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28th 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 32:1-14

Those hearing/reading this story know that Moses will be on the mountain forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:18). They also realise that the Hebrew people in the story do not know this. The story anticipates/is reminiscent of Jeroboam’s calves (1 Kings 12:25-33) which functioned as pedestals for the deity. Hence the incongruous “These are your gods” (Exodus 32:4) for what is here given as a singular calf.

Isaiah 25:1-9

Isaiah Chapters 24 to 27 form the apocalypse of Isaiah, probably originating in the late sixth, early fifth century BCE. In the honour-shame culture death and dishonour are identified.

Philippians 4:1-9

Lists of virtues were common in Stoicism and other virtue-ethical systems in Hellenistic philosophy. This short list is all derivable from agape love and is primarily concerned about keeping the unity of the Christian community.

Matthew 22:1-14

This is the third and fourth of four allegorical parables (Matthew 21:28 – 22:14). The third (22:1-10) – see also Gospel of Thomas 64 – repeats aspects of the second (21:33-46). The historical context of Matthew’s 22:7 appears to be the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 CE. Landowners and businessmen (22:5) are appropriately invited to a King’s son’s wedding banquet. Declining the invitation shames the king. The retaliation of the king restores his honour – but inviting “everyone” subverts the honour-shame cultural context. Yet even in this second group, someone shames the king by declining to put on the wedding robe provided by the king.

Today’s readings online