Scripture notes – 3rd Sunday of Advent (A) – 15th December 2019

The opening words at mass are ‘Rejoice in the Lord always…’ from Philippians 4:4-5, Paul’s Letter full of joyfulness. The Latin word for ‘rejoice’ gives the traditional name ‘Gaudete Sunday’ and rose vestments also show that theme as we wait for the coming of Christ to us – Christmas, in the future, today – always coming. Continue reading Scripture notes – 3rd Sunday of Advent (A) – 15th December 2019

Scripture notes – 1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 1st December 2019

The word advent means ‘coming to’ and the church year begins with several ways Jesus Christ comes to us. First was his birth into our humanity in Bethlehem. The ‘Second Coming’ is his promised return at the end of time to bringing the fullness of his kingship in heaven. Jesus also comes to us every day – when we are open to the many ways we can be aware of his presence. The purple vestments and the absence of the Gloria are reminders that we are called to turn from any sinfulness to be ready for this. Continue reading Scripture notes – 1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 1st December 2019

An Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew

In Year A of the liturgical season, the gospel readings at mass are mostly taken from Matthew, the first book in the New Testament as we find it now. That reflects the esteem of the book in liturgy and church history. Despite its place in our Bibles, Matthew is not the earliest book written – that place goes to some of the Letters of St Paul. Most modern scholars think that Mark was written first of the four gospels and was used by Matthew as a source. Most of Mark is included, with some sections are the same, word-for-word. Matthew’s Greek style is more refined and he often ‘corrects’ Mark’s more ‘rough and ready’ language. Matthew is considerably longer because he puts in blocks of Jesus’ teaching and more parables and adds the account of Jesus’ birth. When he narrates a story, however, it usually is less detailed and sometimes less vivid than Mark’s. (For an example of this, compare Mark 5:1-20 to Matthew 8:28-34.) Matthew and Luke also share some material that is not in Mark but no written record has been found for these passages, which are mostly sayings, and appear in differing parts in the two gospels. (Some scholars use the designation ‘Q’ for these shared texts.) Continue reading An Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew

Scripture notes – 33rd Sunday of the year (C) – 17th November 2019

‘I go to prepare a place for you and then I will come again and take you to myself,’ are Jesus’ words to his disciples the night before he died. (John 14:2-3). As the church year ends this month, the liturgy focus is on the ‘last days’ and the final end of the world while we are waiting for Christ to return as he promised. Continue reading Scripture notes – 33rd Sunday of the year (C) – 17th November 2019

Scripture notes – 32nd Sunday of the year (C) – 10th November 2019

Our readings today focus on the resurrection of those who follow Christ beyond the barrier of physical death. God’s love seeks communion and closeness with all, and that love cannot be ended when bodily life decays. Taking a look at some of the past history of the Jews shows us how this hope grew and developed. Continue reading Scripture notes – 32nd Sunday of the year (C) – 10th November 2019

Introducing the Gospel of Luke

Luke is the ‘most’ gospel in several ways. It is the longest of the four. It is also the only Gospel which has a ‘sequel’, as Luke also wrote The Acts of the Apostles telling of the early work of the Church. This means that Luke is the author of more than one-fourth of the New Testament. His writing is of the highest literary quality in the New Testament, employing a careful use of the Greek language and adapting it to the various styles that suit each section. (This is hard to pick up in translations so scholar’s notes help.) Continue reading Introducing the Gospel of Luke