Normally Living Eucharist posts the scripture passages used at Sunday Mass in the order they are heard on a Sunday. It makes immediate sense to observe that same pattern – the order of the scriptures (for it will be usually Old Testament followed by New Testament), and the order of the Liturgy.
However the selection of readings is determined by the Gospel, and most clearly so in Ordinary time when (except for any influence exerted by the particular passage and coincidence) there is no overall theme for the Sunday readings. It is fairly said that unless you know , in advance, what the Gospel reading is you may find yourself struggling a little with the import of the first reading, which will have no direct connection with the first reading or Gospel of the week before. The disadvantage of knowing the Gospel and hearing the first reading only as a precusor to the Gospel reading is that it reduces it to ‘an illustration’ or ‘context’ and robs it of its own integrity as scripture.
Swings and roundabouts come to mind. But by way of an experiment for the next while the order of postings leading up to Sunday will be reversed. The Thursday posting will be of the Gospel, and the Sunday posting of the First reading, usually an Old Testament reading.
Comments are welcome!
The Gospel reading for Mass on Sunday, the 14th Sunday of the Year, comes from the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus returns to his home town. He has caused something of a stir over recent days, as he has travelled the land. Now he’s back home…
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him.
They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him.
And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Change is often hard to take. Especially change which challenges the status quo.
Nazareth cannot accept what Jesus offers, because it cannot accept it from Jesus.
And yet under the surface rejection, some turn to him. The goodness of God and the ministry of Jesus has its effect, even if it begins in a hidden way, beneath the surface.
- What of the gospel do you resist and why?
- What signs might there be of the gospel winning out, even our your reticence?
Mosaic from the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.