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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Out of a seemingly innocent question comes the dark shadow of the cross: Jesus must teach his disciples that to be the “Anointed One”, “the Christ”, means to follow the path of sacrifice to the very end. He is not a King who comes with armies, but a King who comes with truth and humility, prepared to die for that truth about God’s Kingdom. But the mourning is always to be seen in the light of Easter - “being raised on the third day”, when “a fountain will be opened”, the fountain of Baptism and eternal life in the death and resurrection of the Lord.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1.

The reader should, in a way, control the thoughts and reactions of the listeners - you don’t just “read”: every reading is actually a conversation - though the congregation’s part is silent, spoken within their hearts. So the reader has to be conscious of how the congregation are reacting to the reading. This is the key to effective proclamation. This reading is an excellent example: you will have to be slow and clear so that the congregation can take in the feeling of the reading - not just the words. So use longer pauses: after “pierced”, “only son” and “first-born child”. Your voice should fall in tone at the end of each phrase, to emphasise that this is all about mourning and sadness. There should be a major pause before the last sentence - you have 23 words to completely change the tone of the reading: use the word “fountain” - joyful and bright in comparison with everything else you have read.


Second Reading: Galatians 3:26-29.

A wonderfully simple reading from Saint Paul, but what a glorious message! Remember, as has been said here before, the Word of God is real and active “here and now”, so when you say “You are, all of you...” at the beginning of this reading, you should really look at the congregation, since it is us that Saint Paul is talking about! Because this is such a short reading, it should be easy to take your time, and emphasise things properly. It can always be good to take a copy of the reading and work out your pauses - marking them if possible: following a reading is difficult if there are no pauses at all, so they are important. An example is this phrase:

“...there are no more distinctions [pause]

                between Jew and Greek [pause]

                slave and free [pause]

                male and female [pause]

                but all of you are one in...”

Try experimenting with pauses and emphasis to get the best effects.