Sundays in October, November, December 2021

Robert Draper

No doubt this year has been a challenging one for us all, the pandemic has brought suffering, loss and great upset. For believers, it has also had an impact on each person as they have sought to come to grips with it in terms of faith. That task is always there, and the Scriptures constantly offer a key to understanding the events of life. The readings offered at Mass give the hearer an opportunity to ponder what is happening in and around one’s life, and the more attention that they can be given the more effective that key can be. Robert Draper is priest of Sacred Heart and St Aldhelm, Dorset.

Sunday 3 October
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 2.18–24
Psalm 127
Hebrews 2.9–11
Mark 10.2–16
These readings can be taken to explore some of the most fundamental of human questions. For many people, they will be very challenging because they get behind some everyday assumptions in this, or any, culture. ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’ This can be seen as a basis for our whole understanding of humans as being ‘social’ animals, that to be truly human is to be in relationship, that other people are not incidental to an authentic human life but an essential element. Human identity can, then, be explored not as a solitary focus on an individual who exists alongside others but as a network of relationships that interrelate and give identity and purpose to one who is always in relationship. Jesus’ words on divorce are similarly challenging, because the emphasis there is on the nature of relationship as not being based on convenience or personal satisfaction but on commitment, even unqualified commitment. This might be a real challenge in a culture where fickleness and ‘personal wants’ can appear to be paramount.

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Breaking the Word - Sundays

In the constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Fathers of Vatican II decreed that: ‘The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly so that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word’. (SC.52) The lavish feast of Sacred Scripture at the celebration of the Eucharist is designed to nourish and inspire the faithful. The following reflections on the Sunday readings for the next two months are an attempt to help readers and listeners to both savour and  ponder the selected passages so as to be drawn ever closer to the source of that nourishment. The author is a parish priest in Dorset and Vicar General of the Diocese of Plymouth.