This Sunday you’ll be getting a double dose of H2O!
In the first reading from Exodus, the Hebrews thirst from wandering the desert and they complain to Moses, their leader. Moses appeals to God who gives him the power to bring water from a rock.
The Gospel reading from John tells of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus, by asking her for a drink, sparks a conversation on “living water” that produces eternal life.
What a coincidence…not!
Throughout the year, the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass are not read from the Bible in order from cover to cover. I fact, even though the first reading is typically from the Old Testament, the lector is not reading from the Bible at all, but rather the Lectionary for Mass.
The Church’s selection of the Old Testament reading to be included in the Lectionary was governed by harmony—it was chosen, for the most part, to correspond with the proclamation of the Gospel, which itself is fixed to specific seasons, feasts and observances:
“The best instance of harmony between the Old and New Testament readings occurs when it is one that Scripture itself suggests. This is the case when the doctrine and events recounted in texts of the New Testament bear a more or less explicit relationship to the doctrine and events of the Old Testament. The present Order of Readings selects Old Testament texts mainly because of their correlation with New Testament texts read in the same Mass, and particularly with the Gospel text.”––General Introduction to the Lectionary #67
On the basis of theme, typology and prophecy, the Order of Readings explicitly connects the Old Testament and Gospel selections. Here are just a few examples of the harmonies between the First Reading and the proclamation of the Gospel in Year A:
The juxtaposition of the First Reading with the Gospel reveals how God’s work in the Old Testament anticipated what was accomplished in the New Testament through the incarnate Son.
“The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy, and to indicate its meaning through various types.”—Dei Verbum #15
As we hear these readings, we learn to connect the promise with its fulfillment. We begin to see that the entire mystery of Christ and his salvific mission is in conformity with Jewish Scripture and, therefore, the realization and culmination of God’s plan.
“All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ.” —Catechism of the Catholic Church #134
What’s your favorite harmony in the liturgical cycle? Do you have any insights on this Sunday’s readings? Share and let’s learn together!