Mass is broken up into two parts. The first part of mass is the Liturgy of the Word and the second part of mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We are fed in two ways at mass. The Liturgy of the Word spiritually feeds us and teaches us about the ways of God and the Liturgy of the Eucharist physically feeds us with God himself to strengthen us with his own flesh.
We need both. Both are biblical and both lead us to our ultimate goal of salvation. “In the Scriptures, God speaks to us, leading us along the path to salvation.” (USCCB) When God’s word is being read at mass; during the first reading, second reading, and gospel reading, this is God speaking to us. To understand the readings at mass, we should understand, in a small way, how they are put together. The first reading is usually from the Old Testament and the second reading is usually from an epistle, or a letter. The gospel reading is from the new testament. The Gospel reading is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word! These are the words of Jesus himself and things that he has done. This is why a priest or deacon reads the gospel, he is In Persona Christi Capitis, (In the person of Christ as a priestly vocation) to represent Christ here on earth.
When the lector starts to read the readings, this is not a time to zone out or observe all the cute babies at mass (I'm guilty of it too sometimes) but to hear what Jesus has to say in the bible. I get it, we don’t always understand what is being read but we can pick out a few things that stick out to us. This is where our mass journals are golden! We can actively participate and actively listen to the readings by trying to find something which sticks out to us.
The great thing about the liturgy is that God is present there with us also! He doesn't just show up when the priest consecrates the Eucharist, but he is present among us in his word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
He is teaching us as he taught all the people he came across during his life here on earth. He is still doing that today! It is God’s word being written on our hearts.
After the readings are read, the priest gives a homily. This can be taken from the readings or a reflection that can help us to better understand our faith and help us in our daily lives.
When the homily is over we move to the profession of Faith (during Sunday liturgy) This is a statement of faith and what we believe as Catholic Christians. The conclusion of the Liturgy of the word is the universal prayer or also known as the Prayer of the Faithful. This is a response to take what we have just heard and show our faith by praying for our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world.
We will speak more about each of these things in the coming days to really dive deep into each part of the Liturgy of the Word.
How is God speaking to you in this post or today's reading? Enter a comment below or click HERE if you are reading from your phone. (Commenting is optional, but always grace-filled.) Thank you for letting us into your life and for being a part of ours!