The Word This Week

As with each First Sunday of Lent the Gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness; as we begin the journey of Lent, during which we will consider our lives as members of the Church, we look to the example of Jesus when it comes to dealing with temptation. Choosing to follow God’s path is the first characteristic of the Christian: this is underlined in the two other readings, which outline the two” creeds” or statements of belief – one of Israel and one of the Christian. Both of them emphasise “believing in the heart and confessing with the lips”: both creeds underline the Salvation that God has achieved – for Israel it was freedom from Egypt, for the Christian freedom from death in Jesus.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
Deuteronomy 26: 4 – 10;
Romans 10: 8 – 13;
Luke 4: 1 – 13

The Word This Week

Last week, when Jesus spoke in the synagogue, his words pleased the crowd – as we hear at the beginning of today’s Gospel. How quickly the mood changes! This story shows very clearly that Jesus was not a “crowd-pleaser” – he wasn’t interested in saying the right things to be popular or accepted. He was interested in the truth – which is the basic definition of a prophet – whatever the personal cost. So today, when Jesus points out that salvation is not just for the Jews, or even just the people of Nazareth, they reject the
message and the messenger. Just like Jeremiah, when he was called to be a prophet (first reading), Jesus has to confront the land: they will fight with him, but not overcome him.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
Jeremiah 1: 4 – 5, 17 – 19
1 Corinthians 12: 31 – 13: 13
Luke 4: 21 – 30.

The Word This Week

After our brief excursion last week into Saint John’s Gospel, we are back on track this week with Saint Luke – whom we will follow for the rest of the year. Today is about beginnings: the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It begins with the Word of God, in the synagogue. Jesus reads from the Old Testament, as we do every Sunday, and tells the people that it is fulfilled in him. Everything that God has said to his people, through his prophets, comes together in Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God. Today is an ideal Sunday to think about the ministry of reader – about how as readers we make present the same fulfillment, Jesus, when we read the word of God in our Churches.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
Nehemiah 8: 2 – 6, 8 – 10;
1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 30;
Luke 1: 1 – 4, 4: 14 – 21

The Word This Week

Giotto Scrovegni Marriage at CanaThe Gospel of this second Sunday of Ordinary Time continues the theme of the end of Christmas – revelation. Jesus is revealed to the world by his birth, by his baptism, and by his miracles – the “signs” as John calls them. The wedding in today’s Gospel is interpreted in many ways: today, reading the Gospel with the First Reading in mind, we can see it as an image of the way in which God is so close to his people, it is as though he is married to them. Thus Jesus, the spouse of the people, shows God’s closeness by revealing his glory in this miracle.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
Isaiah 62: 1 – 5;
1 Corinthians 12: 4 – 11;
John 2: 1 – 12.

The Word This Week

Guido Reni, Baptism of Christ 1622It may seem strange, but this is a Christmas Feast. Not if we think of Christmas only in terms of the Baby in Bethlehem, but if we have followed the ideas of the Feasts of Holy Family and especially Epiphany, and have seen the Season in terms of the growing manifestation or appearing of the Son of God: first to the shepherds and then to the wise men from the East. Now in the River Jordan, Jesus, Son of Mary, is revealed to all as the fullness of all God’s promises: “You are my Son, the Beloved”.

On this day we stand before the revelation of God’s love for us, such that he would send his only Son into the world. Christmas without the Baptism of the Lord, and the words that are spoken from heaven, would be incomplete, since it is only in them that we fully see the wonder of what happened in Bethlehem. As we come to the end of Christmas today, and look forward to hearing the Gospels in Ordinary Time, we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved.

This Week’s Readings

Isaiah 40: 1 – 5, 9 – 11
Titus 2: 11 – 14, 3: 4 – 7
Luke 3: 15 – 16, 21 – 22

The Word This Week

As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more “dramatic” events of the Christmas and Easter story, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as today’s Gospel reminds us there were also the so-called “hidden years” – the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in ordinary things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. Our celebration of this feast announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life, and the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family. It is love that we put on over all the other clothes of changing cultures and places, to guarantee the life of the family in imitation of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Weekend Readings
1 Samuel 1: 20 – 22, 24 – 28;
1 John 3: 1 – 2, 21 – 24,
Luke 2: 41 – 52.

The Word This Week

This Sunday is called “Gaudete” Sunday — “Rejoice Sunday”. This comes from the readings we hear today, and it underlines an important point. In the Gospel, we hear John the Baptist telling different groups what to do – they must repent, and change their lives. We might think of this as a rather joyless thing – something which is hard and unrewarding. The message of this Sunday is that repentance and changing our lives to welcome Jesus is something richly joyful. When we are planning to welcome anyone we love to our homes, we set about cleaning and preparing for their visit with enthusiasm – nothing is too much trouble for someone we care for greatly. Even scrubbing the bath or polishing the furniture can be a happy and joyful thing! The message of this Sunday is that preparing to welcome the Lord – even though it may involve hard work – is something utterly joyful, be cause of our love for Him, and His love for us

This Weekend’s Readings
Zephaniah 3: 14 – 18,
Philippians 4: 4 – 7
Luke 3: 10 – 18

The Word This Week

Again we hear about the coming “Day of Christ”, and meet the character of John the Baptist. Just as once before he “prepared the way” for the coming of Christ, so today he does the same for us. Our hearts should be open to his voice, as he calls us to repentance, and asks us to make the way straight for the coming of our Lord. The imagery of this Sunday is particularly rich: the dominant image is of a vast population moving together – the return from exile in the first reading, the going and coming of the sowers in the psalm, the community of the Church preparing together in Paul’s letter. We prepare for the coming of the Lord as His people – a community who cooperate to make the “processional way” of the Holy One – flattening the hills of opposition and ridicule, filling in the valleys of doubt and despair, so that “all mankind shall see the salvation of God”.

Mass Readings

Baruch 5: 1 – 9
Philippians 1: 3–6, 8–11
Luke 3: 1–6.

The Word This Week

As usual, the great Season of Advent begins, not by talking about Christmas, but about the Second Coming. We’ve had this theme already for the past two weeks, but there is a slight change of emphasis in the Scripture readings offered for this Sunday: here the tone is positive: it is the “promise” of what is to come that we contemplate. Even in the Gospel, though it talks of the dreadful signs that mark the end times, we hear of a promise – “liberation”. For this we should stand erect and hold our heads high. The central theme is that we welcome the coming of a person – Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, and this is what links this Sunday to the coming feast of his birth: we are now preparing to celebrate how he once came: may these preparations also help us to prepare for him when he comes again.

The Word This Week

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (14th October)

In today’s story of the rich man, who comes to Jesus full of good intentions, there are some simple words that speak so clearly to our own age: when Jesus tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor, “his face fell at these words, and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.” “How sad it is that such a keen (he runs up to Jesus), and by all accounts good-looking young man (whom Jesus loves) could not free himself from the word thing that was holding him back – his dependence on riches. Jesus’ words “How hard it is …” perhaps indicate his own sadness that the man could not free himself from this. Jesus’ teaching was new – as the disciples’ reaction shows. In Israel at the time, riches were thought to be a blessing from God. But as Jesus knew and taught, holding on to anything that passes away can distract us from holding on to things that are eternal.

Today’s Readings
Wisdom 7: 7-1
Hebrews 4: 12-13
Mark 1: 17-30