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 Post subject: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:54 am 
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Are you, like me, sometimes confused with the Sunday readings and hope, in vain, for the celebrant to make them clear and relevant to daily life? and sometimes it is difficult to understand what he's saying at all if he is a foreigner. Any suggestions?


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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:12 am 
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The USCCB has a good resource. Before Mass you can go here http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081317.cfm and go over the readings. If you notice the listing of the Book, Chapter and Verse are hotlinks. Click those and you will go to the text of that Scripture where you can find footnotes about parts of those passages. They also provide reflections (on my screen they show up on a menu on the left side of the screen).

Another resource that is offered by thousands of parishes is Formed.org They have a program called "Opening The Word" which has reflections on each Sunday reading, along with a journal (downloadable PDF) for reflecting during the week.

There are other paid options, like the Magnificat or Our Daily Bread with reflections for each Sunday.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:19 am 
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A few thoughts:

Please be patient with priests whose native language isn't English. I've had to do things in Spanish, which I barely speak, and it has given me a much greater appreciation for those who regularly are asked to minister in a language that isn't their native tongue. They probably know they're struggling; they know people aren't happy; and they continue, not because of pride but because they know that God's people need the sacraments. Without the help of foreign-born, hard-to-understand priests, the Church in the US would be in much deeper trouble than it is already.

Second, if you don't get anything from the homily (even when you can understand what is being said), it might be that the homily is meant for someone else. It's very hard to give a homily that reaches every person in the congregation. It might be that a homily that leaves you thinking, "Yes, that was really helpful!" is one that put the person in the next pew to sleep.

Third, the application of the readings to daily life is only one part of what a homily is supposed to accomplish. I try to do that, but the most important part of any Scripture reading is that Jesus is somehow conveyed in it, and helping people see how that happens, helping them understand Jesus better, helping them know Him better, is ultimately more applicable in daily life than an obvious moral.

Fourth, as kage_ar points out above, you can prepare your own homily to think about if you can't understand the main one. What do you hear Christ telling you in the readings? There's nothing wrong with thinking about that during the homily if what's being preached doesn't seem to be connecting with you. If you prepare ahead of time, you can do your own research on points you find puzzling or confusing (try the Ignatius Study Bible), because even an easy-to-understand priest might choose that day not to talk about the part of the reading that most interests you.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:38 pm 
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In the early Church the readings were usually organized on a simple basis of continuity; that is, they took off from where they had finished the previous Sunday. This is based on the Jewish practice of reading from the Torah, followed by a reading from the prophets, which can be traced back at least as far as the second century B. C.

Around A.D. 150, Justin Martyr described worship this way:
Quote:
“On the day called the Day of the Sun all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then all rise together and pray.”
~ Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 106.3


As the liturgical year developed, certain readings began to be reserved for certain feast days and seasons, and so a thematic cycle developed. This again is based on the Jewish tradition of reading particular books during certain feasts (i.e. Ruth is read during the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot, which corresponds in time to our Pentecost).

When the Second Vatican Council asked for the selection of readings used at Mass to be increased, the experts took inspiration from the two ancient methods of continuity and thematic readings.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Sundays
For Sundays they developed a three-year cycle (A, B, C), one for each synoptic gospel: (A) for Matthew, (B) for Mark (with five readings from John ch. 6, inserted after the 16th Sunday), and (C) for Luke. John’s gospel is interspersed throughout the three cycles. So during Ordinary time each Sunday’s Gospel continues on from the previous week. Sunday’s three-year cycle is based on the Jewish tradition at the time of Christ: Sabbath readings in the synagogue were also on a three-year cycle.

The Old Testament reading (or the Acts of the Apostles during Eastertide) and the responsorial psalm are chosen so as to somehow relate to the Gospel text.

The New Testament readings follow the continual system, the Letters of St. Paul and St. James being read during Ordinary time, and those of John and Peter are read during Christmas and Easter. This continuous system is why they do not always seem to fit in well with the Gospel.

During Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, and on solemnities, all three readings are chosen so as to highlight the particular spiritual message of the season. (i.e. Isaiah’s Emmanuel prophecies are read during Advent.)

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:39 pm 
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Daily
With respect to the daily readings:
The weekday readings are on a two-year cycle (I, II), except for Lent and Advent, when the readings are the same every year.

The first daily reading also uses a semi-continuous system organized in a two-year cycle for odd and even numbered years. As with the Sunday cycle of readings, a special characteristic of Eastertide is the reading from the Acts of the Apostles as first reading every day.

The New Testament readings offer the substance of almost all the letters, whereas the Old Testament readings offer a selection of the most important elements of each book. Almost all of the books are represented except some minor prophets and the Song of Songs.

Toward the end of the year the readings come from Revelation and Daniel, which fit well with the apocalyptic sermons from Luke.

During Ordinary time all four Gospels are read using a semi-continual system during the course of the year. Mark weeks 1-9; Matthew 10-12; and Luke 22-34. Thus almost all of Mark 1-12 is read, then the texts of Matthew and Luke that are not found in Mark.

St. John’s Gospel is read semi-continuously, above all during part of Lent and almost all of Eastertide.

Unlike the readings for ordinary time the daily readings of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter have been chosen to relate to each other and to reflect the liturgical season.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:40 pm 
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Source for the above: Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:31 pm 
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Two other places for a meditation on the readings:

www.dailyscripture.net

www.wau.org


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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:07 pm 
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You cannot expect a Priest to to teach you everything you need to know about a reading in a 5-12 minute homily, you must read scripture on your own. There is no excuse other than illiteracy for not personally studying scripture. Especially considering that many Priests seem to think purely topical sermons are the best and sometimes, unfortunately- the only- way to convey Jesus Christ.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:16 am 
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Topical sermons make me very sad.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:57 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Third, the application of the readings to daily life is only one part of what a homily is supposed to accomplish..


And yet, many priests never even bother to attempt to discuss the reading at all, and use the homily as an opportunity to tell anecdotes about the daily lives and crack jokes.


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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:00 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:06 am 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Third, the application of the readings to daily life is only one part of what a homily is supposed to accomplish..


And yet, many priests never even bother to attempt to discuss the reading at all, and use the homily as an opportunity to tell anecdotes about the daily lives and crack jokes.

I'm sorry that's been your experience. I can recall hearing only a few "homilies" like that, but perhaps it varies by region.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:15 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Third, the application of the readings to daily life is only one part of what a homily is supposed to accomplish..


And yet, many priests never even bother to attempt to discuss the reading at all, and use the homily as an opportunity to tell anecdotes about the daily lives and crack jokes.

I'm sorry that's been your experience. I can recall hearing only a few "homilies" like that, but perhaps it varies by region.

I can only think of one occasion when that happened - when Bishop Choby died in the waning hours of a Saturday night. I attended Mass that day at the parish he pastored at the time of his elevation - the entry road is named for his late mother. A lot of parishoners arrived at Mass on Sunday not knowing our Bishop had passed away. The gasp when Father began his homily/tribute was not only audible; it was danged near tangible. Father may have made some connection to the readings that day; I really don't recall. But, even if he didn't, propriety would have demanded no less than paying homage to a man with such a strong connection. It was the right thing to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:49 pm 
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anawim wrote:
When the Second Vatican Council asked for the selection of readings used at Mass to be increased, the experts took inspiration from the two ancient methods of continuity and thematic readings.

Too bad they didn't use any of the old pericopes but developed something entirely novel instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:22 pm 
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I could see an argument for introducing the Old Testament reading absent from the Extraordinary Form (except for one replaces the epistle and at certain vigils where there are multiple readings). But I agree that the new lectionary is disappointing in a number of respects. I find it particularly unnerving that St. Paul's injunction against receiving communion unworthily (which was in the EF epistle on Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi) was removed altogether from the lectionary. The only explicit reference to "eating and drinking judgment upon oneself" in the liturgy now is (I think) the sequence Lauda Sion sung or read on Corpus Christi - and it may be in the optional long version of the sequence instead of the mandated short version (which consists of the last few stanzas of the whole sequence beginning with Ecce Panis Angelorum, I believe). I bet most parishes do the short version (though both times I've chanted it, I did the whole sequence).

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:38 pm 
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The problem with the OT selections is that they are not read in order. In theory, it is good that they are matched up with the Gospel, but in practice, the familiarity of most people with the OT is so low that it often would take up more than an entire homily just to explain what is going on in that reading, much less what the connection with the Gospel is, much less any connection with the Gospel itself. And if you want to preach on the second reading, you either have to ignore the Gospel entirely or shoehorn the two together somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:00 pm 
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ThomisticCajunAggie wrote:
I could see an argument for introducing the Old Testament reading absent from the Extraordinary Form (except for one replaces the epistle and at certain vigils where there are multiple readings). But I agree that the new lectionary is disappointing in a number of respects. I find it particularly unnerving that St. Paul's injunction against receiving communion unworthily (which was in the EF epistle on Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi) was removed altogether from the lectionary. The only explicit reference to "eating and drinking judgment upon oneself" in the liturgy now is (I think) the sequence Lauda Sion sung or read on Corpus Christi - and it may be in the optional long version of the sequence instead of the mandated short version (which consists of the last few stanzas of the whole sequence beginning with Ecce Panis Angelorum, I believe). I bet most parishes do the short version (though both times I've chanted it, I did the whole sequence).

Or perhaps the number of OT lessons in the Extraordinary Form (e.g., the five OT prophecies on Ember Days, the six on the Vigil of Pentecost, and the 12 on the Vigil of Easter) is already sufficient and there is nothing "absent" to introduce.

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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:14 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Topical sermons make me very sad.


Sometimes they are necessary, for example, back in 2006 when the 'Gospel of Judas' was published and the media was filled with stories about how it undermines the gospels, we got a long topical survey about why that assessment is a complete load of crap. Another topical homily I remember was in 2004 when The Passion of the Christ came out, we got a long homily addressing the attacks on the movie by which were really attacking Christianity itself, I still remember Father getting really angry and worked up during that homily, he would repeat some criticism and then say 'liar, fraud, hypocrite!' and explain what was wrong with it.

These kinds of homilies are often necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Readings at Mass on Sunday
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Third, the application of the readings to daily life is only one part of what a homily is supposed to accomplish..


And yet, many priests never even bother to attempt to discuss the reading at all, and use the homily as an opportunity to tell anecdotes about the daily lives and crack jokes.

I'm sorry that's been your experience. I can recall hearing only a few "homilies" like that, but perhaps it varies by region.


It is what I am going through right now


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