15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Readings & Background


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Moses reminds the people that God's commandments are not remote but are already in their hearts.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 69:14,17,30-31,36-37
Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Second Reading
Colossians 1:15-20
Jesus is the head of the body, the Church.

Gospel Reading
Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan

Background on the Gospel Reading

As Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem, he is confronted by a scholar of the law who wants to test him. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. Here, in Luke's Gospel, the lawyer asks what we must do to inherit eternal life. In the other two Gospels, Jesus answers the question by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, on loving God with all your heart, and Leviticus 19:18, on loving your neighbor. Here Jesus asks the expert to answer this question, “What is written in the law?” The man is caught and responds with Deuteronomy 6:5. This verse is one of the most important prayers in Judaism, and it was said twice a day in Jesus' time. Love of God and love of neighbor are what is required for eternal life. Jesus' response is simple, “Do this and you will live.”

Having been shown up by Jesus, the lawyer tries another question: Who is my neighbor whom I must love like myself? In the society of Jesus' time, with its distinctions between Jews and Gentiles, men and women, clean and unclean, this was a trick question. Jesus responds with one of the most beautiful of all the parables, the Good Samaritan. It is found only in Luke's Gospel.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho descends 3,300 feet in just 17 miles. Its narrow passes and rocky terrain made it an easy place for bandits to wait for travelers. The traveler in this parable is identified only as “a certain man.” Luke uses this phrase in many of his parables so that the audience, Jew or Gentile, could identify with the man. After the attack, the man is left for dead, naked and bleeding on the side of the road. A priest comes along, but rather than helping, as one might expect, he moves to the other side of the road. Another religious person comes along, a Levite who assists in the Temple. His reaction is the same as the priest's. Both of them choose to not even find out if the man is alive. A third person comes along. The listeners would probably expect him to be an Israelite. This would make the parable a criticism of the religious leadership. Instead he is a Samaritan, an Israelite's most hated neighbor. Samaritans were descendents of Jews from the northern part of the country, who had intermarried with Gentiles and did not worship in Jerusalem. The Samaritan not only goes over to the injured man but cleans his wounds, puts him on his own animal, takes him to an inn to recover, and promises to pay all his expenses. The hated enemy is the compassionate neighbor in this parable.

Jesus has demolished all boundary expectations. It is not social definitions such as class, religion, gender, or ethnicity that determines who is our neighbor. A neighbor is a person who acts with compassion toward another. The point becomes not who deserves to be loved as I love myself, but that I become a person who treats everyone with compassion.

When Jesus asks the lawyer who was the neighbor in the story, the lawyer can't bring himself to say it was the Samaritan. All he says is that it was “the one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus' response was similar to that of the first discussion: “Go and do likewise.” The lawyer, and we, know what is right. The key is to do it.

Grades 1-3


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan


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

Encourage younger children to make a habit of including everyone, especially those who tend to be excluded. Teach them that no one is excluded from God’s love and that we are called to treat all people with care and respect.

Materials Needed

  • none

 Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: Imagine that you’re outside playing a game during recess. You see a child who is sitting all alone. The child has been left out. Ask: What might you do or say? (Accept all reasonable responses, including “Invite the child to play” or “Go and sit with the child.”) 
  2. Say: Jesus teaches us to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our neighbors aren’t just the people who live next door or our families and best friends. In today’s Gospel, a man asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answers by telling him a parable, a teaching story. Listen carefully.
  3. Read aloud Luke 10:25–37.
  4. Say: Three men passed the man who was injured. Ask: Which man stopped to help? (the third man, the Samaritan) Say: The Samaritan was a neighbor to the man because he loved and cared for him. 
  5. Say: Jesus tells this parable to teach us that everyone is our neighbor. He calls us to care for all people. When you are playing with your friends, remember Jesus’ parable and make sure everyone is included. God loves every one of us. 
  6. Pray: Jesus, for teaching us that we are to love God above all else and love our neighbor as ourselves, we thank you. Amen 

Grades 4-6


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan


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

Children at this age can often be legalistic and are concerned with fairness and justice. They no doubt see the Good Samaritan as someone worthy of emulating because he does what is fair and just.

Materials Needed

  • A coin

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show the children a coin and ask what we call each side of a coin.

  2. Arrange the children in pairs and have them try to recall whose faces are on the following coins: penny (Abraham Lincoln), nickel (Thomas Jefferson), dime (Franklin Roosevelt), quarter (George Washington).

  3. Invite volunteers to report their answers. Review the correct answers with the entire group.

  4. Say: We sometimes toss a coin to help us make a decision, choosing heads for one option and tails for the other. That's the nice thing about coins; they have two sides. There's no such thing as a one-sided coin. Heads and tails cannot be separated. We sometimes use this image to help us understand situations. We say that there are two sides to every story or that one person's version is “the other side of the coin.”

  5. Explain: In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus is teaching us that when it comes to following the commandments, there are two sides of a coin that cannot be separated. Listen to the story and see if you can figure out what these two sides are.

  6. Have volunteers read aloud this Sunday's Gospel, Luke 10:25-37

  7. Invite volunteers to reenact the Gospel story as it is read a second time.

  8. Ask: When it comes to following the commandments, what are the two sides of the coin that cannot be separated? (love of God and love of neighbor)

  9. Say: Jesus teaches us that if we say we love God, we must also love our neighbor. According to Jesus, who are our neighbors? (all people)

  10. Tell the children that the Lord's Prayer teaches us that when it comes to forgiveness, there are two sides of a coin. Invite the children to see if they can identify the words in the Lord's Prayer that teach us about the two sides of the coin of forgiveness. (Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.) Say: Jesus teaches us that we can experience God's forgiving love only if we are sharing that forgiving love with our neighbors.

  11. Conclude by praying together the Lord's Prayer.

Grades 7-8


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age experience a lot of peer pressure and are self-conscious about fitting in. This sensitivity to issues of inclusion and exclusion are perfect for exploring the message of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Materials Needed

  • Chalkboard/chalk or poster board/marker

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Arrange the young people in groups of three or four and have them brainstorm a list of who's hot and who's not in the areas of show business, sports, and politics.

  2. When they are finished, have the groups report their lists as you write down their responses.

  3. Invite the young people to offer explanations for why certain people are popular and others are not.

  4. Tell the young people that in Jesus' time, one group of people was not popular with the Jewish people. Ask: What was the name of that group? (the Samaritans)

  5. Explain that the Samaritans were descendents of Jews from the northern part of the country who had intermarried with Gentiles (non-Jews) and did not worship in Jerusalem.

  6. Say: In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to think about how we categorize people, considering some as worthy of our time and attention and others as unworthy.

  7. Have volunteers read aloud this Sunday's Gospel, Luke 10:25-37

  8. Invite volunteers to reenact the Gospel story as it is read a second time.

  9. Ask: Of the three characters in the story who see the man in need, which would have been in the who's hot? list and which would have been in the who's not? list for the Jewish people at that time? (who's hot? - priest and Levite; who's not? - the Samaritan)

  10. Explain: Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to challenge us to think about how we label people. He wants us to know that we are called to think of all people as our neighbors whom we are called to love.

  11. Invite the young people to reflect in silence about the people they might be excluding.

  12. Conclude by praying together the Act of Contrition, asking for forgiveness for excluding others.

Family


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan


Family Connection

Families rely on selfless love. Parents show love for their children not just when it's convenient, but whenever their children's needs must be met. Imagine if the members of a family were concerned only with their own needs. How quickly things would fall apart!

In the story of the Good Samaritan, we learn about someone who went out of his way to care for the needs of another. He recognized the victim as his brother and accepted responsibility for him. As a family, talk about the responsibilities of each member of the family. Share how you, as parents, care for the needs of everyone in the family even when it's inconvenient. Ask your children to share times when they did chores and helped the family even when it was not convenient.

Read aloud this Sunday's Gospel, Luke 10:25-37. Talk about how the Samaritan went out of his way to care for the needs of the victim. Make a commitment as a family to follow the example of the Good Samaritan. Explain that the more you learn to accept responsibility for each other's needs at home, the more you'll be able to accept responsibility for the needs of others in the world.