Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
These Sundays of Ordinary Time will not appear every year, since the great solemnities of Pentecost, Trinity and Corpus Christi will displace them. So it can be a bit of an abrupt jump back into the pattern of readings for this season – not readings chosen to celebrate a particular feast or mystery, but the Sunday by Sunday continuous reading of the Gospel and Apostolic Letters. So this Sunday we drop back into Saint Luke’s Gospel with the dramatic story of the raising of the widow’s son in the town of Nain. A ‘theme’ that can unite the scriptures today is found in the psalm: “For me you have changed my mourning into dancing.” Our faith is that the death and resurrection of Jesus has changed death forever – just as both Jesus and Elijah changed it in the stories read today. Christians will mourn the death of loved ones, just as Jesus himself wept over his friend Lazarus: but Christian mourning, while acknowledging grief, will also contain - in Jesus - the hope of dancing, the hope of life, the hope of resurrection, as revealed in the stories we hear today.
Notes for Readers
First Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24
Obviously this passage is chosen to complement the Gospel, showing Elijah, the prophet of God, performing the same sign of the kingdom of God that Jesus will in the Gospel. For the reader this is storytelling: make sure your congregation is settled and ready to listen! The very first line is a little abrupt, but is important for understanding what is going on – wait, pause, take your time and deliver it very clearly. When telling the story, make sure to distinguish the voices of the widow and Elijah – without overacting, of course! Notice that there is a frustration – even an anger – in their words, which you should allow the congregation to feel. The final part of the story should be delivered with great confidence.
Second Reading: Galatians 1:11-19
Saint Paul is being very autobiographical here, explaining something of himself. This is a good reminder to the congregation of why the letters of Saint Paul are so important in our Sunday worship. Paul is a very logical writer, and you can almost see him ticking off the points he wants to make on his fingers in this passage! Make you take it very slowly and clearly. The background to the first sentence is that Paul has obviously been accused of making up this Gospel, and he wants to emphasise that this is not the case – his message was given him by God. Underline the word “not” in the first line, and see how this emphasis returns in the rest of the passage – such as in the words “I did not stop to discuss this with any human being.” Note that Cephas is Saint Peter.