Scripture notes – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 25th June 2017

We are moving back to ‘Ordinary Time’ picking it up from the Sunday before Lent started, followed by the Easter season and the special feasts. It may feel like a jolt, as we jump into the sequence of the readings going through Matthew of Year A in a chronological way and this means the Gospel selection comes without any context. The liturgy also is continuing a series of second readings from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Continue reading Scripture notes – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – 25th June 2017

Scripture notes – The most Holy Body & Blood of Christ – Year A – 18th June 2017

I don’t know if others have a ‘favourite’ feast in the round of celebrations in the Church year, but in a sense mine is the Thursday of Holy Week, when the Eucharist is especially celebrated as we commemorate the night of the Last Supper. As much more is going on in the Triduum, we have a second day to focus on what is, of course, the heart of every mass: Christ’s total giving of himself, to the extent of being our ‘real food’ – that brings us into the life with him that is here-and-now yet also extending into eternity. Continue reading Scripture notes – The most Holy Body & Blood of Christ – Year A – 18th June 2017

Scripture notes – Pentecost Year A – 4th June 2017

Pentecost is the last great feast of the Easter season, and like Easter, has a vigil mass. While the evening Easter vigil has become popular in recent years, the Pentecost vigil is more likely to be attended only by the few at daily masses. On both the vigil and the feast, much Old Testament background is read for a fuller understanding of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and church. Continue reading Scripture notes – Pentecost Year A – 4th June 2017

Scripture notes – The Ascension of the Lord Year A – 28th May 2017

Some may be celebrating the Ascension on the previous Thursday. In England and Wales, as in various other parts of the world, the feast has been moved to the Sunday to make it easier for everyone to attend mass.

Only Luke of the four Gospels tells details of Jesus’ leaving this world to return to the Father in eternal glory – and Luke tells it twice, first at the end of his gospel and then at the beginning of the Book of Acts. It is a bridge between Jesus life and the history of the first days of the Church. Continue reading Scripture notes – The Ascension of the Lord Year A – 28th May 2017

Scripture notes – 6th Sunday of Easter Year A – 21st May 2017

This is the last day with the ‘Easter’ label, as we come to the final events of the season, the Ascension of Jesus shortly followed by the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The readings again move between the experience of the first Christians and the words of Jesus at the Last Supper. Continue reading Scripture notes – 6th Sunday of Easter Year A – 21st May 2017

A brief Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew

In Year A of the liturgical season, the gospel readings at mass highlight Matthew, the first book in the New Testament as we find it now. Since the liturgy can present only short selections, an overview of the book itself and what is found in current scholarship about its background, the author and the meaning, can be helpful for a fuller understanding. Some of this will be taken up in the weekly notes I make available, but here is an overview. Continue reading A brief Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew

Mercy in the Bible

‘In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.’

Although we will be considering only the Hebrew and Christian Bible, I have taken these lines from the first words of the Qur’an, because as Pope Francis wrote in his Bull opening the Year of Mercy: ‘There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the church. It connects us with Judaism and Islam…. I trust that this year of Mercy will foster an encounter with these and other noble religious traditions.’ The Jubilee Year is one of openness to all. Continue reading Mercy in the Bible