PRAYING THE MASS: THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
From the Little Book Committee of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan.
The easiest prayer in the world is the kind of prayer we do during the Liturgy of the Word: we simply listen to God speak to us. It’s like sitting in the sun. When the word of God is spoken at liturgy, God is speaking to us “live.” We’re not listening to something God once said. We’re not being taught a lesson. The living God is speaking “live” to us here and now. For sure, God will say a special word to each of us at every Mass. It may be a word of comfort or a nudge or a new way of seeing things but for sure, God speaks a tailor-made word to us. All we need to do is open ourselves up to take in the readings. How do we do that? For starters, by really listening! Besides the three readings, we receive a fourth helping of Scripture in the responsorial psalm. The cantor sings the Word of God upon us, and we respond by singing part of it as a refrain, over and over, like sipping vintage wine. For example: The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid? Try saying that to yourself (or humming it) two or three times right now. Savor it. Let it sink in. The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid.
THE LECTIONARY IN SUNDAY AND DAILY WORSHIP
The reading of Scripture was always an important part of worship. When the first Christians gathered to “break bread,” they kept the Jewish synagogue custom of “breaking the word” as well. In these readings, God speaks a message of redemption and salvation. Even before the Church had the written Gospel accounts, they shared letters written by early Christian missionaries (Col. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:15-16), along with the instruction by the Apostles (Acts 20:7). Eventually, the Christian story was written down and read to the assembly.