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Trinity Sunday, Year A, June 19, 2011
Lectionary index # 164

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.


Trinity Sunday, Year A, June 19, 2011
Before the first reading:

To address their need for renewal after captivity in Babylon, Jewish leaders retold the story of their ancestors' exodus from Egypt. In this episode, God chooses to do a great act of friendship, according to the custom of the time, revealing his name.
After the psalm, before the second reading:

In pagan Greek Corinth the Christian community had a few factions and some serious misunderstandings of the gospel. In closing his second letter to them, Saint Paul gives advice aimed at unifying and strengthening them.
Before the gospel acclamation:

John's gospel aimed to help some indecisive Christians make the break with their past and embrace Jesus. Early in his gospel, John tells of a Jewish leader inquiring of Jesus. Jesus contrasts his teaching, mission and person with everything the Pharisee expects.

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, Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Historical Situation: Moses has been leading the Hebrews through Sinai on their way to the Promised Land for a long time (thirty-four chapters, by one measure) before he enjoys this revelation from God. To ancient people, it was a very big deal to know the name of a god; they perceived the gods as mysterious and secretive. So for Moses, this is a sacred, privileged moment. A lector should try to capture that in his or her proclamation.

The Theological Background: Our text uses the word "Lord" to render a Hebrew expression that even now is hard for scholars to translate. As close as we can come in Roman letters, it's "Yahweh." A sentence as much as a name, it means something like "I am who am." Yes, that's all. That's the best we can do at rendering the name that God gives himself. Orthodox Jews express their reverence for God by refusing ever to pronounce this name. They substitute the word "Lord" for it when the come upon it in a reading. We observe the same reverent protocol.

Proclaiming It: Your task is simply to pronounce this title/name with all the dignity it deserves. Imagine you are Moses re-telling this story: "And then He finally told me his name. [pause dramatically] . . . It's LORD". [another pause] "Then he said it again, 'The LORD, the LORD, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity' Wow, I was speechless! I bowed down in silent worship. Then I timidly asked Him to accompany us, though we're such rag-tag group."

So when you come to the sentence (where Moses is addressing God), "do come along in our company ...," try to sound like Moses would have sounded: stunned by a divine revelation totally unexpected (divine revelation should always be unexpected), you nevertheless want this God to accompany your unworthy people.

Second Reading, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 [Jerusalem Bible translation]

The Historical Situation: Most of Paul's letters begin with some doctrinal chapters, where he makes theological points and corrects misunderstandings of the gospel. Later chapters of the letters usually deal with community discipline. Then they conclude with affectionate farewells. Our reading today is the conclusion of the second letter to the Corinthians. We see a little of the discipline and the affection.

Proclaiming It: Clearly the editors of our lectionary chose this passage for today because of the trinitarian formula at the very end. Here's a chance for you to practice slowing down your proclamation. Don't speed through these phrases, the way we sometimes speed through the sign of the cross. Make the congregation hear every word, the name of every Person, clearly and distinctly.
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 covers a different first reading and different gospel passage this Sunday.
Bible Study pages of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, Mississippi
In addition to Scripture commentary, this page has an interesting essay about the history of the theology of the Trinity. The theology essays at this site are usually very conservative; this one isn't.
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 weekly 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 Sunday liturgy site

Most welcome here are Reginald Fuller's commentaries.

(SLU keeps its back issues online only about ten 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.


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Last modified: June 6, 2011