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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

"Love your enemies."



The Word This Week


“Love your neighbour as yourself.” These are words we associate so clearly with the teaching of Jesus and the way of life the Gospel calls us to. But it may be a surprise to some people to hear that these words come first from the Old Testament, in the mouth of Moses himself. Moses was speaking the Lord God’s instruction for the community – the community of the people of Israel in flight from Egypt in their long sojourn in the wilderness. God’s instructions were about how that community had to work – without grudges, resentment or vengeance, but with love and forgiveness and tolerance. When Jesus comes with the message of the Kingdom of heaven, it is the same – instruction for a perfect, God-guided society, which depends on how each of us lives with others. The “wisdom of this world”, which Saint Paul mentions in the Second Reading, will not teach us this: the world will believe in vengeance, and friendship only for your friends. Each of us must ask how we can embrace the apparent folly of Jesus’ teaching: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you


Notes for Readers


First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2.17-18

This is a short but powerful reading, in which the word of God comes through Moses to the people – a reminder of the responsibility of the reader! This is a challenging, stern and yet deeply loving message: springing from the holiness of God (a reference that is repeated in the Gospel) there is a very firm instruction to the people about how they are to live – notice (and emphasise) the use of the word “must”. These are short, powerful phrases, so do not rush them – allow each one to hang in the air for a moment, so that people may absorb them and think about them. Notice how the words of God are “topped and tailed” by a reminder of who is speaking – allow a certain solemnity in your announcing those lines.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Paul is here using a strong rhetorical device to get his point across – it is an over emphatic, almost simplistic comparison of the “wisdom of this world” and the wisdom or way of God. This reading is in three short sections: first, a passage about the “temple of God” – Paul is saying it is the Church, the community of the faithful, and that it is sacred and to be kept safe. These words should be addressed directly to the congregation, since they are that temple today. The second section is the contrasting of wisdom and foolishness: Paul dismisses the “arguments of the wise”, saying that they rank as insignificant against God – they might as well be the greatest foolishness. The final passage mentions boasting, and makes a remarkable claim: that everything belongs to the family of the Church, which in turn belongs to Christ. Make sure that you “change gear” suitably between these three sections, and allow the central message of each to come to your listeners.

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 Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)




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