VNO 45: For The Sick

This Mass would seem distinct from the votive Mass for Anointing of the Sick. When might it be used? Perhaps at an occasional Mass in a hospital or health facility. Possibly a Mass for health personnel. Some of the Scripture texts suggest a close identification with Christ, making me think the latter occasion can easily be part of the picture. Let’s have a look at those Lectionary options:

For the first reading, the choices are King Hezekiah’s illness in 2 Kings 20:1-6 or a portion of the fourth Suffering  Servant song proclaimed on Good Friday, Isaiah 53:1-5, 10-11.

From the New Testament, four choices:

  • Acts 28:7-10 (Paul heals the father of Publius)
  • 2 Corinthians 4:10-18 (mortal bodies waste away; also used at funerals)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 (Paul’s thorn in the flesh)
  • James 5:13-16 (James advice to send for presbyters with oil)

The clergy read from one of the four Gospel passages:

  • Matthew 8:14-17 (the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law)
  • Mark 16:15-20 (the Great Commission which includes healing)
  • Luke 22:39-43 (Jesus’ prayer after the Last Supper)
  • John 15:1-8 (Jesus the vine)

These are far from the only Biblical passages about healing. I suppose it would be counterproductive to list every instance of a person being raised from illness into good health in the Bible. Especially Jesus’ healing miracles.

As for the music, after the first reading, we can choose between the canticle of Hezekiah from the 38th chapter of Isaiah (38:10, 11, 12abcd, 16) or one of the Penitential Psalms (102:2-3, 24-25, 19-21). There are any number of other possible choices that could have been made, including the first of the choices in the Mass propers:

Entrance Antiphon Psalm 6:3-4

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I languish; Lord, heal me; my bones are trembling, and my soul is greatly shaken.

This is the first of the seven Penitential Psalms, and we looked at it briefly here in an old series on that topic.

Option two at the beginning of Mass is the fourth Suffering Servant song, also an option for the first reading:

Or: Cf. Isaiah 53:4

Truly the Lord has borne our infirmities, and he has carried our sorrows.

If that Isaiah passage isn’t right for singing verses, I’d suggest Psalm 32 as an Old Testament possibility, or perhaps Romans 5:1-5, 8-9 or 2 Corinthians 4:10-18.

Communion Antiphon Colossians 1:24

In my flesh I am completing what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.

Same suggestions hold for this Communion antiphon, though a Christ-centered focus might be communicated by using the canticle in some of the previous verses of that chapter–15 through 20.

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.

 

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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