Lector's Notes

Easter Sunday, Years A, B & C, April 20, 2014
Lectionary index # 42

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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.


Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014
Before the first reading:

This is the apostle Peter's first speech before an audience of Gentiles. Peter has only recently become convinced that the Gentiles are even part of God's plan. He summarizes the whole gospel for them.
After the psalm, before the Colossians reading:

Saint Paul often writes about how Christ should influence our behavior. This passage is about how our thoughts should change, as a result of the resurrection of Jesus.
After the psalm, before the 1 Corinthians alternative reading:

Saint Paul invokes images from the art of baking, and from the historic passover of the Jews escaping slavery, to express the transformation that the risen Christ works in us.
Before the gospel acclamation:

[Give no introduction to this gospel passage.]

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 10:34, 37-43 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Historical Situation: This is Peter's first speech to a Gentile audience, new territory for him. Your proclamation of it will be better if you walk a mile in his sandals first by reading all of Acts, Chapter 10. You'll see what a big change Peter had to go through before he could speak to this group.

Proclaiming It: His speech is a systematic summary of the gospel:

End of story.

Second Reading, Colossians 3:1-4 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

Our Liturgical Setting: All through Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Vigil we've been hearing about change and newness that come from our relationship with Christ. In this reading, what we're told to change what we think about: heavenly things as opposed to earthly things. Yes, that is quite vague, as are the details of how we will appear in glory.

Proclaiming It: But the point is not to put a fine point on the details. Rather, communicate once again that we're different because of Christ. Don't worry about saying how we are different. Just use your voice, with lots of contrasting tones, to make a poetic statement about change. You're poetic when the way you say things expresses the content of what you're saying. So a person hearing you read this should have a very different experience from one who simply reads the same words to herself silently.

Alternate Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Historical Situation: When the Hebrew slaves were about to be liberated from Egypt, the Lord instructed them to prepare bread without yeast, since there wouldn't be time to wait for the yeast to make the bread rise. This led to the custom of eating unleavened bread at the annual celebration of this liberation, Passover. It led to a related custom, the throwing out of all yeast products right before Passover.

Paul uses these images to make the Christians at Corinth understand how different their lives are to be, now that they are in Christ. How different? As different as before and after the original Passover, that is, as different as slavery and freedom. Passover imagery carries this weight. The yeast becomes a metaphor for sin, which should be absent from the new dough or new bread that is the Christian renewed in Christ.

Proclaiming It: This imagery is subtle, and likely to escape unprepared listeners, who are more distracted than usual on this singular Sunday. So read slowly, emphasizing each new image as it comes along: yeast, dough, loaves, bread.


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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
In this essay for year A, Dan covers Acts 10:34-43, Jeremiah 31:1-6, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:1-10
Father Roger Karban's 2011 column

Bible Study pages of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, Mississippi
The Text This Week; links to homilies, art works, movies and other resources on the week's scripture themes The Center for Liturgy of Saint Louis University.

Most welcome here are Reginald Fuller's commentaries on the readings.

(Caveat lector. As of February 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: February 14, 2014