Sunday Readings 27/01/13


The revelation of the Christ proclaimed in the Epiphany, Baptism and Wedding Feast of Cana is continued in the opening of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel of Luke. The Lectionary has the exordium of the Gospel – Luke’s intent and purpose – and then fast-forwards to the events immediately following the Baptism. The theme of the presence of the Spirit, a thread of Luke’s Gospel, is clearly portrayed, as Jesus stands and reads from Isaiah 61:1-2 and proclaims that the definitive fulfilment of this text is occurring. He activates the Jubilee as the anointed one [Messiah] in this, the oldest written account of a synagogue service in any literature (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21). The rather chaotic events and mixed fortunes in the years after the return from Exile in Babylon are portrayed in Ezra and Nehemiah. Clearly the author wishes to show how crucial to the unity of the people is the proclamation of the Torah. This would be a prototype of the Sabbath Synagogue service which developed during and after the Exile, where the reading of the Torah and its explanation became a parallel to worship and sacrifice in the Temple (Nehemiah 8:2-6.8-10). St. Paul spells out his analogy of the human body to teach the nature of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-30).

Dei Verbum Chapter VI, Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church, begins with a powerful statement about the Scriptures: ‘The Church has always venerated the divine Scripture as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the Sacred Liturgy, to partake of the bead of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the body of Christ.’ (DV 21) This clearly builds on the veneration of the Scriptures that we see in Nehemiah and that which the Lord Jesus himself would have had for the Scriptures in the synagogue. The paragraph continues by stating that the Scriptures present the unalterable form of God’s own Word and that all preaching ‘as indeed the entire Christian religion’ needs to be nourished and ruled by Sacred Scripture.’ (DV 21)

Canon Mervyn Tower

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