Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Readings & Background


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Exodus 17:8-13
Joshua and the Israelites defeat Amalek with the help of God and his servant, Moses.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 121:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8
The Lord is the Guardian of Israel.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 3:14—4:2
Paul exhorts Timothy to continue to preach the word Timothy received from his teachers.

Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This is the first of two parables that Jesus tells in Luke 18 about prayer. (The second will be read at Mass next Sunday.) This first parable is a lesson in persistence in prayer. (Next Sunday's parable will address attitude in prayer.) While the parable seems to present prayer as nagging God for what we want, such a reading misses the point. God is not like the judge in the parable, worn down by requests and coerced to respond. The key is found in the description of the judge as corrupt and unjust. Since God can be neither, we must understand Jesus to be saying that if even an unjust judge responds to the persistence of the widow, how much more so will God listen to our prayers. God truly wants to hear our needs and respond generously. It is the final lament of Jesus that gets to the point of the parable. The lesson is about the persistence of the one who prays. God wants us to be like the persistent widow, staying in relationship with God, confident that God hears and answers prayers. Then Jesus laments, “Will such faith be found when the Son of Man comes?” In this lament, Jesus notes how easy it can be for us to lose heart.

Grades 1-3


Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.


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

Younger children, who need consistency to thrive, may be comforted to know that God always hears and answers our prayers. Support children in building a rich prayer life by teaching them that God invites us to be in close relationship with him through prayer. 

Materials Needed

  • none

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: Someone who is persistent carries on in a steady way. If we are persistent about doing our chores, we do them every day. When are some times when it might be good to be persistent? (Accept reasonable answers.) 
  2. Say: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a woman who is persistent. She asks a judge for what she wants. Listen carefully.
  3. Read aloud Luke 18:1–8.
  4. Say: The judge gives the woman what she wants because she is persistent. Jesus says that we are to be persistent in our prayer. God invites us to be closer to him by praying often. He always hears and answers our prayers.
  5. Invite children to share times during the day when they pray, such as in the morning, before meals, and before bedtime. Tell children that they can pray silently at any time of day. Invite children to think of something they’d like to pray for and spend a few moments together in silent prayer.
  6. Close by praying together the Lord’s Prayer.

Grades 4-6


Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.


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

Children of this age are beginning to show the capacity to offer sustained attention to a project. We can help foster this development by encouraging young people to stick with something even when it is difficult. Persistence is a trait that serves well the life of faith.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: What does the word persistence mean? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Say: Persistence means to stick with something even when it is difficult. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank yourself on this question: How persistent are you?

  2. Ask: What are some activities that you have stuck with? Is there something you have asked for repeatedly?

  3. Ask: Do you think persistence is a good trait? When might persistence be negative? (When someone becomes a pest)

  4. Say: Jesus wants us to be persistent in prayer. To make this point, he told this parable. Ask a volunteer from the group to read Luke 18:1-8. Note to the group the difference between the unjust judge and God.

  5. Say: When we present our needs to God in prayer, it is called prayer of petition. You are familiar with this form of prayer because we offer this form of prayer at Mass in the Prayer of the Faithful. Together as a group, identify some needs that you wish to present to God in prayer, and write prayers of petition.

  6. Conclude by praying the prayers of petition written by the group; after each petition, pray together, Lord, hear our prayer. Include a petition asking God to help you to be persistent in prayer. Conclude by praying together the Lord's Prayer.

 

Grades 7-8


Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age are beginning to reject childhood notions of God and prayer while at the same time embracing their faith roots, religious heritage, and religious tradition, especially during times of change in their lives. This Sunday's Gospel offers an opportunity to present a more mature understanding of prayer.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to define the word perseverance. (to stay constant to a behavior, a skill, or an idea)

  2. Invite volunteers to describe activities or areas in their lives in which they practice perseverance. (Accept all reasonable answers.)

  3. Say: In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the role that perseverance plays in prayer.

  4. Invite a volunteer to read aloud Luke 18:1-8.

  5. Ask: How does Jesus describe the judge? (as someone who does not fear God or respect others, dishonest) Why does the judge eventually give in to the woman's request? (He grows tired of her requests; her perseverance wears him down.)

  6. Say: Jesus is telling us that God is not like the judge in this story. God is just, truthful, and loving. We can approach him in prayer with the same perseverance that the woman showed because we know that our prayers will be heard.

  7. Talk about times when we may be tempted to doubt the power of prayer, such as when things don't go our way or when we feel that God isn't listening. Explain that we need perseverance to continue praying, so that we may learn what God's will for us is.

  8. Conclude by praying the Lord's Prayer, emphasizing that when we do so, we are praying for God's will to be done.

Family


Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.


Family Connection

Children nag because it works. Parents, like the judge in the parable, often get worn down by the persistence of their children asking for things large and small. Nagging is not a positive trait, to be sure. The confidence and the persistence behind this behavior, however, confidence in the goodness of the giver and the tenacity to stay in the relationship, are traits worth emulating in our relationship with God.

Read together Luke 18:1-8. Talk about appropriate ways to make needs and desires known to one another and to God in prayer. Recall that God wants to answer our prayers. As a family, offer your needs as prayers of petition to God.