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Feast of Christ the King, Year A, November 23, 2014
Twenty-second digests for the congregation: Arrange with your liturgy committee to have these brief historical introductions read to the assembly before you do each reading.
Who should announce these before the first and second readings, and before the gospel acclamation? They're not Scripture, nor homiletic, so they shouldn't be delivered from the ambo. They're a modest teaching. So let the presider say them from the chair. Let the lector turn toward the presider and listen.
Print this page, cut it at the blue lines, and give the introduction paragraphs to the person who will speak them.
|Feast of Christ the King, Year A, November 23, 2014|
Before the first reading:
In the crisis of their exile in Babylon, the princes and priests of Israel failed to shepherd the people faithfully. So through the prophet Ezekiel, God promises to eliminate the middle-men and care for the people directly.
After the psalm, before the second reading:
In a very early letter, for an anxious Christian community, Saint Paul tries to answer the big questions about our resurrection from the dead and the end of the world. Surprisingly, Paul puts those big questions into an even larger context.
Before the gospel acclamation:
Saint Matthew makes a sweeping connection between our day-to-day choices and the end of the world.
To pay for use of the words above, please subtract an equal number of optional words from other places in the liturgy (click here for some suggestions).
But Paul says that Christ has an even bigger agenda. He is to subject all cosmic powers to himself, and then to God. It's in that larger context that our resurrection is to occur. Perhaps our questions about what our resurrection will be like would seem trivial to Paul, when he's thinking on the grandest of scales.
Modern readers should remember that our view of the cosmos is quite simplified compared to that of the ancients. We believe in one God (in three Persons), and one devil, each of whom has an undetermined number of angels in his service. Then there's the material universe, and us, and that's all. Ancient writers, in contrast, thought of a more complex universe. They believed there were layers of spiritual powers, all unseen and probably competing, with more or less interest in human affairs. Even Moses didn't insist that there were no gods beside Yahweh, just that Israel shouldn't worship them. Saint Paul, centuries later, calls them not gods but sovereignties, authorities and powers. Christ, upon his return, is to subject them all to himself, and turn them over to his Father.
So what, the modern reader may ask. Well, it just means that this Christ, who took our flesh and endured our death, did so as part of a mission more broad than we might think. And the Father whom he reveals to us is God of more than the earth. This is the grand context in which we hope to rise from the dead. Copernicus may have kicked us out of the center of the universe, but Saint Paul places us unashamedly at the center of the eternal, all-encompassing plan of God.
Proclaiming It: The lector should find this more than a bit intimidating. The second half of this passage deserves the most solemn, dignified proclamation you can muster. I don't like the punctuation supplied by the translators in this part of the passage:
then,at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end, ... That second clause marks a new logical section, and deserves a pause before you start it. Slow down your reading dramatically here. You're describing the climax of all, not just human, history.
|Several other commentaries on these passages. All are thoughtful, all
quite readable, from the scholarly to the popular. |
Links may be incomplete more than a few weeks before the "due date."
Lutheran pastor and college teacher Dan Nelson's notes for a study group. Dan explains the texts verse-by-verse, and sometimes word-by-word, with cross-references to other Bible passages. Especially useful if you're puzzled about the meaning of a word or phrase in the readings.
Archived weekly column of the late Father Francis X. Cleary, S.J. (Log in using 0026437 and 63137.) From the site of the Saint Louis Review.
|Father Roger Karban of Belleville, Illinois, USA, writes a newspaper column about every Sunday's readings. Here are his essays for today's passages, from: Read all of Father Karban's recent columns here, at the site of FOSIL, the Faithful of Southern Illinois.|
|The Text This Week; links to Lectionaries of many churches, homilies, art works, movies touching scriptural themes, and other resources on the week's scripture||
Saint Louis University's excellent new liturgy site
This site posts its pages only a week or two before the given Sunday, and keeps its back issues posted for only about eight weeks.
The Lectionary selections in the frame at the left, if any, are there for your convenience. The publishers of the page in that frame have no connection, except for membership in the one Body of Christ, with the publisher of this page. Likewise the publishers of the pages on the links above.
Last modified: October 6, 2014