Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A 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.


Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Sunday, May 14, 2017


This Sunday’s Reading


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7
The early Christian community chooses seven people to serve at table so that the Twelve can devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:1-2,4-5,18-19
The Lord is merciful toward those who trust in him.

Second Reading
1 Peter 2:4-9
Those who have faith are chosen in Christ to be a holy priesthood.

Gospel Reading
John 14:1–12
Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

The readings for the last few Sundays have been about the Resurrection, but today’s Gospel takes us back in time to an event in Jesus’ life before his Passion. Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house. He promises that where he is going, his disciples will be able to follow. Thomas, who will later doubt the disciples’ reports that they have seen the Risen Lord, contradicts Jesus by saying that the disciples don’t know where Jesus is going or how to get there. Jesus explains that he himself is the way, the truth, and the life. In knowing and loving Jesus, the disciples now love God the Father.

Philip then makes a request that challenges Jesus’ words. Philip wants Jesus to show the Father to the disciples. Recall that Jesus has just told his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” As a good teacher, Jesus responds to Philip by repeating and elaborating on what he has just told the disciples: they have seen and known Jesus, so they have seen and known the Father. Then Jesus offers another reassurance about his departure: because of faith in God and in Jesus, the disciples will do the work that Jesus has done and more.

The connection between Jesus and his Father, between Jesus’ work and the work of the Father, is made clear in today’s Gospel. Jesus is in the Father, and God the Father is in Jesus. As God spoke his name to Moses, “I am,” so too Jesus speaks his name to his disciples: “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

The revelation of the Trinity is completed in the passage that follows today’s reading, and it is the Gospel for next Sunday. Because Jesus goes away, the Father will send in Jesus’ name the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will continue the work of the Father and of Jesus.


Gospel Reading
John 14:1–12
Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”


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

Young children can be introduced to the mystery of the Trinity using metaphors drawn from their life experience. Jesus explained to his disciples that he is one with the Father and the only way to the Father. He also promised that those who believe in him will do great things just like Jesus did.

Materials Needed

  • A quarter

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Show a quarter to the children. Say: Have you ever looked closely at a quarter? On one side there is a person, George Washington. On the other side is a different image. So there are two sides to the same coin.

  2. Say: In a way, this quarter reminds me of Jesus. He has two sides also. He’s man and he’s God—all at the same time. Can we split this quarter and remove one side from the other? (No) Well, we can’t remove Jesus from God or God from Jesus either. They are one.

  3. Ask: What can we get for a quarter? Brainstorm some answers with the children.

  4. Say: When we believe in Jesus, we receive all the benefits that he gives. The Gospel this week is about some of the benefits of faith in Jesus. Let’s listen carefully to today’s Gospel to understand what those benefits are. Read aloud John 14:1-12.

  5. Ask: What does Jesus say that he is going to do for us? (Jesus says that he is preparing a place for us in his Father’s house in heaven.) What does Jesus say about people who believe in him? (Jesus says that those who believe in him will be given the ability to do great things just as he does.) Say: Jesus does a lot for us, and he keeps on giving and giving!

  6. Conclude by praying together that we will choose life with God and always remember that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 14:1–12
Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”


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

The more time we spend with someone, the more like that person we become. This truism can be observed in relationships among family members and friends, and it can help us to lead young people into a deeper understanding of the mystery of the union between Jesus and his Father. Jesus says that those who have seen and known him have also seen and known the Father. He promises that those who share this faith will be able to do the work that he did and more.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the group: Do you ever say things that sound just like something your parents might say? Let’s share some examples. Encourage volunteers to respond. Ask: How does this similarity make your feel? Encourage volunteers to respond.

  2. Say: Resemblances are common in families. Sometimes we look like other people in our family. Sometimes we act like them or have the same interests. Keep those ideas in mind as we listen to today’s Gospel.

  3. Invite a volunteer to read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:1-12.

  4. Say: In this reading Jesus talks to his disciples about the relationship between him and the Father. What does Jesus say about that relationship? (Those who have seen me have seen the Father.) How do the disciples respond to Jesus’ explanation? (Philip seems to doubt the explanation. Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father.)

  5. Say: What Jesus tells us might seem incredible, but it’s true: whoever knows Jesus knows God. Jesus promises the disciples that, even though he’s leaving them for a time, they will be able to do great things. What are two things that today’s Gospel tells us Jesus will do for us? (He will prepare a place for us with the Father. Jesus’ disciples will be able to do the work that Jesus did and more.)

  6. Say: Jesus tells us that he is “the way and the truth and the life.” Through him, we will find eternal life.

  7. Conclude in prayer together that we will always believe that Jesus and the Father are one and that we will remain in union with them to do great things. Pray together the Act of Faith or the Lord’s Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 14:1–12
Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

 

Young people at this age try to emulate their parents, in some cases, while in other cases, they distance themselves as part of adolescent rebellion. Either way, they are keenly aware of the importance of family resemblances. This reality can help them understand how they can come to know God the Father by coming to know Jesus, his Son.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to share the personality traits that they have picked up from their parents or which parent they most resemble physically.

  2. Then explain how we can learn something about a person’s parents by getting to know that person.

  3. Say: In the same way, we can learn about God our Father by getting to know his Son, Jesus. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we can come to know his Father by coming to know him.

  4. Invite a volunteer to read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel, John 14:1-12.

  5. Say: In this reading, Jesus talks to his disciples about the relationship between himself and the Father. What does Jesus say about this? (Those who have seen me have seen the Father.) How do the disciples respond to this? (Philip seems to doubt this; he asks that Jesus show them the Father.)

  6. Say: It seems really incredible, but Jesus tells us that it is true: God has appeared to us in the person of Jesus. Jesus promises his disciples that while he may appear to leave them for a time, his departure is for their benefit. What two things does today’s Gospel say that Jesus will do for us? (He will prepare a place for us with the Father; Jesus’ disciples will be able to do the work that Jesus did, and more.)

  7. Say: Jesus tells us that he is ". . . the way and the truth and the life." Through him, we will find eternal life.

  8. Conclude by praying together that we will always believe that Jesus and the Father are one and will remain in union with them to do great things.


Gospel Reading
John 14:1–12
Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”


Family Connection

Members of the same family often bear close resemblances to one another. Sometimes physical resemblances are shared within a family, but often the similarities are behavioral characteristics and mannerisms. We hear this observation affirmed through a number of common phrases: “He’s a chip off the old block” or “She’s her mother’s daughter.” Today’s Gospel points to a mystery of faith that might be examined in light of these familial relationships. In Jesus we see and know the Father. Likewise, the Father is known through the life and work of the Son, Jesus.

Talk together as a family about whether people outside of your family recognize common traits of your family. Are there physical resemblances that people recognize and so know each individual as a member of your family? Are there mannerisms that are shared by members of your family? What are some common interests and work that people might associate with your family? As you read today’s Gospel, John 14:1-12, keep in mind that members of the same family share many characteristics, even though each person in the family is an individual. What does Jesus tell his disciples about his relationship with the Father? The relationship between the Father and Jesus is so close that Jesus says that those who have seen and known Jesus have also seen and known the Father. Jesus promises his disciples that because of their faith in him and in the Father, they too will be able to do the work of the Father as Jesus did. End your discussion by praying together that others will recognize in your family the work of the Father. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.