A year ago in cycle A, the Gospel narrative follows up last Sunday’s Beatitudes with Matthew 5:13-16–the Lord’s sayings on salt and light. It’s a rather people-focused reading, urging the disciples to live virtuously (presumably according to the values outlined in Matthew 5:1-12) and out in the open.
I suppose a generic gathering before God is as suitable as anything for the entrance of Mass … in any year … on any Sunday. Leading off, we have the “Gather Us In” of the Psalter:
Entrance Antiphon Ps 95:6-7
O come, let us worship God
and bow low before the God who made us,
for he is the Lord our God.
(Psalm 94: GR, p. 271)
Psalm 107, the whole thing perhaps, and not just the first nine verses, are a pretty good fit, it seems to me.
Communion Antiphon Cf. Ps 107: 8-9
Let them thank the Lord for his mercy,
his wonders for the children of men,
for he satisfies the thirsty soul,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
(Psalm 106: 1-7: GR, Praenotanda, no. 1)
Or: Mt 5: 5-6
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be consoled.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall have their fill.
(Psalm 33 or Psalm 36: 1, 2, 16, 18, 19, 23, 27: cf. GR, p. 514)
Again Psalm 34–there’s such a thing as overkill–it’s like the people who want “On Eagles’ Wings” at every funeral. I’d opt for the 107th–it’s a big long meaty piece of which we don’t hear many settings.
Another Matthew text is a possibility for Communion: 11:25-30, last appearing the Sunday Lectionary in early summer, cycle A. In it, Jesus praises the Father in gratitude then beckons his disciples to come and find rest. Our parish music committee, in fact, programmed the fine Michael Joncas setting “Come To Me” for liturgy this weekend. But as I looked over the whole of Matthew 11 (we do not read or hear verses 1 through 24 on a Sunday) I thought, why not a selection of the ones in which Jesus speaks of John:
Go and tell what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.
What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.”
I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
I don’t think the woes are out of place, either. Job strikes me as one of those front porch characters who will not be satisfied by the plans of God, liking neither dirges or festive tunes. Any thoughts?