Saturday, January 16, 2016

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year C

Third Ordinary Sunday


Listening enthusiastically at mass

Points to note

This reading is the first of a two-part reading.  Again as in last Sunday, it is an apt commencement to a year (the ordinary Sunday series, not the liturgical year itself).  A little like a movie within a movie, ala French Lieutenant Woman style: there is a reading within a reading.  Jesus reads about proclaiming a new beginning: the beginning of his ministry.

While we can discuss about the content of Jesus’ reading, I have chosen to discuss the way that Jesus did the reading and the way that the people responded to him.  This can be further discussed in reading of Mary and Martha in Sunday 16.  In today’s session, I am focussing a bit more on the Liturgy of the Word itself.

With older children, you may want to take a bit more time explaining the Liturgy of the Word, which may be a little too technical for younger children.  If so, you may spend a bit more time on discussing listening at mass, using parts of the Sunday 16 reading if necessary.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives.

Explain that Jesus has just emerged from the temptation in the desert.  Strengthened, he is about to launch his public ministry. (Note: I have omitted the first part of the reading (Lk1:1-4) for the children as they are the introduction to Luke needed to kick off the Luke series of Gospel readings but may confuse the children)

The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with you.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
(Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside.  He taught in their synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did.  He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor.
to proclaim liberty to captives and sight to the blind,
to set the downtrodden free
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down.  And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him, then he began to speak to them, “This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord


Discuss the reading and draw parallels with our mass:  where was Jesus?  In a synagogue.  Explain that a synagogue is like a church for Jewish people.  Jews only worship in two places:  the Temple and in synagogues.  There is only one Temple, though, where Jewish priests may make sacrifices but there are many synagogues where people listen to readings, sermons and prayers led by rabbis.  There is no longer a Temple, and so, Jews today worship only in synagogues all over the world.  The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 ad, leaving only a wall behind.  To this day, we see Jews on TV praying along a wall in Jerusalem.  It is called the Wailing Wall because Jews lament the destruction of the Temple.

What was Jesus doing?  Reading a reading in the synagogue and then giving the sermon.  Isn’t that what happens at mass?  Who does it at mass?  The lectors read the first two readings while priest reads the Gospel reading and gives the sermon.

What are the two parts of mass?  The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist?  Which is the one that happens first and is the one with the reading?  The Liturgy of the Word.

Explain about the Liturgy of the Word.  The next page is an extract from the leaflet on the Mass. You may want to refer to the full leaflet for the context.

If there is time after explaining, discuss the importance of listening at mass, referring to the leaflet of Sunday 16 if necessary.

I love this story.  The priest went up to the mike for the Gospel reading and said, “The Lord be with you.”  But, nothing came out because the mike wasn’t working.  So, he said in a louder voice, “There is something wrong with the mike!”  The people heard him say something but wasn’t sure what, so they responded ............... The importance of listening at mass!!

A little elaboration on the following Liturgy of the Word notes:  Children like to hear this explanation about the sign of the cross before the Gospel.  It is a prayer made with our hands: Glory (we touch our foreheads = When we hear your word, God help we think good thoughts) to you (we touch our lips = God, help us proclaim good news) O Lord (we touch our hearts = God, help us love)

The form of this liturgy follows very much that of the Jewish synagogue service, from which it descends.  The readings are read by one or more readers, or lectors, from the reading desk, or ambo.  The response to the first two readings should be a period of silence to reflect on the readings, but is rarely achieved.

First reading and the Responsorial psalm
This is normally from the Old Testament, or from the Acts of the Apostles during the season of Easter.  The readings are chosen to relate to the Gospel reading.

The psalms, as a response to the reading, follow a verse-and-response format and are chosen to fit the readings.

Second reading
The epistles have a sequence independent of the Gospel reading and therefore do not relate to the other readings, except during the great feasts and the seasons of Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas.

The Gospel is greeted by an acclamation. Alleluias are sung except during Lent, when the Glory and Praise is sung instead.

As a mark of respect for the Gospel, which represents Christ, we receive the Gospel standing up.  In the Greek Church, they even have a little procession to emphasise that.

The introductory dialogue between the priest and the community has much significance.  To the priest’s greeting, the community responds: “And also with you”.  Then, the priest introduces the Gospel and the community responds: “Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ”.  Note that the ‘you’ in the two responses are directed at different persons.  In the first, it refers to the priest, while in the second, it refers to Jesus.  This underlines the presence of Jesus when the Gospel is read.  It is no longer the priest we hear, but Jesus.

The sign of the cross we make during the second response is the older form of the more conventional sign normally used.  Being less overt, it was a more discreet way of identifying oneself during times of persecution as a Christian to others who know what the sign means.

The sermon that follows will explain the readings.

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