MR Prefaces: Ordinary Sunday I

This preface, subtitled “The Paschal Mystery and the People of God” is a popular one. I’d like to think this is because it’s good. But maybe because it’s the first page of eight Ordinary Sunday prefaces, so there’s that.

The English translation of MR2:

The citation of 1 Peter 2:9 is vital, so important to the Christian identity. That “people set apart” is rendered variously in English Bible translations. “A people of his own” is in the NABRE. Older translations might use “peculiar people,” which employs an adjective that seems to have shifted meaning to a bit of a pejorative. “A people set apart” is more how I remember the passage; maybe that’s in MR1. The Scripture reference there is Malachi 3:17, which emphasizes a “special” possession. In MR3, it’s “your own” possession.

For through his Paschal Mystery,
he accomplished the marvelous deed,
by which he has freed us from the yoke of sin and death,
summoning us to the glory of being now called
a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for your own possession,
to proclaim everywhere your mighty works,
for you have called us out of darkness
into your own wonderful light.

Paschal Mystery >> marvelous deed >> freed from the yoke, seems like a run-on way of citing the power and grace of God. Maybe the brevity of MR2 is better.

I confess I like the expression “Paschal Mystery,” especially if it’s being preached and mentioned in a parish. Otherwise, it’s a buzz phrase. Being summoned has a little more urgency than being called. As a writer, action words are usually superior. I think I also like the MR3 a bit more for its emphasis on the kerygma “everywhere.” That seems important, even if the detail might be lost on most worshipers.

If we’re keeping score, that makes it 3-1. Not bad for MR3

This preface “preaches” Christian baptism in just one citation of the New Testament–excellent. Liturgical catechesis at its finest. If I were in the chasuble, it might be a go-to whenever there was a Baptism at Mass in Ordinary Time. If I were fumbling at the last second through the pages of the Missal, past the Easter and Ascension prefaces, there are worse places on which to land.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to MR Prefaces: Ordinary Sunday I

  1. Liam says:

    As a general matter, the rhetoric of frequently-encountered texts (and texts for memorable occasions) can bear a more complex register of syntax and phrasing, because those texts have a greater chance of percolation over time. (Strunk & White were a benchmark model for journalism and writing that aped it, not prosody.)

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