Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle B Sunday Connection

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 of Easter, Cycle B

Sunday, April 15, 2018


This Sunday’s Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15,17-19
Peter preaches that Jesus has been raised from the dead and calls upon the people to repent.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 4:2,4,7-8,9
A prayer seeking God’s favor

Second Reading
1 John 2:1-5a
Those who know God keep his commandments.

Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48
Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.

Background on the Gospel Reading

On the third Sunday of Easter, we continue to hear Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples following his Resurrection. Today’s reading, taken from the Gospel of Luke, follows immediately after the report of Jesus' appearance to his disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is the event being recounted by the disciples in the opening verse of today’s Gospel.

Consistently in the reports of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances, Jesus greets his disciples with the words, “Peace be with you.” This is a most appropriate greeting. The disciples have witnessed the death of someone they loved, and they now fear for their own lives as well. Peace is what they need more than anything else. Jesus often connects this greeting of peace with another gift—forgiveness. In today’s Gospel, this connection is made in the final verses.

Even as they hear Jesus’ greeting of peace, the disciples are startled and terrified. They are uncertain about what to make of the figure before them and, quite understandably, they mistake Jesus for a ghost. Yet the figure before them is not a ghost; Jesus invites them to experience his resurrected body with their senses, to look and to touch. The figure before them is flesh and bone, still bearing the marks of crucifixion. Although the disciples cannot forget his suffering and death, peace begins to take root in their hearts, as their fears turn to joy and amazement.

As further proof of his identity and of his resurrected body, Jesus eats with his disciples. The disciples have known Jesus best through the meals that he has shared with them. Descriptions of these meals are a defining element of Luke’s Gospel. By eating with his disciples after his Resurrection, Jesus recalls all these meals, and most importantly, he recalls the Last Supper.

Luke’s report of the Last Supper and the meals that Jesus shared after his Resurrection unveil for us the significance of the Eucharist. Having shared a meal with his disciples, Jesus now uncovers for them the significance of what was written about him in the Scriptures. So, too, our celebration of the Mass is an encounter with Jesus, through the Word and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As Jesus commissions his disciples to be witnesses to what Scriptures foretold, our celebration of the Eucharist commissions us. Like the disciples, we are sent to announce the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness of sins.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48
Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.


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

Young children understand that fear can blind them to many things. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he turned their fear and confusion into faith and sent them to share with others the good news of God's forgiveness.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the children to close their eyes and to remember a time when they were confused and afraid. Suggest that they remember a time when they awoke in the middle of the night or a time when the electricity went out and they were left in the dark until they could find a flashlight. Observe that it may be difficult for them to keep their eyes closed now because they prefer to see what is around them. After a few moments, tell the children to open their eyes again.

  2. Tell the children that after Jesus’ Crucifixion, his friends were confused and frightened. Say: Jesus’ friends were unable to see why Jesus had died. But when Jesus came back to life, he appeared to them and helped them to understand that he died so that our sins would be forgiven.

  3. Read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 24:35-48.

  4. Ask: What did Jesus say when he appeared to the disciples? (“Peace be with you.”) Why were Jesus’ disciples startled and afraid when they saw him? (They thought that they were seeing a ghost.) What did Jesus do to show them that he wasn’t a ghost? (Jesus told the disciples to touch him and to look at his hands and feet, and then he ate with them.) After they shared a meal and Jesus talked with them, what did Jesus tell his disciples? (“You are my witnesses.”)

  5. Say: The disciples were no longer confused and afraid. They had seen Jesus alive. So Jesus told his friends to go tell everyone how much God loves each one of them. They were to help others understand why Jesus died so that no one would be confused and frightened by his death.

  6. Say: Jesus helped open his disciples’ eyes. The disciples helped others see and understand why Jesus had died. We now understand that being sorry when we do something wrong and knowing that God forgives us is like taking off a blindfold and finding God’s love.

  7. Conclude in prayer together that we will not be afraid to seek out God’s forgiveness. Pray together the Act of Contrition.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48
Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.


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

Older children are learning to take on greater responsibilities for daily tasks. As they do, they can also be led to take on greater responsibilities for witnessing to Christ in our world.

Materials Needed

  • None

 Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the children to recall a time when they were sent somewhere with a task. Ask them if there are tasks that they can take on now that would have been impossible for them to do when they were younger.

  2. Say: Just as we can accept greater responsibility for everyday tasks as we grow up, the Church recognizes that we can accept greater responsibility as witnesses to Jesus as we mature. But what kinds of tasks are we called upon to do as disciples of Jesus?

  3. Say: Today's Gospel helps us to answer this question because it tells us what Jesus sent his disciples to do after his Resurrection. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today's Gospel, Luke 24:35-48.

  5. Ask: What does this meal that Jesus shared with his disciples remind you of? (the Eucharist; the Mass) After sharing this meal, what mission did Jesus give to his disciples? (to be witnesses to Jesus, especially by preaching forgiveness of sins in his name) Say: We also share a meal with Jesus that gives us a mission when we celebrate the Mass.

  6. Ask: What are the final words of the Mass? (Go in peace to love and serve the Lord; Thanks be to God.) This dismissal reminds us that the Eucharist sends us to be witnesses to Jesus today, especially by helping others know that Jesus forgives sins. What are some ways in which we might help others know that Jesus forgives sins? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  7. Conclude in prayer together that our frequent celebration of the Eucharist will help us choose to teach others about the forgiveness of sins we receive from Jesus. Pray together a Prayer for Vocations.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48
Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Healthful food is important for our physical nourishment, but gathering for meals nourishes us in other ways as well. Our encounter with Christ in the Eucharist nourishes us and strengthens us to be his witnesses.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to recall a recent holiday or celebration that included special food. Ask them to describe favorite aspects of gathering with family or friends for this meal. Observe that food is important for our physical nourishment, but gathering for meals nourishes us in other ways as well. Ask the young people to identify some of the benefits of sharing meals with others and write these ideas on the board.

  2. Say: In the Gospel of Saint Luke, there are many descriptions of meals that Jesus shared with others. At these meals, the disciples were given food and more. This Sunday we hear about a meal that Jesus shared with his disciples after his Resurrection. Let’s listen carefully to this Gospel.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 24:35–48.

  4. Ask: After sharing this meal, what does Jesus tell his disciples? (They are to be witnesses to all that Jesus said and did.) How did sharing this meal with Jesus strengthen the disciples to be his witnesses? (Accept all reasonable answers, such as they knew that Jesus was not a ghost, but was truly present with them, and their minds were open to understand the Scriptures.)

  5. Say: We also share a meal with Jesus and are given a mission to be his witnesses when we celebrate the Mass. Ask: What are the final words of the Mass? (“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord; Thanks be to God.”)

  6. Say: These final words of the Mass remind us that the Eucharist sends us to be witnesses to Jesus today, especially by helping others know that Jesus forgives sins. What are some ways in which we might help others know that Jesus forgives sins? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  7. Conclude in prayer together that our frequent celebration of the Eucharist will help us choose to teach others about the forgiveness of sins we receive from Jesus. Pray together the Psalm for this Sunday, Psalm 4.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48
Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.


Family Connection

Family life is strengthened through storytelling and shared meal times. In a similar way, Christian life is sustained by God’s word in Scripture and by Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. We are especially sustained in our faith through our weekly celebration of Mass. Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that the Scripture and the Eucharist are given to us so that our acts of bearing witness to Christ might be strengthened.

As you gather as a family, ask each person to share their favorite story about your family. Talk about the importance of these memories about your family life and the importance of the meals you have shared together as a family. Recall that these stories and meals strengthen the love you share. In a similar way, our Christian life is strengthened by sharing God’s Word and the Eucharist at Mass. Read together today’s Gospel, Luke 24:35-48. Discuss the mission that Jesus gave to his disciples after their shared meal. The Eucharist also sends us to be Christ’s witnesses in the world today. Conclude by praying together that we will be strengthened by God’s word and by Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist to be witnesses to Christ. Pray together Tantum Ergo or today’s psalm, Psalm 4.