We’ll conclude our look at how the Church uses the Scriptures at Mass.
The Responsorial Psalm: The psalm is meant to be our response to the Word proclaimed. The Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible containing God’s words that we can make our own in every human circumstance: in joy, sorrow, love, grief, comfort, pain, security, or rest. When we pray the psalms we pray the same words Jesus used to pray to the Father. We praise God in the psalms and hear Jesus’ voice echo in ours and ours in his (St. Augustine).
The Second Reading: As the First Readings and Gospels show us some aspect of Jesus revealed, the letters of the New Testament show us different aspects of how Jesus works in the Church. The life of the Church in New Testament times was far from simple; Paul, Peter, James, John, and many others had their work cut out for them! We read in Paul’s letters of the many different matters of faith (like the mystery of the crucifixion in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians 2) the early Church was trying to comprehend under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Hearing the letters should increase faith, hope, and love, and the fruits of the Spirit, in our Church today.
This is the Church’s plan for reading the Scriptures every Sunday. You’ll hear a good amount of the Bible at Mass, but not all of it. It is up to every Catholic, every family and parish, to continually set aside time to hear and read the Scriptures, but most importantly to pray with them. God is speaking to you. His voice is not so unrecognizable, nor his message so far off. “For this command which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you… No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it” (Deuteronomy 30:11, 14).
Written by Reverend Brian Meldrum
St. Valentine was a widely recognized third-century Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14. St. Valentine was a bishop who ministered to Christians who were persecuted. Since the High Middle Ages, his feast day has been associated with a tradition of courtly love.