Sundays and Prayers of the Faithful in January, February, March 2021

The Church in England and Wales has invited us to engage with the word of God this year in its initiative The God who Speaks. Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The word of God shapes our prayer and worship. The Bible shows us how to understand the world, how we are called to live and relate to each other.
‘Today Jesus speaks those same words to you: “Take heart, I am here with you, allow me to enter and your life will change”. That is why the Lord gives you his word, so that you can receive it like a love letter.’ (Pope Francis)

A significant place where the faithful encounter the word of God is in the Sunday Liturgy. These reflections are offered to help God’s faithful to explore the ‘love letter’ from the Lord.

Year B
Sunday 3 January
Second Sunday after Christmas
Ecclesiasticus 24.1–2,8–12
Psalm 147
Ephesians 1.3–6,15–18
John 1.1–18 OR John 1.1–5,9–14
The Lectionary gives us a Gospel from John on this Sunday after Christmas for a very specific reason. The General Introduction to the Lectionary puts it thus: ‘On the second Sunday after Christmas, the readings are about the mystery of the Incarnation.’ (95) The use of this Gospel from John – which we also heard on Christmas morning – underlines in sublime poetry what the Synoptic tradition had articulated in narrative: ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us’. The Prologue of John’s Gospel which we have as today’s reading is an extraordinarily rich passage which not only sets the tone for John’s magisterial Gospel, but which will also be a reference point as the Gospel unfolds.

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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.