Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Lectionary

(This might post twice, and if so I'll keep the version which reads the best)

Pr. Lehmann, on his blog, discusses the Lectionary in his ecclesial tradition. Of interest is that he approaches it from the perspective of having to preach various pericopes and how this keeps one honest. I remember my confessor years ago wryly admitting to me that after years and years of doing so it can be hard to think of new things to say about the Corpus Christi readings for example. Pr. Lehmann has a few more years to go, I suspect, before he runs into that problem.

There are two things I like about our Lectionary. First, in a three year period, if one was to attend daily Mass, one would hear almost all of Scripture proclaimed. Now, it's true some bits are left out (like those thrilling genealogies in the beginning of 1 Paralipomenon, aka Chronicles. Mother Church felt the stirring excitement of those lines likely too much for anyone to handle all at once. Perhaps at a future time). And, in a similar vein to Pr. Lehmann's observation, it forces the whole of Scripture to be proclaimed, even if the lector or priest would prefer not to. I think of the pericope that contains Eph 5:22. If the priest is of a ... shall we say .. "progressive" bent, this passage might not be one he wishes to proclaim because it might offend his sensibilities. But Holy Mother Church bids it proclaimed, and so it is.

The second thing I like is not independent of the first, and that is the fact that the Lectionary ensures that the whole world hears the same Word proclaimed at the same time. Thus, when the Church bids Eph 5:22 be proclaimed, the sun never sets on it when it is so bid. In this way the two parts of the mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist both have a kind of koinonia.

And so the Lectionary is a great gift to us, because it is part and parcel of the "universality" of Christ's Church.

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