Sunday readings March/April 2019

Sunday 3 March
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 27.4-7
Psalm 90
1 Corinthians 15.54-58
Luke 6. 39-45

We have a set of Sunday readings this week which we rarely hear in the Liturgy because the eighth Sunday of the year is usually lost to one of the post-Easter feasts, but a late Easter this year means we can explore these challenging and fascinating passages. The first reading and the gospel are both composed simply of a series of literary formulae – proverbs and parables; those from the book of Ecclesiasticus dealing solely with speaking, those from the gospel partially so. The heart of both texts is the integrity of communication. More than ever society throughout the world is saturated with words and images which communicate – and as is well known often with a dubious or even deliberately misleading intention. These Scripture texts invite all listeners to judge their own words and also to test those they receive. This is not an unimportant task. It is significant that the Christian Tradition has always venerated the ‘word’ as God’s direct communication to God’s people, both in terms of the written word of the Scriptures, but also, very significantly, as Jesus Christ, the Word who is God from the beginning and who became the Word made Flesh. For disciples the Word is the reference point for all communication, and all communication by word, image or deed is judged as true by being coherent with that. Both texts under consideration emphasise that it is by the way of life of an individual that the truth – or otherwise – of their utterances are known: by their fruits you shall know them.

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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.

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