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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.



Easter Sunday – Year C (March 31st) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 07:35

•    Luke 24:1-12
•    John 20:1-9

Next Saturday night and Sunday morning, as we come to the climax of our Lenten journey, we have a wonderful set of readings. If you are at the Midnight Mass, you will hear the great sweep of the lectionary through the history of our salvation, and the story of God’s people; but space prohibits us from considering all this rich tapestry of the word of God, so what I should like to do this week is to look at the gospel readings for the day. At Midnight Mass, you will hear the account from Luke’s gospel; during the day, it will be version from John’s gospel.

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Easter Sunday – Year C (March 31st) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:07

•    Luke 24:1-12
•    John 20:1-9

Next Saturday night and Sunday morning, as we come to the climax of our Lenten journey, we have a wonderful set of readings. If you are at the Midnight Mass, you will hear the great sweep of the lectionary through the history of our salvation, and the story of God’s people; but space prohibits us from considering all this rich tapestry of the word of God, so what I should like to do this week is to look at the gospel readings for the day. At Midnight Mass, you will hear the account from Luke’s gospel; during the day, it will be version from John’s gospel.

Luke’s gospel is set in brightness, and so it is that the narrative starts “on Day One of the Sabbaths, in the deep dawn”, as the women come to the tomb, “carrying the spices that they have bought”.

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5th Sunday in Lent – Year C (March 17th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:04

•    Isaiah 43:16-21
•    Psalm 126:1-6
•    Philippians 3:8-14
•    John 8:1-11

As the Lenten journey goes on, we are invited to turn our thoughts away from ourselves, (“I am a worm…”) and towards what God is doing, which is only what God has always done, through our history, and throughout the entire story of the People of God.

In the first reading for next Sunday, the poet-prophet whose task it was to help God’s people return from Exile, presents what God is doing as a new Exodus, in which “the Lord makes a path in the sea, and a road in the mighty waters”; and he wants his hearers to recognise that the same Lord who defeated the armies of Egypt is still active today. It is the same God, but now comes the breath-taking invitation, “Do not remember the former things, do not consider the things of old”, because “Look! I am doing a new thing…in the desert I am making a way”.

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2nd Sunday of Easter – Year C (April 7th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:08

•    Acts 5:12-16
•    Psalm 118:2-4, 22-27a
•    Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19
•    John 19-31

We are into the Easter season now, and it is important for us to examine how we are to respond to the Resurrection, the mystery that lies at the heart of our faith. In the readings for next Sunday, we find a variety of possible responses. 

In the first reading, from Acts, which we shall follow on Sundays throughout the Easter season, we have one of the “summaries” in which Luke specialises, painting a picture with a broad brush: this is how it was in the early Church. So we read that God, through the apostles, brought about “many signs and portents among the people”, that outsiders were scared to join them, but that “the people held them in high esteem”, and at the same time “believers in the Lord grew in number, crowds of men and women”, and healings and exorcisms went on apace.

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion – Year C (March 24th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:06

•    Luke 19:28-40
•    Isaiah 50:4-7
•    Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24
•    Philippians 2:6-11
•    Luke 22:14-23:56

Next Sunday our long Lenten journey nears its end, and if we are to play our full part in the solemn and sombre drama that is Holy Week, it is essential that our eyes should be fixed, not on our own failures to get it right, but what God is doing, that ever-old and ever-new story that will once more come alive in the Church at this greatest feast of the year.

We have in Holy Week a glut of readings, and Palm Sunday is no exception, with (this year) Luke’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, then, as every year, in rapid succession, the third “Song of the Suffering Servant” (we shall hear the fourth on Good Friday), followed by the 22nd Psalm in which early Christians found many echoes of the death of Jesus, and, as the second reading, Paul’s lovely hymn on what God was doing in the obedient death of Jesus.

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4th Sunday in Lent – Year C (March 10th) E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:03

•    Joshua 5:9a, 10-12,
•    Psalm 34:2-7
•    2 Corinthians 5:17-21
•    Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Next Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent, mid-Lent Sunday, when you can relax the austerity of your fasting. At this stage of your Lenten journey, you should be aware that the story of God in your life is not simply the old, old story, but also a tale that has an undying freshness about it.

The first reading has the travelling people of God newly arrived in the Holy Land; immediately before this in the text, the males have all been circumcised (they had forgotten about all that in the desert), and immediately afterwards, Joshua is to receive a revelation, just like Moses. In our part of the story, they perform the enormously important and symbolic act of celebrating the Passover, for the first time in the Promised Land.

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