Sunday Reading November/ December 2018

Sunday 4 November
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary time
Deuteronomy 6.2-6
Psalm 17
Hebrews 7.23-28
Mark 12.28-34

The readings given to us for this Sunday offer us a chance to reflect on the continuity and discontinuity of the covenant given to Moses, with the covenant given through Christ. The words of the Shema – the great prayer of the faithful given by Moses (‘Hear O Israel . . .’) sums up the faith of Israel. The fact that Jesus quotes it as the first (and greatest) commandment shows his clear continuity with the faith of Moses. The faith of the Christian church in Jesus therefore cannot be understood without reference to the faith of Moses. However, the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, while clearly in continuity with the faith of Moses, insists that in Jesus there is a definitive development – this will feature in the readings from Hebrews for the next few weeks. At the Last Supper Jesus speaks of a new and eternal covenant. That covenant – like the covenant with Moses – is a covenant signed with the blood of sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.

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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.