Today we begin three posts on the Word at liturgy. Sunday nourishment comes in two ways:
39. As in every Eucharistic celebration, the Risen Lord is encountered in the Sunday assembly at the twofold table of the word and of the Bread of Life.
Nourishment = meal. Very much a part of the orthodox understanding of the Mass.
The table of the word offers the same understanding of the history of salvation and especially of the Paschal Mystery which the Risen Jesus himself gave to his disciples: it is Christ who speaks, present as he is in his word “when Sacred Scripture is read in the Church”.(Sacrosanctum Concilium 7; cf. 33) At the table of the Bread of Life, the Risen Lord becomes really, substantially and enduringly present through the memorial of his Passion and Resurrection, and the Bread of Life is offered as a pledge of future glory. The Second Vatican Council recalled that “the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are so closely joined together that they form a single act of worship”.(SC 56; cf. Ordo Lectionum Missae, Praenotanda, No. 10) The Council also urged that “the table of the word of God be more lavishly prepared for the faithful, opening to them more abundantly the treasures of the Bible”.(SC 51)
Word and Eucharist form a unified act of worship. That has an impact on the modern Roman Rite, certainly, and remains an issue for those advocating the traditional Latin Mass.
Preaching is essential:
It then decreed that, in Masses of Sunday and holy days of obligation, the homily should not be omitted except for serious reasons.(Cf. ibid., 52; Code of Canon Law, Canon 767, 2; Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Canon 614) These timely decrees were faithfully embodied in the liturgical reform, about which Paul VI wrote, commenting upon the richer offering of biblical readings on Sunday and holy days: “All this has been decreed so as to foster more and more in the faithful ‘that hunger for hearing the word of the Lord’ (Am 8:11) which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, spurs the People of the New Covenant on towards the perfect unity of the Church”.(Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum (3 April 1969): AAS 61 (1969), 220)
Paul VI: the underrated post-conciliar pope.