Sunday readings July/August/September 2019

In contemporary culture books and words are so available and accessible to every individual that the idea of listening to words read out in an assembly seems quite unusual, and yet for those who are disciples of the Lord this is an essential element of our Christian reality. As Pope Benedict articulated: ‘Being friends with Jesus is par excellence always friendship with his followers. We can be friends of Jesus only in communion with the whole of Christ, with the Head and with the Body; in the vigorous vine of the Church to which the Lord gives life. Sacred Scripture is a living and actual Word, thanks to the Lord, only in her. It is eloquent in the present only where the "Presence" is - where Christ remains for ever contemporary with us: in the Body of his Church.’ (Homily, Chrism Mass 2006). The reflections offered here are in the hope that they may provide an opportunity for the faithful to have a deeper encounter with the Lord in his Word through the Eucharistic celebration of the community.

During this period of the Church’s year the lectionary moves through the first part of Luke’s account of Jesus’ teaching on his journey to Jerusalem – the momentum of that journey is a key aspect of the structure of Luke’s Gospel: ‘It would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.’ (13.33). As he travels towards that inevitable goal, Jesus encounters those friendly and those hostile and that gives him the opportunity to proclaim the Good News and challenge his hearers to respond to it – the same task that the liturgy of the Word in the Eucharistic celebration gives to present day disciples. This is especially true of many of the parables that make up the Gospel for most of these weeks. We should be careful that their familiarity prevents us from experiencing them as challenges directly to each of us personally.

Robert Draper is a parish priest in Dorset and a Vicar General of the Diocese of Plymouth.

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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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