Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, 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.


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, January 27, 2019


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Nehemiah 8:2-4a,5-6,8-10
Ezra reads from the book of the Law and interprets it for all to understand.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 19:8,9,10,15
A song in praise of the Law of the Lord

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (or shorter form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27)
Paul explains that all were baptized into the one body of Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today's Gospel reading combines two separate passages taken from the Gospel of Luke. First we hear the opening verses where Luke establishes the purpose of his Gospel. His style is typical of polished Greek and Roman literature. In this passage, we learn that Luke may have written to a specific person, Theophilus; but the word Theophilus may also be a general reference, functioning as the phrase “Dear Reader” might in contemporary writing. In Greek, the word Theophilus translates as “lover of God.”

Today's Gospel reading then skips several chapters in which one would find the Infancy Narratives, Jesus' baptism by John, the temptations Jesus faced in the desert, and the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. In chapter four of Luke's Gospel, we hear that Jesus is in his hometown of Nazareth, attending the synagogue on the Sabbath, which is said to be his custom. In this account, we find another important clue that Jesus lived as a faithful, observant Jew. We will continue to read from Luke's Gospel in sequence for the next two Sundays.

As Jesus stands in the synagogue, he reads from the scroll handed to him; it contains the words of the prophet Isaiah. At this early moment in his ministry, Jesus announces his mission in continuity with Israel's prophetic tradition. This reading from Isaiah defines Jesus' ministry. We will find more evidence of this as we continue to read from Luke's Gospel throughout the year. Jesus' ministry will include bringing glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed, and proclaiming a year acceptable to the Lord.

Through this text from Isaiah, Jesus announces God's salvation. The “year acceptable to the Lord” is a reference to the Jewish tradition of Sabbath years and jubilee. The Sabbath year was observed every seventh year. It was a year of rest when land was left fallow and food stores were to be shared equally with all. A year of Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year, the conclusion of seven cycles of Sabbath years. It was a year of renewal in which debts were forgiven and slaves were freed.

This tradition of Jubilee is the framework for God's promise of salvation. And yet in Jesus, something new begins. Jesus not only announces God's salvation, he brings this salvation about in his person. Jesus is Yahweh's Anointed One, filled with the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God is now at hand. It is made present in Jesus, in his life, death, and Resurrection. Jesus will send the Holy Spirit so that the Kingdom of God can be fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus' gift to the Church. The Holy Spirit enables the Church to continue the mission of Jesus. When we do what Jesus did—bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, and freedom to the oppressed—we serve the Kingdom of God.


Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.


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

At the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus announced his mission and proclaimed that God’s promise of salvation was now fulfilled. Help younger children see that they are part of a community of God’s People who continue Jesus’ mission in the world today.

Materials Needed

  • none
Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings
  1. Invite children to pray the Sign of the Cross with you. Say: When we pray the Sign of the Cross, we remember the One God in Three Persons. Invite children to name the three persons. (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) Say: God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to save us. Jesus showed us how to love others and serve God’s kingdom. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the people about his mission, the work that he will do to bring forth God’s kingdom.
  2. Read today’s Gospel, Luke 1:1–4; 4:14–21.
  3. Say: Jesus responded to the needs of the world. He shared his message of the Father’s love and forgiveness with everyone, especially those who were in need. He sends us the Holy Spirit to help us continue his mission. Every kind thing we do is a way to serve God’s kingdom. Let’s all look for a way to be kind and helpful today.
  4. Pray: “Jesus, thank you for showing us how to love others. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will continue your mission.” Close by praying the Sign of the Cross.


Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.


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

When Jesus announced his mission at the synagogue at Nazareth, he drew from Israel's prophetic tradition to announce that God's promised salvation was now fulfilled. Older children can be led to see that the needs of our world today are included in the framework of the good news of the Kingdom that Jesus announced.

Materials Needed

  • Newspapers and magazines (optional)

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: We hear stories every day of people in need in our country and around the world. What are some areas of need that you know about? (Accept all reasonable answers; you might distribute newspapers and magazines to help the children identify current areas of need.) Write some of these on the board.

  2. Say: In today's Gospel, Jesus announces his mission, the work he would do to show forth the Kingdom of God. Let's listen carefully to what Jesus tells us.

  3. Read today's Gospel, Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.

  4. Ask: Are any of the needs we see in the world today like the needs that Jesus named? Which ones? (Place these needs within the framework that Jesus spoke of: bringing glad tidings to the poor; bringing liberty to captives; giving sight to the blind; bringing freedom to the oppressed.)

  5. Ask: Why was Jesus able to respond to the needs he saw in his day? (He is God's Anointed One, the Son of God.) What has Jesus given to us to help us respond to the needs in our world today? (the gift of the Holy Spirit)

  6. Ask: In what ways might we respond to the needs we see in the world today? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  7. Say: We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us serve others in Jesus' name. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

When Jesus announced his mission at the synagogue at Nazareth, he drew from Israel's prophetic tradition to announce that God was now beginning something new. The vision of the Kingdom of God can inspire young people to serve others in Jesus' name, relying on the help of the Holy Spirit.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the students to describe what they imagine God wants for the world. Write the highlights from their descriptions on the board.

  2. Say: God intends these kinds of things for us and even more. Long ago, God promised through the prophets that he would establish such a society among us. This promise was kept alive through the ages. Jesus knew this promise. In today's Gospel, Jesus recalls this promise and tells us something new. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  3. Read today's Gospel, Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.

  4. Ask: How does Jesus describe the vision of the world that God promised? (a world in which the poor hear glad tidings; a world in which captives are set free; a world in which those who are blind can see; a world in which those who are oppressed are freed)

  5. Say: At this point, Jesus is reading the text of the prophet Isaiah. After he sits down, Jesus says something new.

  6. Ask: What does Jesus say? (that this reading, the promise of this vision of the world, is fulfilled now) What do you think Jesus means by this? (Jesus, himself, is the one who will do these things in the world.) What examples from Jesus' ministry can you name that show that he did these things? (Jesus healed the sick, he forgave sinners, and so on.) Jesus established the Kingdom of God through his life, death, and Resurrection.

  7. Say: The work of Jesus continues in our world today. This reading gives us a clue about how this happens. The reading from the prophet Isaiah promised these things would be accomplished through the Spirit of the Lord. Jesus has given his Spirit to us.

  8. Ask: When did we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? (at our Baptism; this gift is strengthened at Confirmation.) What does the Holy Spirit help us do? (serve the Kingdom of God)

  9. Invite the students to identify one action that they might take to serve the Kingdom of God. Tell them that through prayer we ask the Holy Spirit to help us share in the mission that Jesus gave to the Church. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


Gospel Reading
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and announces that this Scripture is now fulfilled.


Family Connection

Jesus was the one sent by God to bring salvation to the world. Jesus announced that mission using the framework we hear in today's Gospel from the prophet Isaiah: glad tidings will be brought to the poor, liberty to captives, recovery of sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. Jesus inaugurates the Kingdom of God in his person—through his life, death, and Resurrection. We are charged with the task of continuing the mission that Jesus began. Jesus set the framework for all of us when he announced his ministry in today's Gospel. Jesus also gave us the helper we would need to enable us to participate in his mission. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so that we, the Church, might serve the Kingdom of God.

Gather with your family and suggest that they try to picture the vision that Jesus describes using the words of the prophet Isaiah as you read today's Gospel, Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.Think about your neighborhood, your community. What are the situations and who are the people who most need to see this vision fulfilled? What steps would be necessary to make the vision a reality for them? Make a family commitment to pray for the Kingdom of God and to take a particular action that will address a need you see in your community. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you by praying the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.