Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, C Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Readings & Background

This Sunday's Readings

First Reading
Sirach 27:4–7
In his conversation is the test of the man.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 92: 2–3,13–16
The just shall flourish like a palm tree.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 15: 54–58
Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 6:39–45
Each tree is known by its yield.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The third and final section of Luke’s Sermon on the Plain begins: And he told them a parable. There are actually four parables, three of which we read today. They are all about how to be a good disciple.

The blind cannot lead the blind. And a disciple cannot be a good disciple unless he or she has learned from the teacher. Everyone who is fully trained is like the teacher who knows how to cure the blind. Before you can be a good disciple and teach others you must take care of yourself. Do not try to take a speck out of your brother’s eye until you have taken the board out of your own. Finally, only when you have purified yourself can you produce the good works that the teacher requires. Discipleship asks us to produce good deeds. But to produce them requires the integrity and purity of heart found in the teacher. When people see your good deeds they will know that this is because you have a good heart. 

The final parable, which we do not read today, is about building on the solid foundation of rock and not on sand. This is the only way to face the difficulties a disciple will encounter and survive.

Grades 1-3

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

Gospel Reading
Luke 6:39–45

Each tree is known by its yield.

Help younger children understand that Christian love is love in action. Jesus teaches us we are his disciples when we do good deeds.

Materials Needed

  • shiny, healthy apple

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: Is this apple a good or rotten piece of fruit? How do you know? (It’s good. It’s shiny and doesn’t have bruises.) Do you think this apple comes from a good, strong tree or from a rotten tree? (a good, strong tree)
  2. Say: In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells three parables to teach us about being his disciples, or followers. One parable is called A Tree Known by Its Fruit. We are Jesus’ disciples. Let’s listen carefully to what he has to tell us.
  3. Read today’s Gospel, Luke 6:39–45.
  4. Say: Jesus says, “Every tree is known by its own fruit.” We know the apple tree was good and strong because the apple is shiny. In the same way, people are known by their deeds. When we do good deeds, we show others that we have the good, loving heart of a disciple. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we show our love for God in what we say and do. Ask: What will you do and say today to show others that you have the heart of a disciple? (Accept all reasonable answers. Encourage children to be specific.)Pray together the Lord’s Prayer. 

Grades 4-6

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

Gospel Reading
Luke 6:39–45
Each tree is known by its yield.

Modeling good behavior is one appropriate way for children to participate in the mission of leading others to Jesus. Support children in understanding that Jesus teaches us to focus on our own behavior rather than focusing our attention on judging others.

Materials Needed

  • Copies of the Peace Prayer

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Have children point their finger. Point your finger straight ahead and then turn your hand to the right to reveal the three fingers against your palm. Invite children to do the same. Say: There is a saying that when we point our finger at others, we have three fingers pointing back at ourselves. We don’t notice the three fingers because they’re hidden. The saying warns us about making judgments about others. Ask: What do you think it means? (When we judge others, we are not noticing the behaviors we need to work on ourselves.)
  2. Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to be a good disciple. Listen carefully to this Gospel.
  3. Invite volunteers to read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 6:27–38.
  4. Ask: What does Jesus say we should do before we remove the splinter in our brother’s eye? (Remove the wooden beam from our eye.) Say: A wooden beam is much bigger than a splinter. Just like the saying about pointing our finger, Jesus is calling attention to the fact that if we focus our attention on other’s faults, we do not notice our own. He calls us to examine our conscience and act as he would have us act rather than focusing on what others are doing.
  5. Say: We are good disciples when we model Christian love and make good, moral choices. When we see someone do something that we think is wrong, we do not have to participate. We can be a positive influence by showing a different way to act. Ask: Can you think of some examples? (Accept all reasonable answers, such as “If we see someone excluding another child, we can include the child and be kind to him or her.)
  6. Distribute the Peace Prayer. Pray the prayer aloud together.

Grades 7-8

Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Gospel Reading
Luke 6:39–45
Each tree is known by its yield.

Adolescents understand that we answer our call to discipleship by helping others and leading them to a life with Christ. Jesus teaches us that mature discipleship involves learning, self-reflection, and acting with integrity.

Materials Needed

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: If you wanted help learning something new, what qualities would you look for in a teacher? (Accept all reasonable responses, such as well-qualified, learned, patient.)
  2. Say: Our mission as Jesus disciples is to help others and lead them to Jesus. In order to do this, Jesus says that we must prepare, just as a teacher must prepare by learning a subject before he or she can teach it well. In the three parables in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to be a good disciple. He talks about what is required for us to be able to help others and teach them about God. Let’s listen carefully to this Gospel.
  3. Invite volunteers to read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 6:27-38.
  4. Ask: When does Jesus say a disciple will be like his teacher? (when the disciple is fully trained; when the disciple has learned from the teacher, Jesus) What is Jesus telling us in this parable? (We cannot teach others about Jesus unless we are first willing to learn what he must teach us.)
  5. Ask: What does the parable about the splinter in your brother’s eye teach us? (to pay attention to our own poor choices rather than focus all our attention on someone else’s; that we cannot help others when we are blind to our own faults)
  6. Say: Jesus teaches us that as his disciples, we do good deeds and help others. In order to do good deeds and be of service to others, we must have integrity and a good heart. We are the “blind leading the blind” if we try to help or influence others when we don’t understand Jesus’ teachings or when we aren’t willing to examine our conscience and change our own behavior. For example, if you notice your group of friends gossips a lot, you should first reflect on your participation in this negative behavior. Judging them or allowing it to continue will not bring about change. We can influence our friends in a positive way by first focusing on our own behavior and setting a good example by making good choices. Invite students to share other examples.
  7. Distribute copies of the Prayer for Generosity and pray the prayer aloud together.


Family Connection

Jesus’ parables in this week’s Gospel are a reminder of the importance of continued learning, prayer and reflection, and humility in our discipleship. We shine God’s light in the world when we are “lit from within” with God’s grace, willing to examine our own conscience and recognize our own need for transformation through Jesus. As busy parents responsible for our children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual growth, we may sometimes be challenged to find time and energy to care for ourselves and attend to our own spiritual growth. Yet doing so can improve our family relationships and help us guide our children in their faith. We can be reminded of the simple safety instruction we hear when flying: to put on our own “spiritual” oxygen mask before helping others. 

Gather as a family and spend some time discussing ideas about what it means to be a good disciple. What do we need to learn? How are we to act? How do we treat others? Read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 6:39–45. Discuss what Jesus means when he asks, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” Talk about how we might be tempted to focus on one another’s shortcomings without noticing our own and how this might lead to conflict. Point out that part of being a good disciple is focusing on our own behavior. As a family, share ideas for responding as a disciple when you are upset with another family member’s words or actions. (For example, taking a cooling off break before talking to the person or praying for help to see if our actions contributed to the conflict and we need to apologize.) Pray that you will grow together in your discipleship and then pray the Lord’s Prayer.