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Scripture Notes

Notes on the Sunday readings by Father Nicholas King SJ (Campion Hall, Oxford University, UK).

By kind permission of the Editor of Southern Cross.

2nd Sunday of Advent – Year A (December 8th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 01:59

•    Isaiah 11:1-10
•    Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
•    Romans 15:4-9
•    Matthew 3:1-12

During this time of Advent or “Coming”, our task is to look out for the arrival of the One who is expected; and that also means that we are going to have to respond in an appropriate way.

The first reading for next Sunday looks for a “Coming One”, who will “come forth, a shoot from the stump of Jesse”. The context into which Isaiah is prophesying is that of the recent defeat of the Assyrians; this new leader, however, is not to be a military leader, but “the Spirit of the Lord is to rest upon him”, and that “spirit” is one of “wisdom and perception...counsel and strength...knowledge and fear of the Lord”, not to mention “justice...and integrity”.

Christ the King – Year C (November 24th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Saturday, 28 September 2013 17:03

•    2 Samuel 5:1-3
•    Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5
•    Colossians 1:12-20
•    Luke 23:35-43

Next Sunday the church’s year comes to its end with the feast of Christ the King. Now it is perfectly accurate to call Jesus our “King”, but whenever you speak of God or of his Christ, you have to realise that you are at the edge of language, and nothing can mean quite what you expect it to mean.

In the first reading, we hear the tribes of Israel coming to David at Hebron (this was before he had conquered Jerusalem), and claiming him as their king, on the grounds that “we are your flesh and blood”.

Solemnity of All Saints (November 3rd) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Saturday, 28 September 2013 16:58

•    Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
•    Psalm 24: 1-6
•    1 John 3:1-3
•    Matthew 5:1-12

Next Sunday, we in this country celebrate the feast of All Saints; in a sense this is our feast, if we get it right, but we have to recall what it is really about. The message is that God is in charge, and that we are created to be with God, and (audaciously enough) to be like God. This God invites us creatures, flawed as we are, to recognise the Creator, and so discover who we are.

1st Sunday of Advent – Year A (December 1st) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 01:56

•    Isaiah 2:1-5
•    Psalm 122
•    Romans 13:11-14
•    Matthew 24:37-44

What time is it? Well, next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and the beginning of the Church’s year. This is therefore a time when we might be expecting to listen with fresh ears to what the Lord is saying to us. That, I suspect, is the message of the readings for next Sunday.

The first reading is from a place early in Isaiah’s prophecy; Israel was about to go to war, at the time of writing, and the prophet wanted them to get the Lord’s message.

33rd Sunday – Year C (November 17th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Saturday, 28 September 2013 17:01

•    Malachi 3:19-20
•    Psalm 98:5-9
•    2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
•    Luke 21:5-19

We are almost at the end of the year now, and that may be why a faint air of menace hangs over the readings for next Sunday.

It is hard to be sure precisely what Malachi means in the first reading, but we can read it into our life and our time: “The Day is coming”. It is, it would appear, a somewhat challenging “day”, and “all arrogant people will be like stubble”.

30th Sunday – Year C (October 27th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Saturday, 28 September 2013 16:57

•    Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-18
•    Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23
•    2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
•    Luke 18:9-14

Who does God listen to? Not the ones you might expect, according to the readings for next Sunday. Again and again, unless we are careful, we shall find ourselves unconsciously supposing that God prefers the prayers of People Like Us. The first reading, however, written for Jews trying to live out their faith in an increasingly hostile and sceptical society, insists that “the Lord is a just judge, and does not engage in snobbery with regard to the destitute; he listens to those who have suffered wrong.”


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