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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.

Exodus 17:1-7

This story is also told in Numbers 20:2-13. Here it is set at “Horeb” – the name of “Sinai” in the Elohistic and Deuteronomistic source in the Pentateuch.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

The context of this reading is verse 2 (missing in the RC lectionary), the belief that parental virtue results in blessing in the life of the children, and parental vice results in their punishment. Ezekiel responds sarcastically highlighting the unfairness of this.

Philippians 2:1-13

The hymn that Paul is quoting presumably precedes this letter. Paul adds “on the cross”. The shock in the hymn in an honour culture is the teaching that shame leads to honour. Philippi was a Roman colony with many there retired from the army. A lot of the imagery needs to be read against the background of Genesis 1-3, and also the imperial cult divinising the emperor.

Matthew 21:23-32

The Mediterranean peasant, living very publicly and having honour central, would have seen the son who said “yes” to his father as honouring his father, not shaming him publicly. This follows verse 23 in which Jesus’ honour is challenged.

Today’s readings online