Lectionary-Based Series Ideas (Year B, 2017-18)

Looking for a way to retool your lectionary-based small group? Are you a homilist looking for some possible themes for your preaching schedule next year? Are you a youth minister looking for a fresh way to incorporate the Sunday readings into your weekly meetings?

Below are some possible themes to explore for 2018 (Year B). Click on the date to view the readings on USCCB website. 

SERIES: In the Beginning, There Was Light

Possible topicsUse Jesus’ firsts to help your group explore their own approach to new beginnings, fresh starts. How can we be assured that we are following the right star? That we see the light?

  1. Dec 25 | The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
    • Focus: Gospel. Intro to John’s Gospel (In the beginning…)
  2. Dec 31 | The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
    • Focus: Gospel. The Presentation in the Temple/Return to Nazareth
  3. Jan 7 | The Epiphany of the Lord
    • Focus: Gospel. The Visit of the Magi
  4. Jan 8 | The Baptism of the Lord (Optional)
    • Focus: Gospel. The Baptism of the Lord
SERIES: More Powerful Than Chicken Soup

Possible Topics: Where do we go when we are in need of healing/restoration? What in our lives need healing? How have you, as a disciple of Christ, been called to bring healing to others?

  1. Jan 14 | 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. Jesus’ First Disciples (“The two disciples heard what [John] said and followed Jesus.”)
  2. Jan 21 | 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
  3. Jan 28 | 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Cure of a Demoniac
  4. Feb 4 | 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law
  5. Feb 11 | 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Cleansing of a Leper
LENTEN SERIES: Loving Without Limits, Giving ‘Til It Hurts

Possible Topics: Understanding Sacrifice as Self-Offering/Self-Gift, The Meaning of Covenant, The Christian View of Boundaries in Relationships

  1. Feb 18 | 1st Sunday of Lent
    • Focus: 1st Reading. Covenant with Noah; Gospel. The Temptation of Jesus
  2. Feb 25 | 2nd Sunday of Lent
    • Focus: 1st Reading. The Testing of Abraham; Gospel. The Transfiguration of Jesus 
  3. Mar 4 | 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year B)
    • Focus: 1st Reading. The Ten Commandments; Gospel. Cleansing of the Temple
  4. Mar 11 | 4th Sunday of Lent (Year B)
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. “By grace you have been saved;”  Gospel. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”
  5. Mar 18 | 5th Sunday of Lent (Year B)
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts.” Gospel. The Coming of Jesus’ Hour (“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”)
  6. Mar 25 | Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
    • Focus: 2nd Reading: “Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;” Gospel. The Passion
EASTER SERIES: Bound to One Another (Whether We Like It Or Not)

Possible Topics: The Connection Between Eucharist and Unity in the Body of Christ, What the Commandments Have to Do With Being a Disciple

  1. Apr 1 | The Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday)
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “We are witnesses of all that he did.”
  2. Apr 8 | 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind;” Second Reading. “In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.”
  3. Apr 15 | 3rd Sunday of Easter
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. “Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them.
      But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” 
      Gospel. “He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
  4. Apr 22 | 4th Sunday of Easter
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. “…that we may be called the children of God.” Gospel. The Good Shepherd (“These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”)
  5. Apr 29 | 5th Sunday of Easter
    • Focus: Gospel. The Vine and the Branches (Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”)
  6. May 6 | 6th Sunday of Easter
    • Focus: Gospel. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
SERIES: You Will Receive Power

Possible TopicsSpiritual gift inventory/Clifton StrengthsFinder, The Connection Between the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit, The Implications of the Great Commission, The Cost of Discipleship

  1. May 13 | Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
    • Focus: Gospel. The Commissioning of the Eleven, The Ascension of Jesus
  2. May 20 | Pentecost Sunday (Mass During the Day)
    • Focus. Second Reading (1st Cor 12). One Body, Many Parts
  3. May 27 | The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
    • Focus. Gospel. The Commissioning of the Disciples
  4. Jun 3 | The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
    • Focus. Gospel. Preparations for the Passover
SERIES: Faith Like a Mustard Seed

Possible TopicsHow Faith and Healing Go Hand in Hand, Where are you in your faith life?

  1. Jun 10 | 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “…the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
  2. Jun 17 | 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. Seed Grows of Itself, The Mustard Seed
  3. Jun 24 | Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist – Mass during the Day
    • Focus: Gospel. The Birth of John (“Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.”)
  4. Jul 1 | 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. Jairus’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage (“Daughter, your faith has saved you.” “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”)
  5. Jul 8 | 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Rejection at Nazareth (“He was amazed at their lack of faith.”)
  6. Jul 15 | 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Mission of the Twelve
SERIES: Get Rested, Get Fed

Possible Topics: The Real Presences of Christ in the Mass, The Implications of the Eucharist in Social Justice, What It Means to Rest, Honoring the Sabbath (click here for great background info on the Eucharist).

  1. Jul 22 | 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Return of the Twelve (“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.”)
  2. Jul 29 | 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. Multiplication of the Loaves
  3. Aug 5 | 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Bread of Life Discourse
  4. Aug 12 | 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Bread of Life Discourse (cont.)
  5. Aug 19 | 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Bread of Life Discourse (cont.)
  6. Aug 26 | 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. The Words of Eternal Life
SERIES: Faith & Works, Word & Deed

Possible TopicsCatechetical Sunday 2017 Theme

  1. Sep 2 | 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.
  2. Sep 9 | 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. “Be opened!” … “He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.
  3. Sep 16 | 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Catechetical Sunday)
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
  4. Sep 23 | 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
SERIES: What It Means to Be Church

Possible Topics: Our Baptismal Mission: Priest, Prophet, and Royalty (see here and here for some background info); Vocations (to Marriage, to Singlehood, to Priesthood); Church as The People of God, The Body of Christ, The Temple of the Holy Spirit, What It Means to Be Called By God (healing, reconciliation).

  1. Sep 30 | 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    1. Focus: 1st Reading. “…Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”
  2. Oct 7 | 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”
  3. Oct 14 | 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age….”
  4. Oct 21 | 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: Gospel. Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized….”
  5. Oct 28 | 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    • Focus: 1st Reading. Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng.
SERIES: Fully Alive

Possible TopicsThe glory of God is man fully alive (St. Irenaeus); Stewardship of Our Gifts; Called to Be Saints; To Die Is to Live

  1. Nov 4 | Solemnity of All Saints (Year B, 2015 readings)
    • Gospel. The Beatitudes
  2. Nov 11 | 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B, 2015 readings)
    • Focus: Gospel. “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
  3. Nov 18 | 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B, 2015 readings)
    • Focus: 1st Reading. “But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
  4. Nov 25 | The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Year B, 2015 readings)
    • Focus: 2nd Reading. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever.

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.29.14 – JD

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