(A): THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
Many of us, at some time or the other, would have received love letters – letters from our parents, siblings, relatives, friends etc. A love letter carries some unique specialties – there is much eagerness to read it…there is much joy while reading it…and there is much contentment after having read it…
Hmmm….here is a well-known secret….shhh… the Lord is a great “lover”, though sometimes He is too shy a lover!
He loves to talk to us through love-letters.
The Word of God is God’s love letter to each one of us…
… and the Liturgy of the Word, during the Holy Mass, celebrates this loving conversation.
Let’s give a better attention as God speaks to us, In His Word. Often, the time of sitting, while listening to the Readings, is when we gaze around the Church/Chapel, looking at others, being distracted with our thoughts etc. Let’s seek to focus our attention greater, on the Lord, who talks to us…IN HIS WORD!
Let’s be aware of the greatness of this Liturgy of the Word:
- The 1st, 2nd and the Gospel Readings: God’s mysterious works of Salvation and Love are proclaimed. Let’s seek to strike a chord of these readings with our own lives. On Sundays, in particular, the 1st Reading and the Gospel are directly intimately. On other major feasts too, a single thematic string unites all the readings.
- The Responsorial: We give an affirmation to the Reading, we heard, and express our gratitude and petition to our Life-Giver.
- The Alleluia: Praising the Lord, we welcome Him with joyful shouts and signing ourselves on the forehead, lips and the chest, we seek His Help to cleanse our minds, lips & hearts, that we may worthily receive Jesus, the Word into our lives!
- The Sermon: Often considered to be the boring part, the avoidable section, the relaxing phase, the Sermon should, in fact, seek to connect the hearts of the Faithful, with Jesus- the Divine Word, and strengthen our Christian living in this world.
Do I give enough attention while listening to the Readings?
Do I make the sign of the Cross, with awareness, and welcome the Lord, by seeking to cleanse our minds, our lips and our hearts?
Do I prepare devoutly to preach the sermon/ to listen to the sermon, and seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who is the Author of the Word of God?
Am I able to recall the Readings, during the course of the Day, and make the Word of God, a real and practical dimension of my life?
Oh Divine Word, who became flesh and dwelt amidst us, give us the grace and the wisdom to understand You, in the Holy Word. May the Liturgy of the Word, that we celebrate in the Eucharist, become a dynamic inspiration and force in our everyday lives, and may we in turn, become a Gospel- the good news, to the poor, the oppressed and all peoples in our lives, Amen!
(B): THE OFFERTORY
After having been nourished by His Word, we profess our Faith in the Holy Catholic Church, and we offer our petitions and gifts to the Lord.
The Lord has blessed our lives with innumerable gifts and graces. As the Psalmist says, “If I were to count your blessings, I would have to be eternal like You, O Lord!”
The Eucharist is a thanksgiving meal… When we come to the Mass, we are not to come empty-handed. Rather, we give ourselves, wholly to the Lord. All what we are and all what we have belongs to the Lord, who is the Source and End of all. And to Him, we offer everything – our blessings, our plans, our feelings, our concerns, our heart and our lives!
Along with ourselves, we also offer all the people in our lives – our family, community, our nation, our world… The Eucharist is a moment of healing and grace for the entire creation…and we bring all to His feet.
Let’s bring to consciousness the various dimensions in this part of the Mass:
- The Creed: With much devotion and deep love, we express and affirm the teachings and faith of our Holy Mother, the Church
- The Prayer of the Faithful: The Community as a family, offer petitions, and thus, the entire creation becomes part of this Divine Action of the Holy Mass
- The Offering of Bread and Wine: The Gifts, which soon, will become the Body and Blood of Christ, represent fruits of our labour. As the gifts, we pray, that we too be changed into His Body and Blood
- The mingling of a drop of water in the wine by the Priest: The water represents, our littleness, which is totally mingled with the wine, signifying our intention to be one with the Divine Lord
- The washing of the hands: The Priest – the representative of the People of God, cleanses himself and prepares, for the Most Holy Sacrifice of Calvary.
Am I fervent and zealous in expressing my love for my mother, the Church, as I recite the Creed?
Do I offer everything to the Lord, and be ready to accept His will in my life?
Most Merciful Lord, I come to you, in humble praise, to offer you myself. All what I have is given by you, and to you, I offer everything. Make the offerings that I make, be for me, a channel to accept your Holy Will in my life, and thus, I may be able to truly experience the power of Your Body and Blood, Amen.