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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

"You have learnt how it was said to your ancestors; but I say this to you."


The Word This Week

 Back in the 60s some groups “adopted” Jesus Christ as an icon of rebellion, overturning authority and tearing up the rule book – possibly because of the frequent confrontations between Our Lord and the Pharisees. Today’s Gospel, however, shows us Jesus not as rule-breaker, but as rule-fulfiller, bringing an even greater depth to the rule that had guided the people of Israel for centuries. Jesus does not throw out the rulebook – or as the first reading says, He does not command us to be godless!  He challenges us in this Gospel to see how far our keeping God’s Law will go: will it just be about the letter of the Law (“I have never killed anyone”), or will it look deeper (“Have I ever been angry? Have I been violent in my thoughts?”). The challenge of the Kingdom of Heaven is to keep the commandments first and foremost from within, so that our outward behaviour conforms to the requirements of God’s Law.


Notes for Readers

First Reading: Ecclesiasticus 15:15-20
Imagine someone has just said to you: “I can’t be doing with all these commandments; no one can keep them all, and anyway God can’t see or isn’t bothered what I do.” This reading is your answer! Interpreting it as a reply will help you get the emphasis on the right words – such as the “can” in the first line or the “is” in the second. Take your time with the passage about choice from line three – it can arrive a little abruptly. Make sure clearly announce  the choices – “fire and water”, “life and death”. Make use of the pattern of two-line phrases in this reading, with generous pause between them.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Your first problem with this reading is vocabulary: watch out for “maturity”, “philosophy”, “mysteries”, and especially “predestination”. Your second problem will be understanding it. Paul is contrasting three things: the wisdom of God taught by the Church, the philosophy of the world, and the opinion of the “masters of this age”. Paul is saying that the Church has been given something from God that the world can never give – a wisdom which has been hidden, unseen, beyond human understanding. As so often, the effectiveness of this reading depends on your phrasing – which you will have to spend some time on, since the punctuation doesn’t always help you out. Focus on the words “…all that God has prepared for those who love him,” and “aim” for this phrase from line one.


Sunday Mass Sheet


This is a two-sided A4 Mass Sheet, which when folded lengthways will give you a thin booklet. Please feel free to download this pdf file and print it out for Parish use.

Mass Sheet Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)




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