By SISTER LOIS J. PAHA, O.P.
At this writing we are 96 days from the implementation of the Third edition of the Roman Missal. While the “opening day” nears, we offer parishes additional ideas for using the Sundays preceding the First Sunday of Advent to review some of the particular areas of the Roman Missal that will be new to them.
Homily ideas are provided here for five of the six Sundays preceding Nov. 27. A complete packet of information will be sent to the parishes of the Diocese of Tucson in the first week of September to assist the priests and deacons as needed.
The areas of reflections will address the Introductory Rites including the Greeting, Penitential Rite, Gloria and Opening Prayer; the Liturgy of the Word with specific attention to the Creed; the Liturgy of the Eucharist including the Preface dialogue, the Institution Narrative and the Memorial Acclamations; the Communion Rite and Dismissal invitations.
The liturgical reforms at the Second Vatican Council in 1965 were astounding in their invitation for the “full, conscious, active participation of the faithful.” The role of the laity had been very limited including only some spoken and sung responses. “The Church earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith (Holy Mass), should not be strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred service conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full involvement.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #48)
While that actual beginning date for the Third Edition of the Roman Missal is Advent, parishes are encouraged to introduce the people’s sung parts of the Mass and continue to inform the congregations about the changes they can expect.
The following outline is offered for Homilies in October and November:
The theme for Oct. 16 draws on the message of Isaiah, “I am the Lord, there is no other” and the Gospel, which gives emphasis to right relationships. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s but give to God what is God’s.” In the Introductory Rites we are greeted in the Lord, we welcome God’s mercy and we stand in praise of God (Gloria).
For Oct. 23, a message of compassion and living in the way of Christ can be drawn for the scriptures and prayers. In the Liturgy of the Word we listen to the voice of the readers, but we hear the Word of God. The hearing requires a living faith which is expressed in the Creed. We say more than a listing of the beliefs of the Church. We pray a spoken assent by each one gathered in one voice as we say “I believe…”
For Oct. 30, the call to practice what we preach is offered. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist we are invited in the preface dialogue to “lift up our hearts” and we will now respond, “it is right and just.” Listening to the words of thanks and praise of God in the Eucharistic Prayer takes us out of a self-centered focus and brings us to the universal “Amen” in, through and with Christ, the source and center of our peace. (Psalm 131)
For Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 as the closing of this liturgical year approaches, the messages of readiness and fidelity are stressed. Reflecting on the Communion Rite and the Dismissal Rite on these Sundays reminds us that in Communion we give our public witness to be the followers of Christ. In the Dismissal Rite we will be admonished to “Go forth, the Mass is ended”, or “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”, or “Go in peace.”
For free resources and more information on the implementation process, please see www.RevisedRomanMissal.org or www.usccb.org/RomanMissal