Sunday by Sunday provides adults a ready-to-use tool for reflecting on the Sunday gospels. Many people use Sunday by Sunday alone but the prayer, gospel in reader parts, and questions have groups in mind. This distinctive format grows out of the spiritual practice the Sisters of St. Joseph call Sharing of the Heart.
The sisters originated in small groups of devout women, who experienced God grasp them to respond to the needs of their time when 90% of the people were poor (1650, France). The first sisters divided the city, rolled up their sleeves, and depended on Sharing of the Heart to direct their work and life together.
In the give and take of Sunday by Sunday conversations, people witness how the Holy Spirit acts in each other’s lives. We remember Jesus’ story and link it to our own. We glimpse ways to transform ourselves, our homes, our workplaces, our parishes, and our human future together.
We live in Jesus’ promise to be with us whenever two or more gather in his name. We are church when we gather together.
Each Sunday by Sunday issue provides prayer and small rituals to begin and end sessions together.
2. Share Life Experience
The cover introduces life experiences and themes that link to the gospel. Have one person read the cover aloud or take turns reading paragraphs. The stories on the cover aim to generate stories in the group. Take direction from the question.
3. Proclaim the Gospel
The gospel is printed in reader parts, which brings to life Jesus’ dialogues with people in the stories and invites us hearers into the conversation. Take parts and proclaim the Word.
4. Reflect on the Gospel and Life
Sunday by Sunday involves readers in interpreting the gospels, using bible background, and asking creative questions scholars are asking today. Questions are what Sunday by Sunday does best, encouraging participants to connect their life experience and Jesus’ message.
Take turns reading sections and responding to questions that interest the group. Open-ended questions invite talk that transforms us.
5. Explore the First Reading
Each weekly issue provides historical background on the first Sunday reading, reflection on the reading itself, and questions for faith sharing. Issues sometimes use parts of the second readings for prayer.
The closing prayers often invite petitions or commitments that draw the session toward future service in the local or global world.
Each Sunday by Sunday suggests ways for groups and individuals to put faith into action. The works of charity—staffing food shelves, for instance—help provide for people’s basic needs. The work of justice involves us in changing systems that have adverse effects on our neighbors in our city, country, and world.