19 March 2009

On the Feast of St. Joseph

I would first like to thank all the people who have contacted me with positive feed back. I am shocked at how many have visited my blog. In the sidebar you can notice the "Feedjit" application. I have seen that I have had visitors from all over the US and Canada, Spain, Austria, and England. A special hello to my visitor from Chesterfield! I used to live in Sheffield.

I have talked about liturgy a number of times here on my little digital soapbox. Too often discussions about the liturgy focus on an individual Mass. And largely speaking, I have fallen into that rut.

At my parish, one fellow normally does the reading and the psalm at daily Mass. One day when he was sick I was asked to do the reading. After the Mass, the priest asked me if I would become a lector. As part of the training the new lectors were given a workbook for the liturgical reading. The lay-out of the book has pronunciation guides and delivery suggestions on the left hand column and a discussion of the theme of the readings along the bottom of each page. This workbook opened my eyes to liturgy extending over a number of Masses.

The first few times I did the readings I practiced a few times before Mass, but I never read about the themes. Last Sunday, I started reading about the theme, and I had a "duh"moment. I was surprised at just how dull-witted I can be. The first Sunday of Lent relates the story of Noah. The second Sunday of Lent relates the story of the Ten Commandments. And the third Sunday of Lent relates the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, the angel intervening, and God's promise to make Abraham's descendants as many as the stars of the heavens.

Over the course of these three weeks two great themes have been put forth: Salvation and Covenant. [Many people reading this probably already knew these themes. That is why I call it my "duh" moment.] In a previous posting I mentioned how I did not view Lent as a dreary season. This is why. Week after week we are reminded of God's abiding love for us. Even when the readings deal with wickedness, the readings continue on to talk about love, forgiveness, anointing, and salvation.

One of the many reasons I love the church is that the church arranges the readings over time to reinforce the teachings of God's love for us; it is not just a one-off event or once-a-year reading. The churches that focus on Spiritual Entertainment do not get this wonderful gift. The liturgy offers us so very much, and it is inexhaustible. The more of it that I understand, the more there is to understand.

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