Psalms in Liturgy and Life
Nestled somewhere after the first reading in every Liturgy of the Word is a humble liturgical feature known to most as the Responsorial Psalm. Even though the Psalms are Scripture, homilists rarely preach on them. Depending on certain factors – the quality of the church’s sound system, the church’s acoustics, the ability of the cantor – it may be hard to make out the words of the Responsorial Psalm as they are sung. It becomes all too easy to treat the Responsorial Psalm as a pleasant musical interlude between the first and second readings.
The Psalms present other challenges to us. If you open a Bible and start reading them, you will find a very wide range of emotions and desires expressed by them. You will even find expressions of anger and vengeance that seem rude at best and scandalous at worst to the contemporary reader. Expressions that you’ll never find in a contemporary hymn, and that you’d likely never use in your personal prayers. Continue reading “The Songs of Zion”
First Sunday of Advent (A) – Isaiah 2:1-5
Mountains attract and fascinate us. When I was a child, my parents would sometimes make weekend trips to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I loved going there. Ever since then, I have enjoyed every chance I have ever had to go up to the top of some hill or mountain and witness the views on the way as well as from the top. The mountaintop experience draws us out of ourselves. We see things from (literally) a higher and broader perspective. The town of Bar Harbor looks quite small from the top of Mount Cadillac. Sandia Crest looms a mile above the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That city seems to go on, block by block, almost forever when you’re in it. From the Crest, however, it looks like a mere patch of moss on the huge, sandy-colored rock that is New Mexico.
The mountaintop humbles us and our sense of greatness. It reveals to us a greatness beyond ourselves which nonetheless is present to us and exhilarates us. It is no wonder that so many ancient cultures imagined that mountaintops were the homes of their gods. Continue reading “The Lord’s Mountain”
May grace and peace be with you all! After literally years of wondering if I should try something like this, it has finally come to pass. My first blog.
What can you expect when you check it out? My primary goal is to offer reflections on the Sunday readings every week, and on some weekday readings. You may also find comments based on books I have read and reflections on some current events. Since this is brand new, and still a work in progress, it may include other musings as well. Continue reading “The First Word”