Assumption Vigil Readings

See the source imageIt’s a curious set of readings for the Roman Vigil of the Assumption. The citation from 1 Corinthians 15, and the Lucan Gospel seem sound, and I know these also have a history in Eastern Orthodoxy. The Orthodox also utilize the Kenosis canticle from Philippians 2, but my main wonder is the Old Testament reading and the Psalm.

I do know that the narratives on Temple are also part of the Eastern tradition in the Liturgy of the Hours. Check some of their texts here. The Wisdom 9:1-11 struck me and I wondered if there were other possibilities for the Vigil.

I wonder about the conclusion of the passage praising the worthy woman in Proverbs 31:29-31:

“Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.” Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Acclaim her for the work of her hands, and let her deeds praise her at the city gates.

Did the Church Fathers get a bit skittish about the longer passage referring to the woman as the wife of a husband? Another thought would be the singing of the Song of Moses in heaven, Revelation 15:2-4:

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

And a psalm? Why not the Canticle of Simeon? 

My concern is the modern mindset of pragmatism, especially in the clergy, who make the decision on which set of readings. Rare is the priest I’ve worked with who opts for different sets of readings for a Vigil. Christmas Vigil is such a misfit with the expectations of a twice-a-year assembly. (I still remember when a deacon defied the pastor who had chosen the Mass at Night readings and he went to the ambo, turned the page back, and read the genealogy.)

Assumption is a feast that, when it falls on a weekend, deserves some elaboration–at least in the minds of most preachers. Otherwise, I think this Vigil is a fail, at least in terms of the amount of attention I’ve seen it get. It’s hard enough getting people to church for a holy day these days. Seems we could use a bit more research and consideration for enhancing their faith and facilitating a positive, memorable, and fruitful experience at liturgy.

About catholicsensibility

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