This weekend we mark the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Those of you who follow the liturgical calendar closely will remember that the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, is the 34th Sunday (Solemnity of Christ the King). So, just 10 weeks from now, there'll be Christmas carols in the stores and church choirs will be practicing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!
The readings for this coming weekend and commentary on them can be found right here. Gonna have kids with you at Mass? You'll find hints to help the youngsters prepare to hear the Word at this site.
Sunday's first lesson, from Exodus, finds God angry with Israel for their idolatry but Moses intercedes and pleads for the Lord's mercy - which is granted - and the Lord relents in the punishment he had threatened. The gospel is also a message of mercy. The longer form the lectionary offers includes three parables: the parable of the lost sheep; the parable of the lost coin; and the parable of the lost son (more popularly known as the prodigal son). The shorter form of the gospel includes the first two parables but omits the longer of the three (the story of the son which we heard apart from the two shorter parables this past Lent).
I cannot predict whether the shorter or longer form will be proclaimed in your parish but I can promise you some rich food for prayer if you click on the link above and read over all three parables.
The second lesson, from 1st Timothy has Paul confessing his sinful past as a blasphemer, persecutor and arrogant son of a gun. Again, the mercy theme appears: Paul hymns Jesus as the one whose mercy reaches even and especially to those least deserving of it.
Much food for thought in all of these scriptures - don't go hungry! Click and read, learn and pray: be prepared for Sunday's Mass!
The illustrations are all by John Everett Millais, from his collection of drawings on the parables of Christ, published in 1864.
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