17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C Sunday Connection

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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.


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, July 28, 2019


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Genesis 18:20-32
Abraham pleads with God to save the innocent people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 138:1-3,6-8
Lord, on the day I cried for help, you answered me.

Second Reading
Colossians 2:12-14
You were buried with Christ in Baptism and also raised with him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Luke gives more attention to Jesus' teachings on prayer than any other Gospel writer. He also mentions Jesus at prayer more than the others. In today's reading, from the beginning of Chapter 11 of his Gospel, Luke presents the core of Jesus' teaching on prayer. It consists of Jesus teaching a prayer to his disciples, a parable on the persistent neighbor, and assurances that God hears our prayers.

The disciples notice Jesus praying “in a certain place.” They ask him to teach them to pray just as John the Baptist had taught his disciples. Jesus teaches them a simple version of the most famous Christian prayer, the Our Father, or the Lord's Prayer. Matthew's version shows signs of being shaped by public prayer. Luke's version is probably closer to the original form that Jesus taught. Stripped of much of the language we are used to, Luke's version seems simple and direct. We pray that God's name will be recognized as holy and that his rule over all will be established. This is followed by petitions for our needs for bread, for forgiveness, and for deliverance. Luke uses the more theological language of “sins” rather than “debts,” which is used in Matthew's version.

Having taught his disciples a simple, daily prayer, Jesus goes on to reassure them that God answers prayers. First he tells a parable about a persistent neighbor who asks a friend for bread at midnight. The friend is already in bed and has no desire to disturb his family by opening the door. But because the neighbor is persistent, the sleeping man gets up and gives him all that he needs. If a neighbor is willing to help us if we are persistent enough, how could God not respond to our requests?

This teaching concludes with the reminder that if we seek, we will get a response. If a human father, with all his faults, knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will our heavenly Father give us? Instead of good gifts, however, Luke substitutes the word Holy Spirit. This foreshadows the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is central to Luke's theology and who will play an important role in the growth of the early Church after Pentecost.

The parable and the concluding teaching in this section should not lead us to think of prayer as a series of requests presented to God. Rather, as Jesus teaches in his model prayer, prayer consists in recognizing God's holiness and his rule over all things.


Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.


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

Support younger children in developing deep and consistent prayer lives.  Help them know that God lovingly calls us into relationship with him and always hears our prayers. 

Materials Needed

  • none

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: What are some ways we talk to other people? (Accept all reasonable answers including, through social media, video-messaging, texts, phone calls.) Say: God calls us to communicate with him often. How do we talk to God? (praying aloud and in silence, in song)
  2. Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that God our Father always hears our prayers. 
  3. Read aloud Luke 11:1–13.
  4. Ask: What did one of the disciples ask Jesus to teach them? (how to pray) Say: Jesus tells us to pray often. God loves us and reaches out to us. We respond by praying to him. We can tell God our hopes, fears, and needs. We can pray to him an time and anywhere, in good times and in hard times. We can thank him for loving us and sending his Son, Jesus, to save us.
  5. Conclude by praying together the Lord’s Prayer. 


Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.


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

Children at this age desire to experience prayer that is focused on emotionally confusing issues and conflicts. Help the children know that they can find guidance during the turbulent times of their lives by praying the Lord's Prayer.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the children to suggest different ways people can communicate with each other today.

  2. Make a list on the board. (in person, e-mail, instant messaging, fax, snail mail, telegram, regular phone, cell phone, walkie-talkie, and so on)

  3. Say: When we need to reach someone, it's nice to know that they are accessible. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus teaches us that God our Father is always accessible and that prayer is one of the most important ways that we can communicate with him. Jesus even gave us the words we can use to talk to God in prayer.

  4. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 11:1-13.

  5. Ask: What point is Jesus making through the parable in this Sunday's Gospel? (We should be persistent in prayer.)

  6. Explain: Prayer is not like sitting on Santa Claus's lap and asking for what we want until we finally get it. Prayer is a way of striving to recognize how God is reaching out to us with love and responding by presenting him with our needs.

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


Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are experiencing rapid change and need to embrace their religious heritage and tradition to find stability. Helping them focus on the Lord's Prayer, a prayer they learned when they were young, can help reinforce this stability.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to name some famous people they wish they could meet.

  2. Make a list on the board.

  3. Explain that when we meet someone who is famous, we are often at a loss for words.

  4. Arrange the young people in pairs. Invite them to pick one of the names from the board and make a list of what they would say or ask if they had the chance to meet this person.

  5. Allow time for the pairs to complete their work and then invite them to share their suggestions with the entire group.

  6. When they are done, say: When Jesus reveals the Father to us, we may not be sure of what to say or how to talk to him. Luckily, Jesus gave us some specific suggestions on how we can talk to God, our Father.

  7. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 11:1-13.

  8. Ask: What point is Jesus making through the parable in this Sunday's Gospel? (We should be persistent in prayer.)

  9. Explain: Prayer is not like sitting on Santa Claus's lap and asking for what we want until we get it. Prayer is a way of striving to recognize how God is reaching out to us with love and responding by presenting him with our needs.

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


Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.


Family Connection

When someone in our family is going through a hard time, we can't just sit by and watch. We try to do everything we can to let him or her know that he or she is not alone. Sometimes we even try to find a special gift for him or her—something that will help that person to understand how important he or she is to us. Talk about times in your family when this has happened.

Like a good father, God saw that his children needed help. He decided to offer his beloved children a special gift to reveal his love. What did God give us? Not a thing, but a person—the Father's beloved Son, Jesus. Jesus, in turn, taught us to approach God as we would approach a loving father. He gave us the words of a prayer that we call the Our Father, or the Lord's Prayer.

Read aloud Luke 11:1-13. Talk about how Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer. Think of times when family members were persistent about something until they were able to achieve a goal or receive what they sought. Talk about what it means to be persistent in prayer. Help your children understand that prayer is not like sitting on Santa Claus's lap, asking for what we want until we get it. Emphasize that prayer is a way of striving to recognize how God is reaching out to us in love and responding by presenting him with our needs.

Conclude this time together by joining hands and praying the Lord's Prayer.