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The Liturgy of the Word

posted Jul 23, 2016, 8:45 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jul 23, 2016, 8:49 AM ]
In the Liturgy of the Word, the Church feeds the people of God from the table of his Word
(cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 51). It begins with readings from Scripture. Every family has its story; how our parents met, or how a cousin earned a particular nickname. When we gather for Mass, we hear God’s story of His love for us through Scripture.

The Responsorial Psalm is sung between the readings. Do you know why it’s called that? Not because there is a response or antiphon for the people to sing. The “response” referred to is our reflection and absorption of the reading which just took place, and the Gospel which is to come. So we “respond” to the Word of God by our repetitious singing of the theme of the readings.

The high point of the Liturgy of the Word is the reading of the Gospel. Because it tell of the life and preaching of Christ, it receives several special signs of honor and reverence. We stand to hear it; and it’s introduced by an acclamation of praise; Alleluia, derived from a Hebrew phrase meaning "Praise the Lord!" (Except during the solemn season of Lent.) Did you know that our participation in singing the Gospel Acclamation is so important that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that if it isn’t sung, it should be omitted?!?

After the Scripture readings, the celebrant preaches the homily, drawing from the texts lessons that may help us to live better lives. In many Masses, the Profession of Faith then follows, and the Liturgy of the Word concludes with the Universal Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Faithful.