Reach out, reach out and touch someone!

That's just what the Lord wants to do: reach out and touch someone! Touch everyone! Touch YOU (and me)!

At Sunday Mass the Lord reaches out to us in two ways, from two tables: in word and sacrament, from the table of the scriptures and from the table of the Eucharist. It's helpful to prepare for what the Lord offers us and a great way to do this is to ponder and pray over the scriptures we'll hear this weekend. You can find those texts here.

The scriptures are an ancient source and not always easy to understand at first glance. So you might want to travel to St. Louis University (here's your boarding pass) to read some background comments on this Sunday's Word.

Your comments and questions on these scriptures are helpful to me as I work with them to prepare my homily.

ConcordPastor will check in later this week to see if you've done your homework!


  1. I think that blogs can be a little like newspapers. Who reads yesterday's newspaper? Since I'm too slow to respond (even in a few days) I anticipated the assignment for this week and I'm prepared (sort of) early. Excuse the length !

    I have been following these excercises and wondered how the Church collects the readings for a particular Sunday. Assuming the selection of the three readings and the psalm aren't random, couldn't this provide a clue to the meaning of the scripture?. After all, while the meaning is expected to be personal and timely, the homily tries to grasp an appropriate meaning for the whole community.

    But in keeping with the spirit of the excercise I compiled a mini-concordance from the readings of the 27th, 28th and 29th Sundays to find my own clue. I was surprised and a little excited by what I found.

    1. I see the prominent item in these three sets of readings to be faith, if not the word itself then the idea.

    Habakuk concludes (reading I, 27th Sunday): "The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live". Naaman concludes (reading I, 28th Sunday): "for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD." At the word of Moses (reading I, 29th Sunday) the Isrealites persevered.

    Paul speaks of faith in the three readings. For the 27th Sunday: "Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." For the 28th Sunday: If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself." For the 29th Sunday: "Beloved: Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, "

    In the gospel for the 27th Sunday the apostles ask Jesus: "Increase our faith." For the 28th Sunday Jesus says to the leper who had fallen at His feet: , "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." For the 29th Sunday Jesus concludes: "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

    2. The way faith is employed, at least in the first and third readings suggest two themes in interpreting the readings: a moral theme and a mystical theme. The moral theme seems to be subordinate to the mystical theme, but supported by the mystical theme.

    In the readings for the 29th Sunday the moral theme of perseverance stands out in reading I, and I don't explicitly see the mystical theme here. Almost the same thing is true for the gospel reading except for Jesus' final statement: "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" This may seem like non-sequitur, but consider the Samaritan in last week's gospel: "and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan". And consider Naaman's stement after being cured: "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant." Elisha replied, "As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;". Don't they suggest that Naaman, a foreigner, really sensed the divine presence (which Elisha realized), and that the Samaritan who fell at Jesus' feet, and who might recall the Samaritan woman in John's Gospel, sensed the divine presence. This is the mystical theme. The ominous question of Jesus, “will the Son of Man find faith on earth”, might acknowledge man's moral efforts but signal the inadequacy of the moralism of the law without an awareness of God.

    I will try to apply this pattern of interpretation further and see where it leads.

  2. How does the Church collect the readings for a particular Sunday?"

    The Sunday readings follow a three year plan. In year A, the gospel readings follow loosely a consecutive reading of passages from Matthew. In Year B, Mark and in year C, Luke. The consecutive sequence is sometimes interrupted by particular feasts and seasonal considerations. (John's gospel is featured in the Lent/Easter seasons and on other occasions.)

    The first scripture is from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) except for the Easter season. The first reading is chosen to be thematically consonant with the day's gospel passage.

    The second reading is chosen from relatively continuous readings from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). In the major seasons (Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter) the second reading is also thematically consonant with the gospel but through the rest of the year (the "green" Sundays of Ordinary Time) the second reading is thematically independent of the other two.

  3. Forgot to comment on the selection of the psalm!

    On most Sundays the psalm is meant to complement the first reading. In special seasons and on particular feasts, the psalm may have a more general complementarity with the texts and the celebration.

  4. I applaud Just Thinking for the in-depth approach to reading the scriptures!

  5. A long time ago, someone sent me the real photo in an effort to reiterate that we all need to reach out. I took that to heart, although not as much as I would like, but I think it's a great photo to use to help folks who may need to reach out and touch someone!


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!