Sunday we begin to mark the days of Winter Ordinary Time. During these
weeks before Lent we’ll continue our series on gaining a better
understanding of the Mass.
What actually happens during the Liturgy of
the Word is a bit of a mystery because, as in the eucharistic elements,
we believe too that Christ is present in the scripture as it is
proclaimed. This is the living presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit
who dwells in our hearts and minds, the same Spirit who allows us to
receive the message or “word” God intends us to hear. So, the Liturgy of
the Word hinges on an assembly which has adopted an attitude of
openness and obedient listening.
Our active listening is the reverence due
to Christ as he speaks to us now. How awesome! But do we believe it?
Do we offer the same attentiveness to Christ in the word as we do when
we receive communion?
The dynamic of the Liturgy of the Word is
very different from that of a Bible study. We are not gathered to learn
about Christ but rather to listen to him speaking to us today. Neither
is the homily a time of education but rather of formation as the
homilist interprets scripture and connects it to our daily lives. Just
as the proclaimed readings by a well prepared lector are an encounter
with Christ (Christ speaks to us) so too is the homily an encounter with
Christ. (January 11, 2004)