OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Today’s Gospel in an answer to a very simple question: who is this Jesus we follow ? What is he like ? He tells us himself: he is gentle, and humble of heart. There is a simplicity about this Gospel which speaks very clearly to tired hearts. Indeed, it is often the case that we overlook the simplicity of the Gospel message - which is why it is valuable to be as children, constantly wondering and marvelling at the beauty and fascination of Jesus. How much God must love us: the message of salvation is so easy to receive, the promise is so welcome. This is a Sunday to wallow in the wonder of a God who is ‘kind and full of compassion.’

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10.
 
At the centre of this passage is a remarkable contrast: the victorious king, in his triumph procession, is described as ‘humble’. For us, victory and humility seem to be concepts that sit together uneasily: this reading makes it perfectly clear that when we are talking about God, we have a King who perfectly combines humility and victory (as we see  in the cross). A further interesting feature about this king: having won his victory, he will abolish the trappings of war, and proclaim peace - with no thought of further conquest or empire. As you proclaim this reading, your voice should have a tone of gladness and triumph, but also of amazement at what this king actually is. Especially emphasise the contrast in lines four and five: ‘he is victorious, he is triumphant - humble and riding on a donkey...’ [Note: in the last two lines: ‘sea to sea’ = from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea; ‘the River’ is the Euphrates.]
 
Second Reading: Romans 8:9.11-13.
 
Paul explores another contrast: here between the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘unspiritual’. The ‘spiritual’ life we must lead is a life which follows the dictates of the Holy Spirit living within us. It is not following an external example, but allowing the divine life within us (by Baptism) to dictate how we live. Obviously, this reading addresses all of us gathered in church. Prepare the first paragraph carefully: the second sentence is rather awkward: ‘him/he who raised Jesus from the dead’ is a title; stress ‘living in you’ (twice) and ‘will give life’. Bring out each contrast strongly: ‘spiritual’/’unspritual’; ‘doomed to die’/’you will live’. It is difficult to sum up the way this reading should be proclaimed: you need to practice reading it aloud, in order to ensure that the pauses and stresses allow the meaning to be grasped by the listeners.

From the Catechism

Knowledge of mysteries of Christ, communion in his mysteries
CCC 514-521

The Father is revealed by the Son
CCC 238-242

The resurrection of the body
CCC 989-990

CCC 238 - 240
Many religions invoke God as "Father". The deity is often considered the "father of gods and of men". In Israel, God is called "Father" inasmuch as he is Creator of the world. Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, "his first-born son". God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is "the Father of the poor", of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection.

By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.

Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Gospel Wordsearch