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Liturgical Resources for the Year of Mark: …

02 July, 2011

370 pp. The Columba Press. To purchase this book online, go to www.columba.ie



yearmarkoloughlinThis book is most useful for those preparing for Sunday liturgies throughout the year of Mark. It contains a Celebrant’s Guide, commentaries on each of the readings and psalms and homily notes.



Fr Thomas O’Loughlin is Professor of Historical theology at the University of Nottingham and chief editor of the Brepols series: Studia Traditionis Theologiae. He is also a Research Associate in the School of Celtic Studies in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.


Psalm Numbers
The Sequence of Gospel Readings in Year B
The Sequence of Second Readings in Year B
Proclaiming Jesus in Year B
Lectionary Unit I
The Baptism of our Lord (First Sunday of Ordinary Time)
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit II Stage I
Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
‘Celebrants’ or ‘Presidents’?
Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Trinity Sunday
Corpus Christi
Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit II Stage II
Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit II Stage III
Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
John’s Gospel in Mark’s Year
Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit III Stage I
Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Renewing Eucharistic Symbols
Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit III Stage II
Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time
Thirty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary Unit III Stage III
Christ the King (Last Sunday of Ordinary Time)


‘And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old”.’ (Mt 13:52). This saying always puts me in mind of the priest who has to preside week after week at the Sunday Eucharist of the community. Here he is expected to act as the host of the family gathering of the New People, the New People formed as sisters and brothers of the Lord around the Lord’s Table, and he is expected to provide fare for them.

The fare is what this book is about. On the one hand, it is old because the liturgy itself is the great link with the past: with our tradition, with the meal practice of Jesus, and with all the memories of God’s bounty. On the other hand, the liturgy must be ever new: we are not engaging in a pageant but celebrating our identity now as a people transformed, consecrated to become the Body and Blood of the Anointed One. So out of the wealth of our memory as the church we have to be always bringing out treasure for the household that is both new and old. Without the new, the liturgy becomes fossilised; without the old, the liturgy is cut adrift from its origins and its promises.

If this book helps you to recall the old in the midst of the new, and to think of new ideas in the midst of the old, I shall have achieved my aim. In putting these resources together I have tried to keep the average congregation in mind, aware that each local church has to look back and appropriate the riches of the past, but also be open to explore new ideas for celebration and to accept new challenges from our reflection on who we are and where we must go as the People of God. This balance of old with new, in celebrations that strive to express authentically who we are, is the challenge facing us in a world where cultural change becomes ever more rapid. Today, we have to avoid twin temptations: one of ‘just going with the flow’; the other of ‘jamming on the breaks.’ The first temptation imagines that liturgy can exist without the tradition; the second imagines we can isolate liturgy from the world around it. The former temptation plays down the importance of the Communion of Saints, the latter a robust belief in the Incarnation. It is always worth recalling what Picasso is reported to have said about tradition: ‘Tradition is having a baby, not wearing your grandfather’s hat!’

Lampeter Corpus Christi 2008

Psalm Numbers
In the Lectionary and Missal the numbers given to the Psalms follow that given in the Latin Ordo Lectionum which, being in Latin, naturally follows the Vulgate numeration. The Vulgate numeration followed that of the Old Greek translation (‘The Septuagint’) as this was seen as ‘the Psalter of the Church.’ However, most modern books, apart from Catholic liturgical books, follow the numeration of the Hebrew text of the Psalter.

Since this book’s primary referents are the books of the Catholic liturgy, the Septuagint number is given first and the Hebrew numeration is then given in (brackets). The same convention as is used in the English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. See Breviary, vol 1, pp 640*-641* for further information.

For example: The Psalm that begins ‘My heart is ready’ is cited as Ps 107(108).
For convenience here is a concordance of the two numeration systems:

Septuagint Hebrew
1-8 1-8
9 9-10
10-112 11-113
113 114-115
114-115 116
116-145 117-146
146-147 147
148-150 148-150

‘Celebrants’ or ‘Presidents’?
Our throwaway everyday language can be most revealing. How we refer to someone or something in our general references can often show us what we actually think far more than if we were asked to make a careful study of an issue. Likewise, the way we refer to things in our everyday speech can actually mould our attitudes and the way we act without our being aware of it. This is a phenomenon that can be particularly important when it comes to religious matters because language is related directly to our imagination, and it is in our imagination that we see the universe that envelops the physical universe that we touch and see with the senses.

Consider how each of these statements captures a different image, has a different feel, and, indeed, rests on a different theological vision:

A ‘The priest said the Mass at 10, and there was a large congregation of about 100 people.’
B ‘The Parish Priest celebrated the Mass with a congregation of about 100 present.’
C ‘The assembly celebrated the Eucharist with the Parish Priest presiding.’
D ‘The Eucharist is the action of the whole people of God hierarchically assembled.’
E ‘I like to say my Mass on the side altar.’
F ‘We are celebrating this Eucharist today …

All these statement refer to the same activity, but, they reflect very different attitudes and understandings. One of the confusions that the Second Vatican Council set out to correct was the notion that the Eucharist was the private act of the priest at which people were present, and in its stead to return to the original understanding that it was the activity of the whole People of God – acknowledging that in some unusual circumstances this might just be the president and one other person. It is the whole community that is the celebrant, because it is the whole community that offers thanks to the Father in Jesus Christ. The role of the presbyter lies within the community and his presence orders it and he presides within the community as the figure of the Christ.

The language of statements A and B reveals people who are implicitly and silently thinking of the Eucharist as ‘something the priest does’ either for the people or with the people in attendance at his action. But the assembly is not at someone else’s Eucharist, the assembly is not a bunch of spectators, rather the assembly is a unity, it – all the individuals acting as one because they are made one by that Spirit – celebrates the Eucharist, and it has one of its members as president. Within the body of Christ there is one who presides over this unity which is the work of the Spirit, and this body, including every single member, offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father. To think of the priest as acting ‘on behalf of the group is to draw one’s theology from the Book of Numbers without recognising that Jesus has split the temple curtain (Mk 15:38; Mt 27:51; Lk 23:45), and so we are all able to enter the Holy of Holies in him. It is as a priestly people we celebrate alongside a fellow member of the baptised who has been ordained to preside at the Eucharist.

Can we improve our language? Yes, is the simple answer; and improving our language so that we more accurately convey the good news should be the task of everyone charged with preaching the gospel and celebrating the liturgy.

A simple starting point is to use the verb ‘to celebrate’ always of the whole assembly, and avoid references to celebrant when one means the presbyter or bishop who presides in the place of Christ.

Then, where we normally use the words ‘priest’ or ‘celebrant’ (in relation to the Eucharist) to use the word ‘presider’ or ‘president’.

This might seem a lot of bother, but just how much confusion would we have been saved if the word missa /’Mass’ (from the dismissal: Ite! missa est – literally: ‘Go! It is now over’) had not been allowed to gain prominence.

Finally, theological improvements in our language do happen: hopefully no priest today would utter statement E, yet just a few decades ago it would not have raised an eyebrow.


John’s Gospel in Mark’s Year
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh (Jn 6:51).

In the middle of the Year of Mark in the Lectionary we read from John 6 – the Bread of Life Discourse – over a period of five Sundays. These are:

Sunday 17: Jn 6:1-15 2 Kgs 4:42-4
Sunday 18: Jn 6:24-35 Ex 16:2-4, 12-5
Sunday 19: Jn 6:41-52 1 Kgs 19:4-8
Sunday 20: Jn 6:51-58 Prov 9:1-6
Sunday 21: Jn 6:61-70 Jos 24:1-2, 15-8

Although these readings do not form an ‘official’ unit as the Lectionary groups the Sundays – they all fall within the nine-Sunday unit of Jesus manifesting himself that runs from the fifteenth to the twenty-third Sundays – they do have a distinct theme and a distinct flavour (if for no other reason than it is the only time in the whole three-year cycle when we are called to preach on John over such a sustained length of time).

It is useful to address three questions regarding these gospel readings.

(1) Why have they been used?

It is sometimes suggested that these readings from John were simply added because there were not enough texts in Mark for thirty-four Sundays. This is simply not the case, there is more than enough text left ‘unused’ in Mark to have provided five more gospels. The answer lies in the relationship that exists between Mark’s gospel and the Bread of Life discourse (Jn 6). There is an almost unconscious habit of linking Matthew, Mark, and Luke together (‘the synoptics’), and then treating John as a singleton. Now while there are good reasons behind that instinct, we have also to remember that there are links between portions of John and one or more of the others. Here is a case in point.

Now given that Mark is presented in the lectionary over Sundays 15-23 as ‘Jesus manifesting himself’ and this stage covers this particular ‘overlap’ between Mark and John, if there was a good reason for adding John, then this would be the time to do it. The reason for adding John is quite simple: in the synoptics the reflective theology of the Eucharist is focused on the Last Supper event, and then it takes the form of an origin account of the Christian meal. These accounts are used every year as part of our annual Paschal celebration, and so do not ‘fit’ with the Sundays of Ordinary Time (by the same token we do not read the passion nor the resurrection accounts outside of the celebration of Easter). Only John presents his theology of Eucharist outside the events of the final week of Jesus’s life (although he does invoke a paschal context, see Jn 6:4: ‘Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand’) so if we are to have access to this theology of the Eucharist for reflection at our regular weekly Eucharists – and without all the other concerns of Easter – then these texts have to be read somewhere in Ordinary Time. So the question now becomes: where in the three-year cycle should this crucial part of the preaching of the gospel be located?

(2) Why have they been inserted here?

Of the three years, Mark was the most suitable because of the connections between Jn 6 and parts of Mark, and so they have been dovetailed in this way.

John Mark Lectionary
Sunday 16 (Mk 6:30-34) prepares the scene for the Jn readings:
Jesus steps ashore from the Sea of Galilee and begins to teach.
6:1-15 6:30-44 Sunday 17 replaces Mk 6:35-44 with the parallel passage in Jn.
6:16-24 6:45-54 Jesus walks on the sea: not used in the Lectionary in this cycle.
6:25-34 8:11-13 Sunday 18 uses Jn 6:24-35
The much shorter Mk parallel is not used in the Sunday Lectionary.
6:35-59 8:14-21 This section of Jn is split into two: Sunday 19 we read Jn 6:41-52; Sunday 20 we read Jn 6:51-58.
There is an overlap between these lections which makes Jn 6:51 the key to the whole Jn section of the Lectionary.
The Mk parallel is not used in the Sunday Lectionary.
6:60-69 8:27-30 Sunday 21 uses Jn 6:61-70.
The Mk parallel is used on Sunday 24 but with a different focus.
6:70-71 8:31-33 The Mk text is used on Sunday 24.
The Jn parallel is not used in the Sunday Lectionary.

Given that these Johannine readings fit so well into Mark, it is perhaps preferable to think of this as a ‘transfusion’ of John’s theology rather than a set of ‘insertions’. We can justly claim that John’s reflections on the Eucharist’s place in the life of the church develop Mark’s narrative rather than being simple something ‘tacked on.’

(3) Do they present any special opportunities in a pastoral setting?

The introduction to the Lectionary states that:

One important particularity is that the Lectionary [for this year] includes a major insert from the gospel of John (Sundays 17-21: John 6 — the sermon on the ‘Bread of Life’). This fits well into this part of Mark’s gospel, which is concerned with Jesus’ revelation of himself, and is known as ‘the Bread section’ (p li).

But how can we make best use of ‘the Bread Section’? St Augustine once remarked on how his own congregations reacted to the liturgy: ‘What we do everyday, bores us!’ It is a remark that would find an echo not only in the hearts of many in an average congregation, but also in the hearts of many clergy. One has only to be thrown off track by something unexpected happening — I saw it happen recently when a poster fell off the wall with a crash — to see how often we preside on auto-pilot! Equally, people participate on auto-pilot: change the setting to a wedding or a funeral when ‘the pillars of the parish’ are not there to take a lead in the responses and people, who are regular ‘church goers’, are thrown off their stride and cannot remember the prayers. In a community that uses hymnbooks there is a simple test of how much change and evolution there is in the liturgy: how old are the hymnbooks, and are there some pages with soiled corners from sweaty thumbs, and some that are clean?

On the other hand, stability is a value in the liturgy: part of the wonder of ritual is that it frees us from having to feel our way into a fresh situation each time. Its regularity, and indeed its boredom, means that we do not have to waste energy each occasion we gather finding out what is happening and what is expected of us. You can see this in the way franchise fast-food outlets work: the first time you use one, you have to learn a new way of queuing and ordering — a new ritual — but once you have been through this once, you know how it goes, you ‘know the ritual’ and can get your fast-food (if it can be called ‘food’) fast and go! So it does not matter whether you are in Beijing or New York or your home town, the familiarity with the ritual breeds comfort rather than contempt.

Our celebrations of the Eucharist have to strike a mid-point between the lifelessness of autopilot on the one hand, and the lack of ease that is the result of the un-familiar on the other. The usual way we deal with such ‘have your cake and eat it’ situations is to use the device of the regular ‘review’/’check-up’/ ‘audit’ /’renewal’. The focus of John’s preaching was the actual gathering at which he was preaching: he was asking his audience to reflect on why they had gathered for a meal and what this meal meant to them in terms of the mystery of the Christ. Since this is the way we use these texts in this year, they are an ideal opportunity for a ‘triennial review’ of how our community is celebrating and what it means to us.

Like all reviews, this has to be driven by questions. Here is a sample:

  • How well do we celebrate?
  • Is it a real celebration or simply a religious exercise?
  • Is it characterised by integrity between our words and our actions in celebrating?
  • Is our celebration just a matter of ritual tokens?
  • How can our celebration be improved?
  • How true is it to our vision of the Eucharist?
  • Is it an exclusivist affair or the work of the whole community?
  • How interested are we in its music?
  • Can we make the communications during the Liturgy of the Word more effective?
  • Can we make the eating and drinking we speak about an actual fact?
  • Can we establish links between this meal and those who cannot or do not come to it?
  • How can our banquet reflect our care about the global food-situation and the environment?
  • Do we need more ministers at our gathering charged with various tasks?

The list can go on – as it should reflect the particular situation of the community.

A community that meets each week should be willing for a short period every three years to stop and take a look at what it is doing – such review processes are taken for granted in every other area of life – and ‘the Bread section’ is an ideal occasion once every three years.

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time


Introduction to the Celebration
We have assembled for our weekly Eucharist – as we do every week. But why is this important to us? And although we do it every week, how well do we as a community engage in this activity of celebrating the Eucharist? Giving thanks to the Father, in union with Jesus, while being empowered by the Spirit, is an activity: how well do we do this as the group of disciples who form a church here each Sunday?

These are important questions for us. So, over the next five weeks we are going to be reading passages from St John’s gospel on the Eucharist, and these will challenge us to reflect on what we are doing when we gather, why we are gathering for this meal, and how well we are celebrating it.

Let us reflect that we are gathered in the Holy Spirit, and about to celebrate the Lord’s meal, and with him offer thanks to the Father.

Rite of Penance

Lord Jesus, you gave thanks over five barley loaves and fed all who had gathered about you. Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you instructed the disciples to gather up all the fragments so that nothing would be lost. Christ have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you were acclaimed as ‘the prophet who is to come into the world’. Lord have mercy.

Headings for Readings
First Reading
The servant of God, Elisha, provided bread for God’s people as the demonstration of God’s care for them: all ate and there was some over.

Second Reading
This reading calls on us to remember who we are as a church, the unity that should exist among us, and on what that unity is founded.

The Son of God, Jesus, provided bread for God’s people as the demonstration of God’s care for his people: all ate and there was some over.

Prayer of the Faithful
Gathered in the one Spirit, we are one Body in the one Lord, and now we call on the one God who is Father of all, through all and within all.
Reader (s)
1. For the whole People of God scattered across the globe, that we shall draw new life from our celebrations of the Eucharist this Sunday. Lord hear us.
2. For this community that our gatherings may be celebrations of joy and thanksgiving, that they may renew us in Christ, and strengthen us to be his disciples. Lord hear us.
3. For our sisters and brothers in Christ for whom gathering for this holy meal is no longer an important part of their lives, that we, and how we celebrate, may help them to know the Lord’s invitation to share in his supper. Lord hear us.
4. For all peoples, that we may appreciate and be thankful for all God’s gifts, use them wisely, and use them in ways that promote justice and peace. Lord hear us.
5. For all those who do not have access to the food they need, that we may learn to share our bread with the hungry. Lord hear us.
6. Specific local needs and topics of the day.
7. For those who have died, that having shared in the Eucharist on earth they may come to its fullness in the banquet of heaven. Lord hear us.

Father, when we gather to give you thanks we know that we depend on you for all. Hear these prayers we make to you for we confess that there is one Lord, your Son, one faith, one baptism, and one God, you who are Father of all, through all and within all. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer
There is no preface nor Eucharistic Prayer that picks up John’s theology of the Eucharist as expressed in today’s gospel.

However, P48 (Preface of the Holy Eucharist II) can be adapted to fit these Sundays when we reflect on the Eucharist (but without tying the Eucharist to the Last Supper event – a tying down that John wished to avoid) by omitting the paragraph that begins: ‘At the last supper’. Instead, read or sing the preface thus:

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In this great sacrament you feed your people
and strengthen them …

Then use Eucharistic Prayer II and concentrate more time on the fraction and the sharing of the loaf and cup.

Invitation to the Our Father
In the power of the Spirit, and in the words of the Son, let us pray to the Father:

Sign of Peace
There is one Lord, and we are one Body. Let us express to each other the bonds of love that the sharing in the Lord’s banquet creates between us.

Invitation to Communion
The Lord Jesus asked the crowds to sit and he shared the loaves among them; now he bids us to share this loaf and become one with him. Lord I am not worthy … .

Communion Reflection
Give an introduction to a formal period of silent reflection with something like this:

Gathering, listening to the Word of God, thanking the Father, breaking, sharing the Bread of Life, drinking the cup of salvation, reflecting on what we have done, then departing. This is the pattern of our weekly assemblies: so now is our time to reflect on our becoming the Body of Christ in this gathering.

The Lord fed the people who gathered to hear him, and now he has fed us at his table, may this food strengthen us to be his disciples this week. Amen.
The Lord took the loaves and the fish and gave thanks to his Father. Now we have given thanks with him. May this attitude of gratitude to God continue in us during the coming week. Amen.
When the people were fed with the five loaves and the two fishes, they recognised the Lord to be the prophet come into the world. May we be his witnesses until we gather again at this table. Amen.


First Reading: 2 Kgs 4:42-44
The Elisha Cycle (2 Kgs 2:1-8:29), that has as its core yet another cycle of ten miracle-stories (4:1-8:15) — one of which we are reading today — is not nowadays a very popular part of scripture. However, one has only to look at how these miracles / wonders / signs form the background for later miracle stories, be they in the gospels or in the lives of saints, to see that our taste is out of harmony with that of most of our ancestors. While we find these stories obscure and rarely come across them, they were familiar to people at the time of Jesus in the way that we can take it for granted that people can pick up on allusions to Star Trek. And, it is this story that we read today that stands behind the feeding the multitude stories: if Elisha the great powerful prophet fed the multitude by wondrously multiplying twenty barley loaves for a hundred men (with some over), then the greatest prophet can multiply five barley loaves for five thousand men (with some over)!

Psalm: 144 (145)
This is a basic hymn of thanksgiving, and as such is well suited to a gathering who formal name is ‘the thanksgiving’.

Second Reading: Eph 4:1-6
The letter was written in Paul’s name, some time in the later first century, to churches in the Lycus valley in western Asia Minor (near the west coast of modern Turkey). One of the concerns of the author is the danger of factions breaking out in the churches through festering disagreements. In that context he comes up with some of the basic sound bites of ecclesiology: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. It is a formula that is influenced by Paul’s style in dealing with the same problems in Corinth in 1 Cor 10:17; and one that works just as well today as when it was first used.

However, if the phrase ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ is a catchy sound bite, we should not forget that in this letter it is the conclusion of a very significant way of viewing the church as the work of the Spirit. The unity is not just the fact of ‘sticking together’ because it is of practical utility, rather unity is an essential feature of the church because it is the Spirit’s gift which transforms the individuals into the one body of the Lord. To act in a way that destroys unity is to reject the work of the Spirit, to deny the nature of the church, and, indeed, to put one outside the ‘one body’.

First Reading > Gospel Links
The link is continuity of activity by the prophets / servants, whereby the care of God is manifested to the people. If we look at the stories told about the prophets of old, we are enabled to appreciate the nature of Jesus from his actions: it is because they know stories like that about Elisha that they are able to recognise that Jesus ‘really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’

Indeed, the original ‘feeding story’ of the kerygma (which was in circulation before Mark preached his gospel) is modelled on this Elisha story: so we have the liturgy today presenting us with the basic background story we must know if we are to understand the gospel.

Gospel: Jn 6:1-15
We know that the story of the miraculous feeding of a vast crowd was part of the fundamental kerygma for it surfaces (with various numbers) in no less than six places in the gospels: here, in Mk 6:30-44; 8:1-10; Mt 14:13-21; 15:32-39; and Lk 9:10-17. However, in John it is the opening event of the entire discourse on the bread of life, and this means that the actual feeding must be read, in this gospel at least, as a part of John’s theology of the Eucharist. Once that connection is made, the context given in the gospel about being on the edge of the Sea of Galilee becomes just scenery: the real location is the community who are sharing a single loaf of bread at their gathering as the Lord’s gift of the bread of life to them.

These two feedings, in the story being heard and in the meal being celebrated, are characterised by the loaf being heavenly food, and each event (the story and the Eucharist) being free of the normal limitations of space and time. Here a small amount of material food can supply the wants of a multitude, a portion of a loaf and a mouthful from a common cup can transform a meagre meal into an anticipation of heaven. Likewise, in both the story and the community’s meal, the initiative rests with Jesus: he knows what he will do, he is the one who thanks the Father and shares the food, and all are his guests. Only after sharing the heavenly food do the people recognise him as the messianic prophet/ king, but from the group in the story he then retreats for this recognition is partial and confused; among his audience, by contrast, John expects that they will recognise Jesus as the true prophet/king whose ‘kingship is not of this world’ (Jn 18:36).


1. Today is not a day for ‘giving’ a homily, much less ‘preaching’ – both assume an agent (the speaker) and an object (those who are spoken to). Rather, this is a day for trying to create a mood of just settling back and reflecting on what we are doing. What we are doing by gathering each Sunday, what we are doing when we celebrate the Eucharist, what we are doing as God’s People.
2. One way to do this is to set the scene before reading the gospel. The scene can be set in this way (if the gospel is read by a deacon, then the president could set the scene; if the president himself has to read the gospel, then someone else could do it; it is better done while people are sitting down before the gospel acclamation):

We gather here each Sunday – this is the day when we recall the resurrection of Jesus; it is for us the first day of the week.

At this gathering we always recall something of our Lord’s life and teaching. This takes the form of reading a part of one of the four gospels – and today we are going to read from the gospel written by John.

Then we gather around the Lord’s table for the meal of the Lord, when we give thanks through Jesus to the Father over the gifts of bread and wine. Then by sharing those gifts we are transformed into the Body of Christ.

This is what Christians have done since the very beginning, and were doing this even before the gospels were written down.

Today we recall a story told by John at a gathering for the Eucharist on a Sunday over 1900 years ago. John knew that when the gathering heard the story it would help them understand the sacred dimension of the meal they celebrated together each week. We will now read that story.

3. Then when people have settled down again after the proclamation of the gospel, this reflection could be offered:
Like the crowds we have gathered here to hear the message of Jesus.
Like those crowds we have gathered here to be fed from his hands.
Like on that hillside, Jesus takes our loaf, gives thanks to the Father, and gives it to all of us who are sitting around ready to be fed by him.
Like on that hillside, we know that this food with which he feeds us is precious, and that it is the food for the whole world.
Like those people who acclaimed him as ‘the prophet who is to come into the world’, we acclaim him as our priest, our prophet, and as our king – not a king whose kingdom belongs to this world, but as the king who presents the kingdom of truth and life to our Father in heaven.

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