Helping people to hear the Living Word

Sayers Common 033a

Many people in the Sunday congregation find the Liturgy of the Word quite a challenge.

They are not very familiar with the Scriptures, and often they are faced with four passages of Scripture read at them, with narry a pause. Bludgeoned with words that don’t mean much, the congregation can find itself deaf to the Living Word.

This is not as it should be. The norms established in the Introduction to Lectionary for Mass (GI) make that clear.

  • There ought to be periods of silence after a reading to allow the congregation to meditate on it, to find nourishment there, before moving on to the next element of the Liturgy of the Word. (GI 28)
  • It is expected that some of the elements of the Liturgy of the Word will be sung – music contributing its particular genius to the ministering and reception of the word of God. (GI 56). The responses after readings might be sung too: ‘The word of the Lord’ ‘Thanks be to God.’

These are things for our worshipping communities to seek to grapple with so as to help us all develop the authentic Christian spirit, and to worship fruitfully, to live faithfully.

There is another aid to assistance that is suggested in the GI: the preparation of introductions to the readings such as can help the gathered assembly toward a better hearing of the word of God.

Over the next few weeks, by way of a trial, brief Introductions for use at Mass are being offered on this blog.

Suggested Introductions for next Sunday follow.

  • In our first reading today we hear a reading the Church also hears each year during Holy Week. The suffering servant of Isaiah bears sacrificial witness and renews his trust in the Lord.
  • In our psalm we take ancient words of grateful faith. We make them our own as we renew trust in the Lord.
  • Our second reading, this week as last, comes from the Letter of St James. He speaks of faith – faith that is not just words or thoughts but faith that is expressed in how we live.

Your thoughts are welcomed.

  • What do you think of the idea of such introductions in general?
  • Are those offered for a particular Sunday helpful?
  • Are they too brief?
  • Too long?
  • Too interpretative?

Do let me know what you think…

4 thoughts on “Helping people to hear the Living Word

  1. Marian Gallacher says:

    Dear Father Allen

    I think your suggestions are excellent. For each reading there are keys words such are “renew our trust in the Lord.” It would be helpful if the key word/s could be in bold. Otherwise, excellent.

    My only other comment I would make is about the pictures at the top. It would help, if apart from the details of the location of the image, you could add the century/date of the image. I am always interested in the period it was created as it helps to place it in the history and development of our church history and expressions of faith and spirituality through the centuries.

    Thank you dear Father Allen and keep inspiring your followers!

    God bless you,

    Marian Gallacher

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Fr. Allen, I like your suggestion of brief introductions. I think those offered for a particular Sunday can be very helpful like the examples you use for the first and second readings. God bless you!


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