RP 51-53 Form II (or III): Liturgy of the Word

mary-the-penitent.jpgLet’s continue with the rubrics and suggestions for the “CELEBRATION OF THE WORD OF GOD.” #51 gives two examples of Liturgies of the Word, with the full three readings, psalm and alleluia verse. On occasion do I find form II celebrated with as many as two readings. But the rite does permit one, preferably a gospel:


51. The celebration of the word follows. If there are several readings a psalm or other appropriate song or even a period of silence should intervene between them, so that everyone may understand the word of God more deeply and give it his heartfelt assent. If there is only one reading, it is preferable that it be from the gospel.

These two examples are interesting: some very long readings, plus the use of Baruch 1 as the psalm:

FIRST EXAMPLE: Love is the fullness of the law

FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 5:1-3, 6-7, 11-12, 16-21a; 6:4-6 Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Baruch 1:15-22 R: (3:2) Listen and have pity, Lord, be­cause you are merciful.

SECOND READING: Ephesians 5:1-14 Walk in love, as Christ loved us.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: John 8:12, I am the light of the world. The (one) who follows me will have the light of life.

GOSPEL: Matthew 22:34-40 On these two commandments the whole law and the prophets depend.


John 13:34-35; 15:10-13 I give you a new commandment: love one another.

SECOND EXAMPLE Your mind must be renewed

FIRST READING: Isaiah 1:10-18 Stop doing what is wrong, and learn to do good.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 51:1-4, 8-17 R: (19a) A humbled heart is pleasing to God.

SECOND READING: Ephesians 4:23-32 Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

GOSPEL: Matthew 5:1-12 Happy the poor in spirit.

Other optional texts are given in nos. 101-201.


52. The homily which follows is based on the texts of the readings and should lead the penitents to examine their consciences and renew their lives.

One of the clear directions given in the rites: the homily is based on the readings. The rite considers the examination of conscience part of the liturgy of the word: fascinating.


53. A period of time may be spent in making an examination of conscience and in arousing true sorrow for sins. The priest, deacon, or another minister may help the faithful by brief statements or a kind of litany, taking into consideration their circumstances, age, etc.

Note the careful language: the examination “may” include these vocal statements. I imagine a mature community (probably a gathering of religious or clergy or an intentional lay group) may not need the litany if the readings and homily have done their job. Anyone ever experience a period of silence for recollecting and examining one’s conscience? I can’t say I have, even in a monastery when on retreat.

Any other thoughts? Anybody ever use these “first” examples for their liturgy of the word?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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