Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Readings & Background


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Genesis 18:1-10a
Abraham entertains three strangers and is promised a son.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 15:2-5
Those who do justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Second Reading
Colossians 1:24-28
The mystery hidden from ages past has now been revealed in Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The story of Jesus in the home of Martha and Mary complements the story of the Good Samaritan, which immediately precedes it in Luke's Gospel. Both stories are unique to Luke. The story of the Samaritan opens with the words “a certain man.” Today's reading opens with the words “a certain woman.” The Samaritan is an example of how a disciple should see and act. Mary is an example of how a disciple should listen. Mary, a woman, is a marginalized person in society, like the Samaritan. Both do what is not expected of them. As a woman, Mary would be expected, like Martha, to prepare hospitality for a guest. Here again Jesus breaks with the social conventions of his time. Just as a Samaritan would not be a model for neighborliness, so a woman would not sit with the men around the feet of a teacher.

Both stories exemplify how a disciple is to fulfill the dual command which begins chapter 10—love of God (Mary) and love of neighbor (the Samaritan). These are the two essentials of life in the kingdom. By using the examples of a Samaritan and a woman, however, Jesus is saying something more. Social codes and boundaries were strict in Jesus' time. Yet to love God with all one's heart and one's neighbor requires breaking those rules. The Kingdom of God is a society without distinctions and boundaries between its members. It is a society that requires times for seeing and doing and also times for listening and learning at the feet of a teacher.

Grades 1-3


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.


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

Younger children may be surprised to learn that some people are unfairly excluded because of things outside their control. Teach children that Jesus invites all people to believe in and follow him.

Materials Needed

  • none

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings 

  1. Ask: Are girls or boys students? (Both boys and girls can be students.) Say: In some countries, girls are not allowed to go to school. They don’t get to learn as girls do here. Allow children to share their response to this information. Discuss how some rules unfairly exclude groups of people.
  2. Say: In Jesus’ time, there were strict rules about what men and women could do. For example, women weren’t supposed to be disciples, or students. In today’s Gospel, Jesus visits the house of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Notice what Jesus has to say about Mary, who sits at Jesus’ side and listens to him teach.
  3. Read aloud Luke 10:38–42.
  4. Say: Martha didn’t understand how her sister, Mary, could listen to Jesus’ teaching. She was supposed to be doing housework! But Jesus defends Mary. He shows us that everyone can be his follower. 
  5. Pray: Thank you, merciful and loving Jesus, for showing us that salvation is for everyone who believes in you and follows you. We pray for all people to know the peace of a life with you. Amen.

Grades 4-6


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.


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

Today's children are accustomed to women working in all professions, including politics, but they may not realize that until rather recently, this was not always the case. Explaining to them how women's roles in society have changed can help them understand the radical new role that Jesus was presenting to women—discipleship.

Materials Needed

  • Paper and pens/pencils
  • A list of U.S. presidents

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings 

  1. Arrange the children in pairs and have them list as many U.S. presidents as they can recall.

  2. After a few minutes, invite the pairs to report their lists. Point out the pair with the longest list. Compare their lists to the list you brought.

  3. Ask: How many U.S. presidents have been women? (As of 2007, none have been women.)

  4. Say: Women did not even have the right to vote in the United States until 1920. For a long time, voting and politics were seen as something for men only. Gradually, this has been changing.

  5. Point out that the role of women is an issue in this Sunday's Gospel. Say: In Jesus' time, women were considered the property of men. They were expected to raise children and take care of the house. It was unusual for a woman to be a disciple of a teacher. That role was reserved for men. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus shows us that when it comes to following him, men and women are equal.

  6. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 10:38-42.

  7. Ask: Why was Martha upset with her sister, Mary? (She thought Mary should be helping with the household chores.)

  8. Say: Martha was accustomed to the traditional role for women and didn't understand how her sister could ignore the housework and listen to Jesus' teaching instead. Jesus defends Mary, showing us that no one is excluded from becoming his follower.

  9. Explain that sometimes we exclude certain people from being our friends. Say: As followers of Jesus, we are called to be like him and to break down barriers that separate people from one another.

  10. Invite the children to pray silently, asking the Holy Spirit to help them recognize the times that they exclude others and for the grace to include them.

Grades 7-8


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

People at this age have been studying geography and should have some basic knowledge of the area of the country in which they live. Use the concept of state boundaries to point out how we use boundaries to exclude people and how Jesus broke through the boundaries of his time.

Materials Needed

  • Blank sheets of paper
  • Pens/pencils
  • Map of the state you live in

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings 

  1. Distribute a blank sheet of paper and a pen or pencil to each of the young people.

  2. Ask them to draw an outline of the state in which you live, showing the boundaries between your state and neighboring states.

  3. Encourage them to add the shapes of the neighboring states that they can recall.

  4. Invite volunteers to share their drawings. Compare their drawings to a real map.

  5. Ask: What do we call the lines that separate one state from another?(boundaries)

  6. Explain that boundaries are not only lines that separate geographical areas but that we also have boundaries in society. Say: We have boundaries that determine how we interact with one another and what kinds of behavior is acceptable in certain places and at certain times. Sometimes we set up boundaries that exclude people. These types of boundaries can be hurtful.

  7. Point out that in this Sunday's Gospel Jesus shows that there are no boundaries when it comes to who is called to be his disciples.

  8. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 10:38-42.

  9. Ask:Why was Martha upset with her sister, Mary? (She thought Mary should be helping with the household chores.)

  10. Say:In Jesus' time, it was unusual for a woman to be a disciple of a teacher. In this Gospel, we find Mary crossing a boundary and sitting at the feet of Jesus to listen to his teaching. Jesus defends Mary, showing us that no one is excluded from becoming his follower.

  11. Explain that sometimes we establish boundaries that exclude certain people from being our friends. Say: As followers of Jesus, we are called to be like him and to break down barriers that separate people from one another.

  12. Invite the young people to pray silently, asking the Holy Spirit to help them recognize the hurtful boundaries they may be using to exclude others and for the grace to break down those barriers.

Family


Gospel Reading
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.


Family Connection

In our families and homes, we have boundaries. Some are geographical; we may have our own room or part of a room that we want others to stay out of. Parents may have home offices that are off-limits to children. Some boundaries are behavioral; children may speak one way to their friends, but they are not allowed to speak the same way to their parents or other adults. A Curfew is another type of boundary, whose purpose is to protect children's safety. 

Talk about examples of boundaries in your family. For the most part, these boundaries are good. Talk about how sometimes we set up boundaries for the wrong reasons. For example, if we are angry with a sibling, we may draw a line and tell him or her to stay on his or her side. Explain that when we use boundaries to exclude others, we are being hurtful. Point out how in Jesus' time, some boundaries were used to unfairly exclude people. One example was from last week's Gospel: Samaritans. This Sunday's Gospel has another example: women. Talk about how the role of women has changed in your lifetime. Explain that in this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus breaks down a barrier that kept women from being disciples.

Read aloud Luke 10:38-42. Talk about how Martha is conditioned by the existing boundaries of her society, but how her sister, Mary, breaks through that boundary and becomes a disciple of Jesus. Talk about how you can work as a family to break down boundaries that separate people. Point out that when we pray the Lord's Prayer, we call God “Our Father,” meaning that we are all his children; no boundaries should separate us. Conclude this time together by praying the Lord's Prayer.