Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Reflection on "Liturgy of the Word"

Kwasniewski is on to something here.

...When the “Liturgy of the Word” is vouchsafed a distinct existence as one of the two parts of the Mass, and particularly when this distinctiveness is enhanced by a gargantuan lectionary with often lengthy readings frequently detached from the other prayers and antiphons of the Mass, there arises the impression of a text that is free-floating and self-justifying, the reading and preaching of which can become the pastorally central arena, throwing the sacramental essence of the Mass into shadow. How often have we experienced the Liturgy of the Word ballooning to an overwhelming size, losing all proportion with the pulsing heart of the liturgy, the offering of the sacrifice and the ensuing communion? In many Masses I’ve attended over the years, the time used by the opening greeting, the readings, and the homily was some 45 minutes, while somehow everything from the presentation of the gifts onwards was crammed into 15 minutes. In the rush to be done (now that the gregarious and intellectually engaging business of readings and preaching is over), either Eucharistic Prayer II or III is chosen—prayers that are utterly dwarfed by the preceding textual cornucopia, seeming like a pious afterthought. The anaphora and its still point, the consecration, shrink and lose their centrality....

Yah.  And even moreso when the celebrant intrudes on the Canon with ad hoc obiter dicta motu proprio, as regularly happens at a church near me--which finally drove me out of the place.

Anyhoo, what Prof. K. objects to is the Protestant-ization; whereas the Prots (bless 'em) go all sola scriptura-with-sermon, for the Catholic the high points are the Consecration and Communion--intimacy with the Word which far surpasses just hearing it.


GOR said...

Recently, on another blog, the question was posed: “How late can you be for Mass to not fulfill your Sunday obligation…?”

The question is not new – but the consensus of opinions on the response was. Back when we learned the Baltimore Catechism - or others based upon it - the answer was clear: “You must be present for the Offertory, Consecration and Communion”. Or, put another way, if you arrive after the Offertory, you’re out of luck.

Now, however, the consensus was: “If you arrive after the Homily, you haven’t satisfied your obligation.” Rubbish! Though I am rarely late for Mass - usually arriving 15 – 20 minutes before it starts - I hold to the earlier, traditional standard.

The ‘Liturgy of the Word’ is a means to an end, not an end in itself - despite what the ‘Spirit of Vat II’ mentally-challenged idiots would have us believe.

Anonymous said...

Roger that.