The Armchair Liturgist: Philippian Déjà Vu

armchair1.jpgFor the first time in thirty-three years, Catholics observe of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on a cycle A Sunday. We get two close appearances of Philippians 2:6-11 in the Sunday readings. The Pauline hymn (composed or quoted–we don’t know) appears on 14 September, then two weeks later on the 26th Ordinary Sunday, the Lectionary gives us an expanded version, 2:1-11.

On September 28th, there is the option of reading a shorter version, 2:1-5. It is a rare occasion I will use the shorter choice when the Lectionary gives it. (Sometimes I want to add verses left out.)

So how would you armchair liturgists plan for this? Ignore a great reading one or both weeks? Use the shorter one on the 28th and spare curious looks from the assembly? How about homilists? Preach it both times in honor of the year of Paul?

Trivia question: when else does the Lectionary give us the same Scripture not two weeks apart, but on consecutive Sundays? It happens twice, as far as I can recall.

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Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Philippian Déjà Vu

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    For the first time in thirty-three years, the observance of the Exaltation of the Paul’s hymn in Philippians 2:6-11.

    I think two sentences entered, and one sentence emerged…

    I would use the longer reading, simply because it can’t hurt (can it?) for the faithful to hear that beautiful early hymn (although rendered in prose) again.

    As for the trivia, I see one possible instance with Christmas Mass at Dawn (Luke 2:15-20) and Mary the Mother of God (Luke 2:16-21). I don’t know the other case.

  2. Neil says:

    Dear Todd,

    I would use the longer reading because of its theological importance, and because verses 6 through 11 seem to be a quotation from an early hymn – the sort of thing that is meant to be repeated and memorized.

    But is a compromise possible? If you are using the shorter reading, can you program a hymn based on Philippians 2:6-11 as the closing hymn? I can think, right now, of “At the Name of Jesus” and Charles Wesley’s “Jesus! The Name High Over All.”


  3. I’ll let the celebrants at each Mass do as they choose.

  4. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Fr. Martin has the right answer. ;) Sorry, I tend to answer these questions as if I were the priest, not a liturgical director for the priest.

  5. Liam says:

    One case is the Responsorial Psalm for Christ the King in Cycle C and Advent I in Cycle A (the Psalm in the latter has more verses, however).

    The other one would have to involve a Feast of the Lord falling on a Sunday and Ordinary Time. When Corpus Christi falls late, it might fall during the 11th week of Ordinary Time, and then in Cycle C its Gospel overlaps that of the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time. But I don’t think that’s what you meant.

  6. Todd says:

    Psalm 34 on cycle B’s Bread of Life Sundays.

  7. Liam says:

    Oh, yes, of course. That’s was so obvious as to be forgotten because I am sooooo used to that.

  8. Liam says:

    Anyway, I’ve always liked how the Sunday Lectionary Psalter for the triennial cycle ends and begins with the same Psalm.

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