Weekdays in April/May/June 2022

Friday 1 April
Wisdom 2.1,12–22
Psalm 33
John 7.1–2,10,25–30

The background of John 7–10 is the Feast of Sukkoth (Tabernacles) and its aftermath in Jerusalem. By the first century CE, this had become not merely the memorial of the wandering in the wilderness and the autumn harvest festival but also the major eschatological feast. John is subtly pointing out that Jesus is the fulfillment of this major feast. As usual in John, the conversation between Jesus and his opposition forms the dramatic element. The hatred towards Jesus has grown, but he still speaks openly and freely. Importantly, the theological motif that his ‘time’ (Greek: hora – hour) had not yet come prevents his immediate arrest (Gospel: Jn 7.1–2,10,25–30). The diatribe (Greek: argument) of the opposition in Wisdom is by the godless who scorn the virtuous. The latter are encouraged to have no doubt that the godless – however clever – are completely wrong (First Reading: Wis. 2.1,12–22).

Saturday 2 April
Jeremiah 11.18–20
Psalm 7
John 7.40–52
John presents the disagreement about the provenance and nature of the expected Messiah. This almost certainly reflects the reality of the intense debates in the Palestine of the first half of the first century. John also shows the division between the ‘police’ (Greek: huperetai – officers), who perhaps acted as local Jewish spies, and the leaders of the Pharisees. The latter are portrayed as becoming increasingly paranoid and thus prepared to override the legal need for witnesses, as pointed out by Nicodemus, who makes his second appearance in the Gospel. He seems to be an increasing force of moderation, clearly wanting to defend Jesus (Gospel: Jn 7.40–52). Jeremiah uses the powerful image of the lamb being led to sacrifice, a common sight, especially at the time of the feasts. The Lord gives Jeremiah the insight into the reality of the scheming plots against him (First Reading: Jer. 11.18–20).

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Breaking the Word - Weekdays

The weekday readings can sometimes seem a little ‘bread and butter’ compared to the liturgical feast of Sunday. That said, the sustained nourishment, the ‘daily bread’ of the weekday mysteries connotes the Manna that sustained the Israelites on their journey through the desert. These readings are from the Ordo for the Archdiocese of Westminster. Tarcisius Mukuka is a lecturer in Biblical Studies & Exegesis, and Anthony Towey is the Director of the Aquinas Centre in the School of Education, Theology and Leadership at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.