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Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, November 16, 2014
Lectionary index # 157

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.

Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, November 16, 2014
Before the first reading:

Writing about five centuries before Jesus, the author of Proverbs wanted to remind fellow Jews that they were a people close to God, with a healthy civilization and admirable wisdom. The behavior of a capable, practical wife expresses this wisdom.
After the psalm, before the second reading:

The earliest Christians were sure that the return of Jesus in glory, bringing history to its climax, would occur in their lifetimes. Saint Paul tells them they can't know the day or hour, but that they always feel prepared nonetheless, because they live in the light.
Before the gospel acclamation:

Jesus told a story about an honest slave resisting the plans of a wicked master. A later Christian community was concerned about when Jesus would return, and how to live in the interim. Matthew adapts the the old story to their needs.

First reading, Proverbs 3:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

Our Liturgical Setting: Today's gospel, Matthew 25:14-30, is, one one level, about using one's talents and being accountable for that use. It's the second-last in this year's series of episodes from Matthew.

The editors of the lectionary usually choose the first reading in light of the day's gospel. The book of Proverbs is the best place to turn for practical advice about keeping busy in worthwhile ways. And this reading happily echoes last Sunday's first reading, where wisdom was personified as a woman.

Proclaiming It: Pronounce "distaff" with a short "i" and the accent on the first syllable. (A distaff is an instrument used in spinning thread.) Pause after the line "[She] extends her arms to the needy," because there's a break in the thought there.

Second Reading, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Historical Situation: The "times and seasons" in the first sentence refer to the time when Jesus would return in glory, to judge the world and bring history to its end. Paul's audience believed that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again very soon! That's the context of this exhortation to stay ready. However, elsewhere in the same letter, Paul urges the same audience not to abandon their day-to-day responsibilities just because they're sure Jesus is about to return.

Proclaiming It: Emphasize the phrase "day of the Lord" in the second sentence. Do the same for the expression "that day" in the second paragraph. Also, let your voice express the contrasts throughout the reading.

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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 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.
Today Dan covers a first reading from Zephaniah, plus the second reading and gospel common to both our Lectionaries.

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 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
Most welcome here are Reginald Fuller's commentaries.

(Caveat lector as of October 6, 2014. Lector's Notes' author is speculating about the exact future 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: October 6, 2014