OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Both first reading and Gospel today invite us to be “down to earth” about the Law of God. It’s very easy to become an “expert in religion” - knowing all the right answers, remembering all the right quotes, and so on. But for Moses and for Jesus, if God’s Law is to be kept anywhere, it must be in our hearts and in our everyday lives. We are not to be concerned with keeping our eyes fixed on heaven, if it means that we cannot see the poor man at our feet.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14
 
If you have ever seen those wonderful epic Old Testament films, you may well see Moses as an imposing, bearded figure, thundering God’s Word out to a vast crowd. But today’s selection seems slightly different: it’s not cajoling, and it’s not humour, but it’s something similar. There is a peculiar intimacy about this reading - almost as if Moses is letting the people in on a secret, while pleading with them at the same time. We start with a bit of thundering in the first paragraph - this is a bald, bare statement, with no compromising or watering down: read accordingly. But then the tone changes, with the phrase “beyond your strength or beyond your reach”: this is almost a kinder, more understanding Moses, who is still going to insist on keeping the Law of God exactly, but in a different way. There are two wonderful examples of things people might say: the Law up in the heavens, or across the sea - there might well be a (humorous?) lilt in your voice as you read them. But then the last sentence is the whole point of this reading: the Law is here and now: and Moses (and you) patiently explain this comforting and challenging fact.
 
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20
 
We begin reading this letter with this great hymn praising Christ, the beginning of the Church. The hymn is in two parts: first Christ at Creation, then Christ as first in the Church. The meaning is fairly clear in this passage - Paul uses shorter phrases and sentences. One word to stress whenever it comes up is “all”: Paul is keen to emphasise that all things are in Him and belong to Him. One of the most important general rules is that whenever a reading is printed in “sense lines” (as this is) you should use those lines to give shape and pauses to the reading. (This is also why you should, if possible, always prepare from the Lectionary rather than a Sunday Missal or Missalette.)
Pieter Pourbus "The Last Judgment"

From the Catechism

The final tribulation and Christ’s return in glory
CCC 668-677, 769
 
“Come, Lord Jesus!”
CCC 451, 671, 1130, 1403, 2817
 
Humble vigilance of heart
CCC 2729-2733
 
1130: “The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord "until he comes," when God will be "everything to everyone." Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit's groaning in the Church: Marana tha! The liturgy thus shares in Jesus' desire: "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you . . . until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while "awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus." The "Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come . . . Come, Lord Jesus!'"

Gospel Wordsearch

Click on the box to the left to get this week's Gospel based Wordsearch. Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.