Sixth Sunday of Easter, 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.


Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Sunday, May 21, 2017


This Sunday’s Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 8:5-8,14-17
The people of Samaria accept the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed to them by Philip.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 66:1-7,16,20
Sing praise to God, all the earth.

Second Reading
1 Peter 3:15-18
Be ready to give explanation for your hope in Christ.

Gospel Reading
John 14:15-21
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel: Jesus is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper. In today’s reading Jesus offers encouragement to his disciples, who will soon see him crucified. He reassures them that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead he will send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, through whom the disciples will continue to live in union with Jesus.

Jesus uses the term Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, whom the disciples will receive. Another word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, a legal term meaning “one who offers defense for another.” Note that Jesus says that he will send “another Advocate.” Jesus himself is the first advocate, interceding for his disciples with the Father.

In today’s reading Jesus contrasts his impending departure with the permanence of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will leave to return to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will remain with the disciples.

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will come to know and appreciate the unity of the Son and the Father. They will also understand that they too participate in the communion between the Father and the Son: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).

Today’s reading is one example of the contrast that John’s Gospel presents between the community of disciples, to whom God will reveal himself, and the unbelieving world, which will remain in darkness. The unbelieving world cannot accept the “Spirit of truth,” whom the disciples will receive. Only through the Spirit will God’s revelation and love be known.


Gospel Reading
John 14:15-21
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.


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

Children thrive when they know that they are connected to other people in meaningful ways. Likewise, their spirituality thrives when they come to appreciate their connection to God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom we received in Baptism, Jesus promises us that we will be united with God.

Materials Needed

  • A hook side and loop side of a Velcoin (a coin-size Velcro hook & loop fastener)
  • Two index cards

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Before you begin today, draw a gingerbread-type figure on one of the index cards.

  2. Say: In the Gospel this week Jesus says that because we love him, we will obey him. Jesus also says that he will ask his Father to send us the Holy Spirit, who will help us to stay close to Jesus and his Father. Let’s listen carefully to today’s Gospel to hear what Jesus says.

  3. Read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:15-21.

  4. Say: Perhaps we can think of Jesus’ message in this way. Let’s pretend that one of these parts of the Velcro is Jesus and the other one is the Father. [Remove the backing from one part of the Velcoin and attach that part to the drawing on the index card.] The sticky back of the Velcro is like the Holy Spirit. When we love Jesus and try to be like him, his Father sends the Holy Spirit to hold us close to Jesus. Jesus loves his Father as much as he loves us, and Jesus wants to be close to him too. So do you know what that means? [Attach the other part of the Velcoin to the blank index card. Then stick the two index cards together.] We are also attached to the Father. Through the Holy Spirit, we have Jesus and his Father close to us. That’s why Jesus said in today’s Gospel that he will not leave us orphaned. Orphans don’t have any family. We have family when we are attached to Jesus and his Father through the Holy Spirit.

  5. Conclude by praying together that we will remember the importance of Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
John 14:15-21
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.


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

Children don’t always admit that they need help, and they usually find that their problems grow when they fail to ask for help. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he will send them a helper, an advocate. In Baptism we have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit, our helper, whom we can call upon to lead us to knowledge of the Father.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: How many of you have had a friend or family member move away? What was that experience like? (Invite volunteers to share.) Say: When people move away or go away for a short time, they sometimes give farewell gifts to friends or family members who stay behind. Why might people do that? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  2. Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling his disciples that they will receive a gift after he has left them, after he has died. Let’s listen carefully to this reading.

  3. Invite a volunteer to read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:15-21.

  4. Explain that an advocate is a helper, someone who takes action for another person or offers witness or defense for another person. Ask: Who is the Advocate? (the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit) Say: Jesus promises his disciples that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead they will receive a great gift, a helper who will reveal to them the great love that exists between the Father and the Son and the disciples.

  5. Ask: How do you think the disciples felt when they heard these words? (Accept all reasonable answers.) How do you think the disciples will feel after they receive this gift of the Holy Spirit? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  6. Say: Jesus has also given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom we received in Baptism. If we call upon the Holy Spirit, he will help us understand God’s love for us and will help us follow Jesus.

  7. Conclude by praying together that we will remember the importance of Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
John 14:15-21
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Although young people at this age desire to be more independent, they rely on many people as advocates. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as our Advocate.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to explain the role of a school counselor (someone to go to for help in difficult situations).

  2. Explain that in this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a counselor or helper.

  3. Point out that the Gospel uses the word Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit. Write this word on the board and explain that an advocate is someone who defends someone or who speaks in favor or on behalf of someone in need.

  4. Invite a volunteer to read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel, John 14:15-21.

  5. Explain that an advocate is someone who takes action for another person or who offers witness or defense for another person. Ask: Who is the Advocate? (the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit) Say: Jesus promises his disciples that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead they will receive a great gift, a helper, who will reveal to them the great love that exists between the Father, the Son, and the disciples.

  6. Ask: How do you think the disciples felt when they heard these words? (Accept all reasonable answers.) How do you think the disciples will feel after they receive this gift of the Holy Spirit? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  7. Say: Jesus has also given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom we received at Baptism. If we call upon the Holy Spirit, he will help us understand God’s love for us and will help us follow Jesus.

  8. Conclude by praying together that we will remember the importance of Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
John 14:15-21
Jesus promises his disciples that he will send them another advocate, the Spirit of truth.


Family Connection

The mystery of the Trinity can be difficult for us to grasp. Today’s Gospel invites us to consider how the three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— work together so that God’s salvation is made known to us. Jesus’ mission is continued through the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his disciples. We have received this same Spirit through our Baptisms. The Spirit, living and working within us, reveals the mystery of God’s love for us. Just as the first disciples were not left orphaned, we are not orphaned; we remain in God’s embrace through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Gather your family and invite each family member to say what he or she knows about the Holy Spirit. Read aloud today’s Gospel, John 14:15-21. What does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do for the disciples? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we come to share in the love of God made known to us in Jesus. Pray together, thanking God for this gift of the Holy Spirit by praying the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.