GILM 45: Listening

45. In the liturgy of the word, the congregation of Christ’s faithful even today receives from God the word of his covenant through the faith that comes by hearing, and must respond to that word in faith, so that they may become more and more truly the people of the New Covenant.
The people of God have a spiritual right to receive abundantly from the treasury of God’s word. Its riches are presented to them through use of the Order of Readings, the homily, and pastoral efforts.

For their part, the faithful at the celebration of Mass are to listen to the word of God with an inward and outward reverence that will bring them continuous growth in the spiritual life and draw them more deeply into the mystery which is celebrated. [75]

I see very little of today’s tension (largely invented, in my opinion) between active and inward participation in the liturgy documents. GILM 45 is a classic example of that.

Hearing the Word in the context of faith leads to the response to that Word, again, in faith. Our response to God’s invitation, God’s story, is part of our covenant relationship with God. It is clear that we don’t control the covenant. It is not engaged or enlivened by our good deeds. Our acts are a response to what is preached.

The second paragraph of this section presents a progression of how the faithful receive the gift of God’s Word. First readings, then homilies, and then other efforts.

The last paragraph above quotes the GIRM by suggesting that the Word is intended to inspire a response that is both interior and outward. Within the liturgy, this occurs through the vocal acclamations, responses, psalmody, and songs. After the liturgy, by the apostolic action in the world.

Are there people who focus too much on either the exterior or interior? Of course there are. It is human nature to begin from one’s comfort zone. The real challenge is with the various stages of the proclamation of the Word: its lectors, the preacher, and those “pastoral efforts,” namely the particular formation and catechesis done in each faith community. If the Church is on target with those three aspects, I believe the essential response from the listeners will be quite fruitful.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in General Introduction to the Lectionary, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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