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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.



12th Sunday – Year C (June 23rd) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 15:25

•    Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
•    Psalm 63: 2, 4-6, 8-9
•    Galatians 3:26-29
•    Luke 9:18-24

God is different, does things differently from us. That is the unmistakable message from next Sunday’s readings.

The first reading presents us with a picture of the prophets sent by God who have been rejected by Israel; but because God is God, that is not to be the end of the story, for, as God says, “I shall pour out on the house of David, and on the one who dwells in Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication; and they shall look on the one whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as for an only son”. God can heal even the consequences of the horrible things that we have done in response to his generosity. It is a lovely picture, and we must reflect on this generosity of God.

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10th Sunday – Year C (June 9th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 15:23

•    1 Kings 7:17-24
•    Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
•    Galatians 1:11-19
•    Luke 7:11-17

One of the striking features of the God of Jews and Christians is that ours is a God who cares for those on the margins of society, especially orphans and immigrants and widows. That is what comes out of the readings for next Sunday. In the first reading, a widow who is not of the true faith has just provided food for that slightly alarming figure the prophet Elijah, “the man of God”; then she is apparently rewarded by the death of her son, “there remained no breath [of life] in him”. Not surprisingly, she reproaches him roundly, “What have you and I to do with each other, man of God? Did you come to me to remind me of my guilt, and put my son to death?”

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Solemnity of the Holy Trinity – Year C (May 26th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:02

•    Proverbs 8:22-31
•    Psalm 8:4-9
•    Romans 5:1-5
•    John 16:12-15

We are all agreed that there is only one God; but our fellow-monotheists, Jews and Moslems, cannot see how we can believe that God is also three, without doing damage to this central insight (and, if we are honest, we who are Christian do not find it altogether easy!). Next Sunday is the feast of the Trinity, and the readings for the day offer a clue: the three-ness of God answers the question how the transcendent Creator can have any relationship at all to his creation.

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11th Sunday – Year C (June 16th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 15:24

•    2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
•    Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
•    Galatians 2:16, 19-21
•    Luke 7:36-8:3

One of the things that religion has to do for us is help us to cope with the fact that we get things wrong, very often out of sheer selfishness, which leads to bad choices.  Something of that is going on in the readings for next Sunday.

The first reading comes from the lively and disedifying tale of David committing adultery with Bathsheba and then the murder of her husband (read it tonight, in 2 Samuel 11). The prophet Nathan does a very brave thing and traps David by telling, in parable form, the story of what he has done, and when the tale has aroused David’s anger, points the finger at him, saying “You are the man”, and pronounces God’s judgement on him, by way of a reminder of what God has done for him, “I anointed you King over Israel, I delivered you from the hand of Saul, I gave you your lord’s house, and your lord’s wives as your own, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah...”.

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Corpus Christi – Year C (June 2nd) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:04

•    Genesis 14:18-20
•    Psalm 110: 1-4
•    1 Corinthians 11:23-26
•    Luke 9:11-17

Next Sunday we celebrate the great solemnity of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ; the secret here is that communion enables us to discover the great presence of our Creator God in the midst of the ordinary things of life.

The first reading is the mysterious story of “Melchisedek, king of Salem” (which is normally understood as Jerusalem), who brings out bread and wine to Abram, in his capacity as “priest of God Most High”, in whose name (“Maker of heaven and earth”) he pronounces a blessing over Abram, and then pays him “one tenth of everything”, as well as asserting that it is God Most High who has given Abram victory over all his enemies.

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Pentecost – Year C (May 19th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:00

•    Acts 2:1-11
•    Psalm 104: 1, 24, 29-31, 34
•    Romans 8:8-17
•    John 14:15-16, 23-26

Next Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost, which ends our Easter celebrations, with the gift of the Holy Spirit. What does this powerful but impalpable force do for us?

Well, in the first reading, which is always read on this day, we hear of the Spirit’s effect on the disciples, who had not very long before been quivering with fear. Now they hear a sound (“as of the coming of a forceful wind”) and see “tongues of fire”, which send them round the world of Greece and Rome, spreading the message about Jesus, for the remainder of Acts of the Apostles (and, indeed, down to the present day).

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