Seventh Sunday of Easter (C)
The Word This Week
Notes for Readers
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 7:55-60
This is a very straightforward reading, which should present few difficulties. As always with a story, make sure you take your time, so that the congregation can use their imaginations and see what you are describing. Given that this Sunday if full of ex-pectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, make sure you don’t lose the first phrase, especially the words “Filled with the Holy Spirit.” The little throw away reference to “Saul” is important – it is this Saul who will later become Saint Paul, whose letters you proclaim almost every week! Notice the change of tone – the reading is in three sections: Stephen’s vision, the anger of the council, and the strange contradiction at the end – the very moment of his stoning is filled with peace and prayer. Make sure you find the right voice for each of these three sections.
Second Reading: Apocalypse 22:12-14.16-17.20The notes for last Sunday advised you to see the triumphant glory of Saint John’s vision of the holy city. This week needs to be even more exciting! Notice that all the sentences are short – almost abrupt. This can express a breathless excitement. Remember that the voice John hears is the voice of Jesus: you have a special responsibility here, since normally the words of the Lord are only read by the priest in the Gospel. Take your time, putting in plenty of pauses (though not so long or so many that the reading loses its dramatic momentum). Save something for the last two paragraphs, which are quite unique in the scriptures that you proclaim: notice the repetition of the word “Come,” and emphasise this. Save a big pause before the last paragraph and read it with a Paschal solemnity!