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Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A, May 11, 2014
Lectionary index # 49

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.


Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A, May 11, 2014
Before the first reading:

When Christianity drew pagan converts, they were curious about the short past of their new religion and its long roots in ancient Judaism. This section of Peter's Pentecost preaching tells part of that history.
After the psalm, before the second reading:

The First Letter of Peter wants to give readers a sense of God's providence at work in the turbulent events they were enduring. Today the emphasis is on Jesus' unexpected responses to events in his life.
Before the gospel acclamation:

The original hearers of Saint John's gospel were exposed to many religious choices. Only one of those was the way to life.

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).

First reading, Acts 2:14a, 36-41 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Literary Situation: This is the ringing conclusion of the apostle Peter's first public preaching (and continuation of last Sunday's first reading). The passage is also a summary of the whole gospel message: Who Jesus is, how he saves us, and how we should respond. It deserves a strong, dignified proclamation.

The Theological Background: The titles "Lord" and "Christ" have more significance than meets the eye. "Lord" was a title reserved for God alone. When early Christians realized that God had been made flesh in the person of Jesus, they dared to give him this divine title. "Christ" is the Greek form of the Hebrew word "Messiah," meaning anointed one, that is to say "king," which is to say "long-awaited successor to Kind David," and so the fulfillment of all the hopes based on memory of David's glorious reign. That's what it means to give Jesus the title "Christ."

Your Proclamation: So Peter is telling people: You crucified your God and Messiah, but he has risen from death and offers you forgiveness of your sins. Of course they were cut to the heart. Your job as lector is to let today's congregation hear words that have that power.

So pause dramatically between the words of Peter's last sentence:

"God ... has ... made ... both... LORD ... and ... CHRIST ...... this Jesus whom you crucified."

Don't be afraid of overdoing it. It should give you, the lector, goose pimples to proclaim this; the congregation's response will be milder, but significant, which is just right.

Second Reading, 1 Peter 2:20b-25. [Jerusalem Bible translation]


Our Liturgical Setting: The writer of the First Letter of Peter wants to give his audience a sense of God's providential plan working out in the course of their lives and in the history of which they have become a part. The "shepherd" reference in the last verse links this to the day's gospel.

Proclaiming It: Three kinds of contrast call for our attention and expressive proclamation:

Keep these contrasts in mind; pretend your hearers don't have the text in front of them. You'll know what to do at the lectern.


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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 wrote about our first reading on an earlier Sunday,
and covers our second reading and gospel today.
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: courtesy of The Evangelist, official publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York, or of The Belleville Messenger, of the Diocese of Belleville.

Read all of Father Karban's recent columns here, at the site of FOSIL, the Faithful of Southern Illinois.

Archived 2002 column of Father Francis X. Cleary, S.J. (Log in using 0026437 and 63137.) The Text This Week; links to homilies, art works, movies and other resources on the week's scripture themes Saint Louis University's excellent new site for Liturgy preparation

Most welcome here is Reginald Fuller's commentary on all the readings.

(Caveat lector. As of April 1, 2014, Lector's Notes' author is speculating about the exact URL of SLU's offering, since it's not yet posted. If you get a 404 Not Found, try here).

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.


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Last modified: April 1, 2014