learning that Jesus teaches us to put him above all else can support children in making good moral choices.

Materials Needed

  • none

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: Who are Jesus’ followers? (Everyone who believes in Jesus and follows his teachings; we are.) Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about what it means to be his follower. 
  2. Read aloud Luke 9:51–62.
  3. Say: Jesus tells the three disciples that following him means making the choice to put him first, above all else. Following Jesus means making God the center of our lives.
  4. Say: When we have a choice to make, we choose to put Jesus first, even when it’s hard. We think about what Jesus has taught us and make a good choice. 
  5. Ask: Which action do we take to put Jesus first and be a good disciple? Give children choices such as the following, and discuss their responses.
    • sleeping in on Sunday or going to Mass
  6. • saying kind words or saying mean words
    • praying for others or thinking only of ourselves
    • playing a game by the rules or cheating in order to win
    6. Close by praying: Jesus, you teach us what matters. We will put you first and make good choices to be your loving disciples. Amen

Grades 4-6


Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.


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

Children at this age are surrounded by media that tell them that they can have it all and that the key to happiness is indeed to have it all. Today's Gospel challenges us to see that life involves making choices.

Materials Needed

  • A variety of magazines that contain advertisements

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Arrange the children in pairs and distribute a magazine to each pair.

  2. Tell them to look through the magazine to find advertisements and to make a list of at least 10 things that the ads are promoting.

  3. Invite the pairs to report on their findings as you list them on the board.

  4. Again, invite volunteers to name their selections.

  5. When they are finished, say: We live in a culture that tells us that we can have it all. The truth is, however, that when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else. If you say yes to pizza, you are saying no to tacos or cheeseburgers. Life involves making choices and making commitments to those choices, even though other options continue to look attractive.

  6. Explain to the young people that in today's Gospel, Jesus makes this point to three people who tell him they want to follow him, but that they still want to do something else as well.

  7. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 9:51-62.

  8. Ask: How did Jesus respond to the three people who wanted to follow him? (The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Let the dead bury their dead. You can't put your hand to the plow and look back.)

  9. Say: Jesus may sound harsh in his response, but he is making an important point that helps us understand what it means to be a mature disciple: to make a commitment is to embrace certain choices and to let go of others.

  10. Conclude by inviting the young people to recognize that choosing a relationship with Jesus involves some sacrifices but also gives us the best thing we could possibly ask for: life with God.

Grades 7-8


Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people are beginning to learn about the reality of commitments. Most are looking forward to or participating in preparation for their Confirmation, a deepening of their commitment to discipleship.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to imagine that they have an opportunity to order their favorite three foods from any restaurant.

  2. Ask for volunteers to share what they would order.

  3. Then tell the young people that they have to narrow their choices to just one food.

  4. Again, invite volunteers to name their selections.

  5. When they are finished, say: We live in a culture that tells us that we can have it all. The truth is, however, that when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else. If you say yes to pizza, you are saying no to tacos or cheeseburgers. Life involves making choices and making commitments to those choices, even though other options continue to look attractive.

  6. Explain to the young people that in today's Gospel, Jesus makes this point to three people who tell him they want to follow him, but that they still want to do something else as well.

  7. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 9:51-62.

  8. Ask: How did Jesus respond to the three people who wanted to follow him? (The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Let the dead bury their dead. You can't put your hand to the plow and look back.)

  9. Say: Jesus may sound harsh in his response, but he is making an important point that helps us understand what it means to be a mature disciple: to make a commitment is to embrace certain choices and to let go of others.

  10. Conclude by inviting the young people to recognize that choosing a relationship with Jesus involves some sacrifices but also gives us the best thing we could possibly ask for: life with God.

Family


Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.


Family Connection

Parents are always striving to help their children to set priorities. Children need to learn to finish homework before watching TV or going out to play. They need to know that they have to finish their chores before they can go out with their friends. They need to know that paying attention to curfews for their safety is more important than being popular.

As a family, talk about these examples of setting priorities. Share examples of how you learned to prioritize as you were maturing. Explain that in this Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus talks about the importance of making him the number-one priority in our lives.

Read aloud Luke 9:51-62. Talk about how going to Sunday Mass as a family is an important way of keeping God at the center of our lives. Talk about other ways that the family can make Jesus a priority.