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Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, July 27, 2014
Lectionary index # 109

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.

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, July 27, 2014
Before the first reading:

A set of histories in the Hebrew Scriptures tell of a long-repeated cycle of virtue and decline, punishment, repentance, and forgiveness. The cycle applies to the people, to their priests and their kings. This is the story of a high point in the life of Judah's third king.
After the psalm, before the second reading:

Earlier in the letter to the Romans, Saint Paul described revolutionary changes in the ways God deals with his people. Paul gives repeated assurances that the changes don't endanger our salvation, they enhance it.
Before the gospel acclamation:

Jesus describes some moments of unbelievably good fortune, for which people will pay the greatest price possible. He asks how that compares to our desire for the kingdom of God.

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, 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

Our Liturgical Setting: Today's gospel, Matthew 13:44-52, concludes a long series of parables about the reign of God. Summing them up, Jesus praises those who have listened carefully and understood. This praise of the wise in today's gospel seems to justify this choice of first reading. It's the famous story of Solomon's request for wisdom.

The Historical Situation: In the Hebrew Scriptures there is a large section of history divided, somewhat arbitrarily, into the books from Joshua to 2 Kings. The drama consistently goes like this: God is good to the people and asks only their fidelity; the people and their leaders (kings, priests and prophets) sin, usually by idolatry; God angrily punishes them, often through an enemy nation; the people suffer and ask forgiveness; God grants mercy and the cycle begins again. Today's reading tells of a spiritual high point in the life of King Solomon, but other chapters predictably tell of his sins.

Proclaiming It: You should read this as a story, that is, dramatically, making the voices of the speakers sound like real dialog. I don't mean this irreverently, but think of how you would tell a child a story about a beachcomber who finds a brass lamp; a genie emerges and offers the finder three wishes ... Today's first reading has a similar dramatic character, although theologically it's miles above anything in The Arabian Nights.

Your reading should make wisdom sound like the most desirable thing on earth. Make God sound absolutely delighted to grant Solomon's wish. Make your listeners want to ask God for wisdom. Make them want wisdom more than they want a winning lottery ticket or a brass lamp.

Second Reading, Romans 8:28-30 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

First of Two Possible Liturgical Settings: Perhaps the ambitious preacher in your congregation has been speaking about the series of readings from Romans that began in early June. If so, this survey (Click here) of the selections from Romans in the Lectionary this season will help you appreciate where the preacher is going. It may remind you of the ground that your congregation has recently covered. That, in turn, will inform your proclamation, so you can help all to move forward another step.

Proclaiming it in Another Possible Liturgical Setting: But maybe no one is helping your community tune in to this challenging letter. Still, there are two sayings here that might fall on some eager ears.

Extra! Each Sunday passage from Romans in context: Click here to see a table summarizing the readings from Romans from the 9th to the 24th Sundays of Ordinary Time, this year.

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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

Archived 2002 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: 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.

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 liturgy site. (In 2008, SLU offered an excerpt from 'Living Liturgy'; Encounter the Word with John Kavanaaugh, S. J.; Historical Cultural Context of this Sunday's Gospel; Thoughts from the Early Church Fathers; Prepare for Sunday with Larry Gillick, S. J.; Scripture in Depth with Reginald Fuller)

Most welcome here are Reginald Fuller's commentaries.

(Caveat lector as of June 5, 2014. Lector's Notes' author is speculating about the exact future URL of SLU's pages for this Sunday, since they're 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: June 5, 2014