Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
In announcing the International Bishops Synod on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” our Holy Father Benedict XVI said, “The Church’s “primary and fundamental” mission is to nourish herself on the Word of God. In fact, if the proclamation of the Gospel constitutes her reason for being and her mission, it is indispensable that the Church know and live that which she proclaims so that her preaching is credible, despite the weaknesses and poverty of the human beings who constitute her.” There is no better way to keep the Word of God as the center of our personal and pastoral lives than by celebrating the Mass. The Mass is a mosaic of the Bible.
The Mass begins with the SIGN OF THE CROSS professing belief in the Triune God and salvation by the sacrifice of Our Lord on the cross. (Phil. 2:5-11) The GREETING is taken from the greetings in the Epistles of St. Paul. (1 Cor.1:3; Rom. 1:7; Gal.1:3; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2)
The PENITENTIAL RITE: “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy” is the prayer of the blind man on the road to Jericho (Luke 8:38), the humble prayer of the Publican in the Temple (Luke 18:14) and the pleading prayer of the ten lepers. (Luke 17:13)
The GLORIA is the song of the angels at the birth of the Lord. “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2: 13-14)
The LITURGY OF THE WORD begins with a reading from the Old Testament. The RESPONSORIAL PSALM is from the Book of Psalms. On Sundays there is a reading from the New Testament and then a reading from one of the Gospels.
The HOMILY is an explanation of the Scripture Readings and application of them to our daily lives. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
The CREED is a profession of faith in the principle truths of the Bible. St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem in the Fourth Century reminds us that “This summary of the faith was not composed at man’s whim; the most important sections were chosen from the whole of Scripture to constitute and complete a comprehensive statement of the faith.”
The PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL is our response to the Lord’s command, “Ask and you will receive” (Matt. 7:7) “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)
The PREFACE ends with the Hosanna that the crowds welcomed Jesus with on his entry into Jerusalem. “On the next day when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem they took palm branches and went out to meet him and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (John 12:12-13)
The LITURY OF THE EUCHARIST is the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise (John 6) and his last will and testament at the Last Supper. “Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.” Then he took some wine that was left over, poured it into the cup, blessed it, and gave it to his apostles saying, “Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood which will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.” Then Jesus commanded them to, “Do this in memory of me.” This is the way the Lord wanted to be remembered. All of this is found in the Gospels of Matthew, (26:26-28) Mark (14:22-24) and Luke (22:14-20) and in the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (11:23-26)
The “OUR FATHER" is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. (Matthew 6: 9-13) It has been called the perfect prayer and a resume of the entire Gospel.
PEACE BE WITH YOU was the constant greeting of Jesus throughout his life. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked for fear of the Jews Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.” (John 20:19)
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD are the words of John the Baptist pointing out Jesus to the crowd. (John 1:29)
LORD I AM NOT WORTHY is the confession of the Centurion on the healing of his servant. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)
COMMUNION: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
ME” (John 1:43) At the invitation of Jesus
we assemble together as DISCIPLES to hear the Word of
God in the Scriptures and to receive the Word of God in the Eucharist.
Then we leave as APOSTLES. “GO,
THEREFORE, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew
28:19) And so the Mass ends, “GO
AND ANNOUNCE THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD.”
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