Seventh 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.


Seventh Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Sunday, May 28, 2017

(If your diocese celebrates the Ascension on Thursday, May 29, use the following readings for Sunday, June 1. In those dioceses where the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday, use the readings for The Ascension of the Lord. Check with your local parish.)


This Sunday’s Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14
After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the apostles return to Jerusalem and gather in prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 27:1,4,7-8
The Lord is our salvation.

Second Reading
1 Peter 4:13-16
If you suffer for Christ, you will be blessed.

Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11a
Jesus prays for his disciples.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s reading is a prayer, which appears at the conclusion of Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. At the end of the prayer, Jesus is arrested in the garden. The prayer might be read as Jesus’ final commendation of himself to the Father. In the prayer, Jesus also expresses care and concern for his disciples.

Jesus’ prayer reaffirms the complete union between Jesus and the Father. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the Word, who pre-existed with the Father and was sent to do the Father’s work on earth. In this prayer we learn that Jesus’ life and ministry have been directed toward one purpose, revealing the Father. When this work is accomplished, Jesus is to return to the Father to be glorified. Regardless of what happens to Jesus, in John’s Gospel, Jesus and the Father are in charge. Even in the description of Jesus’ death, Jesus does not simply die but instead hands over his spirit.

In today’s Gospel we also note the distinction found in John’s Gospel between the world and the disciples. The disciples are in the world, but they are separate from it because they have been given to Jesus. They are chosen from the world to be in service to the world for its salvation. This salvation has been accomplished in Jesus because Jesus has revealed the Father to the world, but the disciples will be sent by Jesus to make both the Father and Jesus known to the world. Jesus’ prayer is for the disciples’ work in the world.


Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11a
Jesus prays for his disciples.


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

Young children take comfort and reassurance in the expressions of care and concern that the adults in their lives give to them. Many would be pleased to know that people in their lives pray for them. Children may also feel loved and important by knowing that Jesus himself prays for them and all of his disciples.

Materials Needed

  • A clear plastic drinking glass
  • A sheet of newspaper
  • A bowl half filled with water

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. For a polished presentation, practice today’s demonstration before showing it to the children.

  2. Say: Did you know that Jesus prays for us just as we pray for one another? The Gospel this week tells how Jesus prayed to God for all who follow him. Let’s listen carefully to today’s Gospel.

  3. Read aloud today’s Gospel, John 17:1-11a.

  4. Ask: Do you know what happens when Jesus prays for us? Let me show you. Show the glass to the children. Let's say that this glass represents God and that this newspaper represents us, his followers. Stuff the newspaper tightly into the bottom of the glass. Jesus brings us very close to God by showing us how much love God has for us. Then Jesus protects us with his prayers so that we will never fall away from God. Turn the glass over and shake it, showing the class that the newspaper doesn’t fall out.

  5. Say: Let’s say that this bowl of water is the world. Hold the drinking glass, open end down, over the bowl and put the glass into the water without tilting the glass. Ask: Do you think the paper will get soaked by the water? Remove the glass without tilting it. If the demonstration is done without tilting the glass, an air pocket between the paper and the water will protect the paper from the water. Show the children that the paper did not get soaked and say: Jesus’ prayers are very powerful and he prays for us.

  6. Conclude by praying together that we will always stay faithful to Jesus, who protects us by his prayer. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11a
Jesus prays for his disciples.


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

As children struggle for independence, they can sometimes give the impression that they no longer need adult care and concern. The truth, however, is that attention from adults is earnestly needed and welcomed (even if secretly). In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. Just as young people are reassured by the attention given to them by the adults in their lives, children can be reassured by Jesus’ prayer for them.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: We know that it’s an important part of our Catholic tradition to pray for one another. Who are some people that you pray for? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Do you know whether anyone prays for you? Who? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  2. Say: In today’s Gospel we hear an example of how Jesus prayed. This prayer is in the Gospel according to John and is a part of what Jesus says at his Last Supper. Remember that after Jesus shared his Last Supper with his disciples, he was arrested and crucified. Let’s listen carefully to this Gospel.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read today’s Gospel, John 17:1-11a.

  4. Ask: What two things did Jesus pray for in this Gospel? (Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify him as Jesus had glorified the Father by the work he did on earth. Jesus prayed for his disciples.) What do you think Jesus wanted the Father to do for his disciples? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  5. Say: After this reading, Jesus’ prayer continues to the end of the chapter. Jesus prays for the protection of his disciples and he prays for all those who would come to believe in him because of the disciples’ teaching. That means that Jesus prayed for us as well. Our faith teaches us that Jesus continues to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father.

  6. Ask: What do you think are some things that Jesus wants for us? (Accept all reasonable answers.) How does it feel to know that Jesus prays for us and did so even before he died? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  7. Conclude in prayer together, thanking Jesus for his great love for us. Pray together today’s psalm, Psalm 27.


Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11a
Jesus prays for his disciples.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people rely on their friends for help in many circumstances and come to the aid of their friends when they need help. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus prays a prayer of intercession, showing that we can come to him when we are in need.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people if they know anyone who personally knows a famous person, such as a celebrity, star athlete, politician, actor, singer, etc.

  2. Ask if they have ever called on this connection to meet this famous person, to get an autograph, to get tickets to an event, or some other form of contact.

  3. Share an example from your own life. Explain that we often rely on other people to be our connection to something or someone that otherwise might be out of our reach.

  4. Tell the young people that in our prayers, we can rely on "connections" as well—people who can help us when we feel like our prayers are falling short. We call this intercession.

  5. Say: In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus prays a prayer of intercession on our behalf.

  6. Invite one or more volunteers to read this Sunday’s Gospel, John 17:1-11a.

  7. Ask: What two things did Jesus pray for in this Gospel? (Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify him as Jesus had glorified the Father by the work he did on earth. Jesus prayed for his disciples.) What do you think Jesus wanted the Father to do for his disciples? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  8. Say: After this reading, Jesus’ prayer continues to the end of the chapter. Jesus prays for the protection of his disciples, and he prays for all those who would come to believe in him because of the disciples’ teaching. This means that Jesus prayed for us as well. Our faith teaches us that Jesus continues to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father.

  9. Ask: What do you think are some things that Jesus wants for us? (Accept all reasonable answers.) How does it feel to know that Jesus prays for us and did so even before he died? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  10. Conclude in prayer together, inviting the young people to offer prayers of intercession for others.


Gospel Reading
John 17:1-11a
Jesus prays for his disciples.


Family Connection

In today’s Gospel we glimpse Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. If we read further in John’s Gospel, we find that Jesus prayed for his disciples’ protection from the evil one. Jesus also prayed for all those who would have faith in him because of the disciples’ teaching. That means that Jesus prayed for us as well, even before his death on the cross. Our faith tells us that Jesus continues to intercede for us at the Father’s right hand.

Gather together as a family and think about the tradition of praying for other people. Who do you pray for? What do you ask for in your prayers? In today’s Gospel we find an example of Jesus’ prayer to the Father. Read together today’s Gospel, John 17:1-11a. Think about Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. We know that Jesus continues to intercede for us at the Father’s right hand. What might Jesus’ prayer be for you and your family? Conclude by praying together in thanks for the great love that Jesus shows you. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.