Weekly readings September/October 2017

Breaking the Word Weekdays
Weekdays in September and October 2017
Nicholas King SJ

The weekday readings are often slightly neglected, but they are immensely rich. They follow a text from day to day, and you have a much better chance of getting a grip on an entire book or letter on weekdays than on Sundays. So we are invited to take these readings with great seriousness, to go deeper into them, in order there to encounter the Lord who waits patiently just below the surface of the text. The gospel may be enough for you, but the first reading, whether it is taken from the Old Testament or from one of the letters or other documents of the New Testament, also has something to say, and can often strike a spark, help you to perceive something you had not noticed before, and so hear God's gentle challenge to you today.

Nicholas King SJ is Provincial's Delegate for Formation for the British Jesuit Province. His translation of the entire bible was recently published by Kevin Mayhew.

Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Friday 1 September

1Thessalonians 4.1-8
Psalm 97.1-2, 5-6, 10-12
Matthew 25.1-13
Sometimes we find ourselves imagining that Christianity is not all that demanding. The readings for today may serve to counter this mistaken view. The first reading comes towards the end of the very first document of our New Testament, when Paul is giving instructions to his much-loved Thessalonians as to how they are to behave: 'we are asking and begging you in the Lord Jesus'. And what they are to do is 'to behave and please God', in accordance with the instructions that Paul had given them, and that includes getting our sexual behaviour right: no 'fornication', no 'transgression' or 'greed', no 'impurity', but only 'holiness'. A similar stark warning is offered in the gospel for the day, the parables of the 'wise' and 'foolish' virgins. Here we are not invited to jeer at the unhelpful attitude of the 'wise', who refuse to share their oil with the 'foolish'. The point is rather that at every moment in our lives we must be ready to encounter the Lord: 'stay awake - for you do not know the day, or the time'. That can be quite demanding.

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