The Lectionary says any
readings from the order of funeral masses may be read today. Check with your liturgy committee or preacher. Some of the possible readings are treated here, in the customary Lector's Notes way. Eventually all will be discussed.
The Historical and Theological Background:
This part of Isaiah is set near the end of Judah's exile in Babylon. The prophet proclaims, predictably, that the people will be restored to their homeland. (The mountain in verse 6 is Zion, the hill in the center of Jerusalem on which stood the Temple, symbol of their nationhood.) But Isaiah introduces a twist that takes this prophecy beyond feel-good nationalism. Notice the universal scope of what he predicts: a feast for all
people, doing away with death for all
people, wiping away tears from every
face, removing the reproach from the whole
earth. It took a courageous prophet to speak of a God whose care extended beyond a single people, when that single people prided itself on its elect status.
Proclaiming It: Of course, emphasize the words that tell the scope of God's care: all, every, whole.
Possible Second Reading, Romans 6:3-9
The Theological Background:
In prior chapters of Romans, Paul has established that God has given us Christ so that, by our relationship with Christ, we might enjoy God's favor. Now Paul is working out some of the implications of that. That Christ was raised from the dead means at least all of the following:
- Our earthly life in Christ is "a new life" even now, empowered already by the resurrection.
- We'll share in Christ's resurrection from the dead in the future.
- We're already as dead to sin (our old way of life) as Christ was dead before his resurrection.
- Baptism is our entrée into this new life.
Proclaiming It: The letter to the Romans is full of vivid contrasts, and these paragraphs have that character in spades.
- death versus life (several times)
- old (implied) versus new
- sin versus God
Vary your pitch as you proclaim the contrasting elements. The congregation should hear the contrasts in your voice. If they're to grasp the contrasts intellectually, they need this help from you.
Extra! This passage in context: Click here to see a table summarizing the readings from Romans from the 9th to the 24th Sundays of Ordinary Time, Year A, of which this passage is a part.
Possible Second Reading, 1 John 3:1-2
|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."
Bible Study pages of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, Mississippi.
Gives a history of the solemnity and treats all these possible readings:
Job 19:1, 23-27
Romans 8:31-35, 37-39
1 John 3:1-2
Saint Louis University's excellent new liturgy site
This site posts its pages only a week before the given Sunday, and keeps its back issues posted for only about eight weeks.
The diocesan newspaper of Belleville, Illinois, in the Midwestern U.S.A., carries the excellent weekly columns by scripture scholar and pastor Father Roger Vermalen Karban. Click on the link and scroll down to see his columns by date.
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 1, 2013