Reflection on Sunday Mass Readings

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5th July 2020

There are three paradoxes in today’s readings.

First paradox: we expect power to be hard (war), but real power is gentle (peace). The image from Zechariah foreshadows Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday — ‘Your king comes to you, victorious, triumphant: humble and riding on a donkey’.

Second paradox: Jesus reveals and invites. God reveals his truth, not to the powerful and highly educated, but to the little ones. ‘Mere’ in the translation sounds disparaging. It is not in the Greek text. The Greek word means ‘infants’ — the little ones. Pope Francis quotes this text in his beautiful  document, Gaudete et Exsultate, when he speaks of the Church (the parish included) discerning the will of God:

“Discernment requires no special abilities, nor is it only for the more intelligent or better educated. The Father readily reveals himself to the lowly” (see Matthew 11:25).

Third paradox (Second Reading): we see body and spirit as opposed. But our bodies depend on the spirit, and on the Holy Spirit. “ He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you”.

The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The message in the Gospel is strong and reassuring: “Do not be afraid”. It appears three times in this Gospel reading, and we’re told that the same message occurs 365 times in the whole Bible. That is emphatic! The other readings tell us why we don’t need to be afraid.

In the first reading we find: “The Lord is at my side, a mighty hero”. In the responsorial psalm there is the confident prayer: “In your great love, answer me, O God, with your help that never fails”, and in the second reading we are told about the source of our salvation: “Divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift”, and wiped out the effects of Adam’s sin, reconciling us to God.