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Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

They all ate as much as they wanted

The Word This Week

Divine providence is a wonderful thing: God is so generous with his creation (it is human greed that denies some their rightful share). The Kingdom of God is the time and place when this vision will be fully realised, when all who wish may ‘come to the water’, when all who are hungry may ‘eat as much as they want’, when what is left over is still enough for all the twelve tribes of Israel. Our contemplation of the kingdom of God, through the parables and miracles of Jesus, should stir us up to build this kingdom here and now. The miracle of Divine providence is allowed to work when human greed and selfishness give way to the power of the Spirit working within us, and we share all we have with those in need. Our hearts are set on the kingdom of God, where there is corn and wine and milk in abundance.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-3

The tone of this reading will be conveyed if you get the first line the Lord says right: the ‘Oh’ is not gratuitous or unnecessary - it speaks of the longing of the Lord for his people to return to him. You’ll have to practice to get it right! Really imagine you are speaking to a hungry and thirsty congregation, and that you have food and drink to offer them. Allow the Lord to use your mouth to issue his invitation. There is a question half way down. As usual, leave a pause after it for people to consider their answer. Then the repetition of the word ‘listen’ in line seven should be emphasised - the Lord really wants us to hear him! Try to put a world of fulfilment into the words ‘and your soul will live’ - there is no greater promise. This is a beautiful reading, but definitely one to practice out loud beforehand, so that all the phrasing and the tone of voice can come out effectively.


Second Reading: Romans 8:35.37-39

The dominant feature of this is Paul’s absolute conviction: it begins with a statement which presumes no argument, and continues when Paul says ‘I am certain of this...’ The reader must proclaim with the same conviction with which Paul writes. To start effectively, you must make sure you pause slightly after announcing the reading (you should do this at all times): this allows the explosive ‘Nothing...’ to resound. The reading has two long lists, first of the troubles that can afflict us, and then of the things that cannot come between us and God: when reading each list, allow a crescendo, building up to the triumphant conclusions. This is a beautiful piece of prose - enjoy it!


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