August 26, 2018
After doing the repentance thing in liturgy and, thus, recognizing one’s own dependence on the Other/other, and the very presence of the two as an unmerited gift, the Liturgy of the Word comes along. I think that we have pretty well covered the attitude of listening/hearing in our conversations about showing up and doing the work and repentance. So, today, I want to hone in on that odd little piece of the Liturgy called the ’responsorial psalm’.
If this Psalm is a ‘response’, it is a very interesting kind of response. It is not our chosen response, nor is it necessarily a response that reflects what we actually feel in the light of the reading. The same Word of God that was delivered to us in the Lesson is the source of our response, as well … the Scripture. There is something really deep here.
A response is not a reaction, nor is it an exercise in ‘gotcha-ism’ or one-upmanship. The liturgical response returns to the speaker what the speaker has given to the listener. We can respond to the Word of God with the Word of God because, in ‘showing up’ for the Word and ‘penitentially’ receiving it as gift, we have allowed that Word to become our own!
Long before we are transformed in our flesh by the reception of the Flesh of Christ, we are transformed in our thoughts and hearts by the Word of God! I told you this was deep!
In daily life this is the kind of thing that happens at a two-hankie movie; the emotions of the characters on the screen become ours. It happens, too, when the sufferings or joys of another so overwhelm our usual self-centeredness that we respond with empathy and sympathy instead of answering out of our own need to be heard or admired or defensive or whatever.
Imagine how international trade discussions or armaments talks would go if each party had so welcomed the words of the other, that the response would come from a heart transformed by the first speaker’s speaking. There would be no back and forth, no offer and counter offer, no manipulating or hidden agendas. Actually, there is a word for such a conversation, not discussion or negotiation, but dialog – literally exchanging the same word.
Take that idea of dialog into family life and each member of the family, having found a place in the heart of every other member is freed from having to fight for what is his own; all recognize that each one’s own is the possession of all and what all possess and love is fully that of each. The fruit of ‘showing up’ is hospitality and peace.
The attitudes of Liturgy, brought into the actuality of daily life, have the power to transform the daily into the reality that we experience in the ‘sacramental/Sunday’ preserve of Mass! We will continue this theme until I run our ot imagination or interest. I foresee such topics as offering, proclaiming, communion, mission.
Really and truly and worshipfully yours,