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Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.

The Word This Week

Humble behaviour is the mark of the Christian, as it always was the mark of someone “in favour with the Lord.” In the Gospel, we see Jesus watching the Pharisees: it’s almost amusing to picture them shuffling for the best places, the polite “After you!” to put themselves in a better position. How would they have reacted to his teaching? They may well have remembered the passage we read from the Old Testament, and realised that Jesus was teaching the teachers something they should be well aware of.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Ecclesiasticus 3:17-20.28.

This reading has a natural rhythm - it is phrased in two-line sections. You should see each couplet as a unit, and allow a pause after each one. This will allow the reading to flow in its natural rhythm. Each line has at least one “key word” which will be the point to “lean on”: for example, in the first couplet it could be: “My son, be gentle in carrying out your business, and then you will be better loved than a lavish giver.” In general the tone is itself gentle, encouraging and calm - though you may want to make a slight change in tone for lines 7 and 8 - which talk of the incurable malady of the proud man - this perhaps could be a little darker, a little more severe, before returning to the positive reflection on the sensible man. Be careful with the last line - don’t hurry it, and watch the two last words: “sage’s dream” is rather difficult to enunciate clearly, and the congregation could easily miss this rather unusual expression: give it extra weight and extra clarity to make sure people get the point.


Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-24.

Another “special effects” reading - but rather than pictures on the screen, here we deal with pictures in the mind. You, the reader, must take these words on the page and turn them into something exhilarating. First: make sure you know what it all means: the glory of God is the most amazing thing possible, and we have come to it. This reading is meant to excite and to stimulate those who hear it. Second, look for the “key words” - those words that turn this into a dramatic reading: by using the power of the “key words” it will help the proclamation: such words are: “blazing”, “ trumpeting”, “beg”, “living”, “millions of angels”, “citizen of heaven”, “God himself” and so on. These are the expressions that will take a flat piece of writing, and transform it into “nothing known to the senses”! Try and enjoy both your preparation and proclamation of this - it will make a difference.



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