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.


Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday, August 26, 2018


This Sunday’s Readings


First Reading
Joshua 24:1-2a,15-17,18b
Joshua and the people declare that they will serve the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 34:2-3,16-17,18-19,20-21
The Lord hears the cries of the just.

Second Reading
Ephesians 5:21-32 (or shorter form Ephesians 5:2a,25-32)
Husbands and wives should love one another as Christ loves the Church.

Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69
Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.

Background on the Gospel Reading

For our Gospel today we hear the conclusion of the “Bread of Life discourse” in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. In the preceding verses, which we have heard proclaimed in our liturgy over the past few weeks, we have heard Jesus explain that he is the Bread of Life, given so that those who believe may have eternal life. This discourse follows the miracle in which Jesus fed more than five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. As Jesus has been teaching these things, John’s Gospel describes a murmuring crowd unable to accept Jesus’ words. In today’s Gospel, the crowd has dwindled in number, and John no longer references them, or the Jews. Instead John describes the questioning of those considered to be Jesus’ own disciples.

Today’s Gospel first records the response of those in the crowd who are described as Jesus’ disciples. Just as the larger crowd had struggled with Jesus’ teaching, these disciples also cannot accept Jesus’ words. Jesus is said to know about their murmuring. He responds by acknowledging their unbelief and by reiterating that only those chosen by the Father will follow Jesus to the end. John’s Gospel reports that many of those who had been Jesus’ disciples ceased to follow him at this point. The number of people following Jesus dwindled from a crowd of more than 5,000 to only 12 people. And it is to these Twelve that Jesus now turns his attention.

Simon Peter’s response to Jesus’ question as to whether those closest to him will also leave, reminds us of the reports of Peter’s confession of faith in the Synoptic Gospels. Peter announces, on behalf of all the Twelve, that they have come to believe all that Jesus has taught about himself: Jesus is the one from God in whom they have found the path to eternal life.

This conclusion of the Bread of Life discourse focuses on personal faith in the life of Christian discipleship. Each person must make his or her own judgment about who Jesus is and in doing so determine the way of life that he or she will follow. God’s grace invites us to be Jesus’ disciples, but each person must respond to the grace of God and confess as his or her own the belief that Jesus is the one from God. This faith then commits us to the path of life, leading us to eternal life.


Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69
Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.


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

In Baptism, God gives us the gift of faith. We nurture this gift from God by leading children to recognize this gift and by teaching them that we pray to God to increase our faith.

Materials Needed

  • Small gingerbread-style people cut out of paper
  • A balloon
  • A sweater

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Before your session, draw some gingerbread-style people on paper and cut them out. Ask the children whether they believe that you can make these little people jump without touching them. Then blow up a balloon, rub it against a sweater, and hold it about four inches above the paper dolls. The paper dolls will “jump” up and down because of static electricity.

  2. Ask: Now do you believe that I can make the paper people jump without touching them? It’s easy to believe something when we see it with our own eyes, but we need faith to believe in things we cannot see.

  3. Say: In the Gospel this week, Jesus tells us that even though it is hard to believe that he can make us live forever, we can come to believe it by asking God for faith. Let’s listen to this Gospel carefully.

  4. Read today’s Gospel, John 6:60-69.

  5. Ask: Who showed that they had faith in Jesus in today’s Gospel? (Peter)

  6. Say: Some of Jesus’ disciples found it hard to believe that to live forever they had to consume Jesus’ flesh. Jesus told them that only God could explain this mystery. Peter said that the apostles would follow only Jesus, showing that he truly believed that Jesus was sent by God.

  7. Conclude in prayer asking God to help you truly believe that Jesus was sent by God. Pray together the Act of Faith, the Act of Hope, and the Act of Love.


Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69
Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.


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

Most older children practice the faith because this is a commitment that their family made for them. Today’s Gospel offers an opportunity to talk about the importance of making a personal decision to claim this faith as one’s own.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to talk about why they are Catholic and why they think it is important that they celebrate Mass and participate in the Church’s faith formation.

  2. Say: If you were baptized as an infant, your parents spoke for you in making a profession of faith in what the Catholic Church teaches about Jesus. Your parents also promised to teach you about our faith in Jesus. For many of us, this is why we celebrate Mass and participate in Church activities, because it is important to our parents and our families. Eventually, each of us makes our own decision about why and how we will express our faith in Jesus.

  3. Say: For the past several weeks, we have heard Jesus teach about himself in our Gospel. In particular, we have heard Jesus teach us that he is the Bread of Life. In today’s Gospel we hear how those closest to Jesus responded to these words.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today’s Gospel, John 6:60-69.

  5. Ask: Did all of Jesus’ disciples accept his teaching? (No, many of Jesus’ disciples could not accept his words and went away.) Who did accept Jesus’ teaching? (the Twelve; Simon Peter) What did Simon Peter say that the Twelve had come to believe about Jesus? (that Jesus came from God; that Jesus could lead them to eternal life)

  6. Say: As we grow in our faith, we will make our own choices about living our faith. But we can’t do this without God’s help and the help of the community of faith, the Church. We pray that God will help us be like Simon Peter and the disciples who chose to follow Jesus.

  7. Conclude in prayer together asking God to increase in us the gift of faith. Pray together the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.


Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69
Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people are beginning to claim the faith of the community as their own. Today’s Gospel offers an opportunity to explore what this means in the life of a disciple of Christ.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite the young people to name some things that our Church teaches about Jesus. Invite a volunteer to write this list on the board. Review the list together. Affirm those things that are part of our faith about Jesus and correct any items that might need to be restated.

  2. Say: If you were baptized as an infant, your parents spoke for you in making a profession of faith in what the Catholic Church teaches about Jesus. Your parents also committed themselves to teaching you about our faith in Jesus. But each of us must accept as our own what we have been taught about Jesus.

  3. Say: For the past several weeks, we have heard Jesus teach about himself in our Gospel. In particular, we have heard Jesus teach us that he is the Bread of Life. In today’s Gospel we hear how those closest to Jesus responded to these words.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud today’s Gospel, John 6:60-69.

  5. Ask: Did all of Jesus’ disciples accept his teaching? (No, many of them could not accept his words and left.) Who did accept Jesus’ teaching? (the Twelve; Simon Peter) What did Simon Peter say that the Twelve had come to believe about Jesus? (that Jesus came from God; that Jesus could lead them to eternal life)

  6. Say: As we mature in our faith, we learn to accept the Church’s profession of faith as our own. But we can’t do this without God’s help and the help of the community of faith, the Church. We pray that God will help us be like Simon Peter and the disciples who chose to follow Jesus.

  7. Conclude in prayer together asking God to increase in us the gift of faith. Pray together the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.


Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69
Simon Peter confesses his faith that Jesus alone has the words of the eternal life.


Family Connection

When a child is baptized, the parents speak on behalf of the child in professing the faith in which the child is to be baptized. The parents promise to teach their child this faith so that they may one day accept this faith as his or her own. In the example of Simon Peter, we learn that each person must also make his or her own profession of faith in Jesus as the one sent by God to save us. We pray for our children as they mature in the faith that they may learn that Jesus alone has the words of eternal life and that they may choose to follow the way of Christian discipleship.

As you gather as a family, talk about promise that parents make at their child’s baptism to teach their child about Jesus and the faith of the Church. Talk about the importance of this promise to your family and about some of the things that you are doing to try to honor this commitment. In today’s Gospel we hear Simon Peter speak about what he has come to believe about Jesus. Together read today’s Gospel, John 6:60-69. Pray together that each person in our family will grow in his or her faith that Jesus is the one sent by God who alone has the words of eternal life. Pray together the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.