VNO 38: For the Forgiveness of Sins

Masses 38 through 50 cover the broad category “For Various Occasions.” The first of these occasions celebrates Mass “For The Forgiveness Of Sins.” The Lectionary refers to this Mass as being celebrated “For the Remission of Sins.”

The Rite of Penance mentions “Penitential Celebrations” (nos. 36-37) but the celebration of Mass isn’t included among the suggestions. We blogged on these a decade ago, but I’d say these non-sacramental services are nearly totally ignored. The intention for them is to foster a spirit of penance, to help the faithful, especially children in conscience formation. The presumption is that these celebrations would be conducted when a priest is unavailable. So the question remains: why a Mass when form II or even III could be celebrated?

The best possibility  I could foresee would be to conclude a mission or retreat or workshop on the theme of penance, and celebrate Mass after some form of Penance has taken place.

The readings are all part of the Lectionary for the Rite of Penance, and are often proclaimed during Lent. The only surprise may be the small quantity of choices.

Old Testament:
1) Isaiah 55:6-9 (Seek the Lord, from the Easter Vigil))
2) Ezekiel 18:21-23, 30-32 (the reform of the wicked)
3) Joel 2:12-18 (Ash Wednesday’s blow the trumpet)
4) Jonah 3:1-10 (Nineveh repents)

New Testament:
1) Romans 6:2-14 (an expansion of the Easter Vigil reading on life in Christ)
2) 1 John 1:5—2:2 (Jesus, expiation for sin)

1) Matthew 9:1-8 (Jesus heals and forgives the paralytic)
2) Mark 1:1-8, 14-15 (John the Baptist and Jesus preach repentance)
3) Luke 7:36-50 (the woman anoints Jesus’ feet)
4) Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 (the two sons)
5) Luke 24:46-48 (Jesus reminds the Resurrection disciples of repentance)

For the Liturgy of the Word:
1) Psalm 51:3-6a, 12-14, 17
2) Psalm 103:1-4, 8-9, 11-12
3) Psalm 130:1-8

Entrance Antiphon Cf. Wisdom 11:23, 24, 26

You have mercy on all, O Lord, and despise nothing that you have made. You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance, and you spare them, for you are the Lord our God.

If memory serves, this is the antiphon for Ash Wednesday entrance.

Communion Antiphon Luke 15:10

There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Perhaps Psalm 91 adds a fitting set of verses to this antiphon. But any of the penitential Psalms, 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, or 143 might suit.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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