Daily Archives: August 20, 2006

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Again with the early Mass, and again with a priest whose name I don’t catch. He’s a severe, jowly looking guy, and I fear him immediately. Then he lets us off the hook, skipping the Confiteor, going straight to the Kyrie. Whew. I’m liking him more and more already.

Then for his homily he’s really terrific and engaging, and so then he’s thoroughly won me over. Not scary at all, I decide.

The readings are pretty much a continuation of last week, with the Bread of Life motif going on. (The Gospel reading is a direct continuation, from last week’s verses forty-one through fifty-one and today’s fifty-one through fifty-eight.) (And the Responsorial Psalm is the very same exact on as last week, only minus verses eight and nine.)

 The reading from the Book of Wisdom anthropomorphizes wisdom as a woman, here setting a banquet for the simple:

To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.

Apparently, casting Wisdom as a woman is (or was) a common literary device. And in this instance it works really well, I think, with the Gospel reading from St. John, with wisdom, with words, becoming our nourishment, and St. John famously begins his Gospel with the logos, with the word, with “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God.”

The Father in his homily tells us that Jesus was being deliberately provocative in telling the elders that they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, purposefully invoking the taboo against cannibalism to drive home his point that this was a whole new completely changed world that he was causing to come to be.

The recessional hymn is God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending, another hymn sung to the tune of Rustington. We had God Has Spoken By His Prophets back on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. And apparently there’s another as well, See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph. Don’t know if that’s also in our Worship hymnal. Very quick research tells me that Rustington was written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who also wrote the music to the lovely Blake’s Jerusalem.