OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

When we see the child in the sweet shop nagging and moaning at mum or dad for something, we probably don’t think of it as a model of our prayer lives! And yet, if we take the word of God seriously today, that is exactly what our faith teaches us to do! The message is persistence - never giving up, even if prayers do not seem to be answered. We shouldn’t ask why they are not answered on the spot (God’s probably got a reason), but should just continue beating on the door of heaven in faith and hope.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Genesis 18:20-32
 
In one sense this is a very easy reading, since it is a straightforward story, but there are elements that make it very challenging for a reader. The challenge comes from Abraham’s constant, almost irritating repetition of his request - bargaining with God in small steps or stages. The reader has got to try and make it interesting - perhaps the challenge is to think: every time Abraham makes his request, it should sound different - this makes six different ways of asking the same question! You will be helped by looking at the different ways Abraham himself introduces the request: “Do not think of it!” (= bold, assertive), “I who am dust and ashes” (= nervous?), “Perhaps there will...” (chancing it?), “give me leave to speak...” (being reasonable?), “I am bold indeed...” (more confident), and finally “I trust my Lord...” (relief at the last one?). Have a go - see if you can find a different tone to match each of the requests. As a contrast to all this tonal jumping about, notice that God’s answers are always calm, simple and to the point - his great patience shows!
 
Second Reading: Colossians 2:12-14
 
Back to one of Saint Paul’s most important teachings: Jesus Christ has done it all for us - all we have to do is surrender ourselves to is saving action. This is a remarkably rich, though very short reading. It will be more effective if you read very slowly indeed. Try this: after announcing the reading, take a pause and a breath, then fix your eye on the congregation and say “You have been buried with Christ, when you were baptised.”  Then let that sentence hang in the Church for a moment, before moving on - make sure you give the people time to think about what they are hearing. Do this throughout this reading. Watch your pauses: make sure you put one in after “you have been raised up with him” otherwise the sentence will get mangled. Also be conscious of the balancing of opposites, something Paul is very fond of. Keep a tone of triumph for the last line “by nailing it to the cross.”
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.