The Mass Part I left us at the readings in the Liturgy of the Word. I could write many pet peeve blogs about how we read/stumble through/proclaim the Word of God. We believe that Jesus is the Word made flesh. In the early days of our faith the Israelites believed that the word had so much power that they would not even say the word or name they had for their God. We have sense removed that word from usage also. When someone calls us Fat or Stupid, especially when we are kids, that can have power. It frustrates me when those proclaiming God’s word, don’t do it with respect and awe.
In ancient times the Bible was communicated by an oral tradition. Those trained from a young age were entrusted with specific sections to pass to the next generation. That spoken word was reverenced. When it could be first put to print it was a long, pains taking process using scarce resources and only the very rich could have copies. We still reverence the books that contain the Word, especially the book of the Gospels.
A few years ago in the sacristy before Mass, luckily not at my Church, the Lector was absent. The head of the Lectors said, I can do it. He had no clue when asked what Readings for the day were. Earlier I’d seen a friend enter that I knew always prepared readings prepared for Mass. I asked him go get her. He was a bit miffed saying that he could have winged it. I explained after Mass that I had a hard time imagining the head Lector say that he was OK winging it. The Word of God should never been taken that casually. We should be honored and prepared to proclaim it.
That said, the Liturgy of the Word is essential to the Mass. We have God made present in the Word, and ancient psalm is sung that prepares us and points to the Gospel and the homily takes the readings and relates them to our current life. Or it should. I believe usually that the Homily should answer the question, why did the Church give us these readings for today and how do we apply them to our lives today. That’s just me.
The Liturgy of the Word is the first time that we make God present in the celebration of the Mass. That is why I don’t like it when people hold up the book and say, THE WORD OF THE LORD or THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD. It is what’s proclaimed, and not what’s printed.