FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
By Kathleen Foehrkolb
“Indeed, the Word of God is living and effective; sharper than any two-edged sword.” Heb. 4:12
God has so much to say to us; so much wisdom and compassion and encouragement to convey. One of the ways that God speaks to us is through His inspired word in the Holy Scriptures. And one of the places where we encounter the word of God from Holy Scripture is at Mass.
Every Catholic Mass has two main parts: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During the Liturgy of the Word, there are four readings from the Bible:
First Reading: Read by the lector; usually from the Old Testament (except during the Easter season when it is from the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament).
Responsorial Psalm: Sung by the cantor with the congregation joining in the response; always from the book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Second Reading: Read by the lector; usually from one of the New Testament epistles (except during the Easter season when it is from the book of Revelation). Epistles are letters written by early Church leaders to various Christian communities.
Gospel: The climax of the Liturgy of the Word is the proclamation of the gospel. The gospel is proclaimed by the priest or deacon. We show respect for the gospel by standing while it is proclaimed. The four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are found in the New Testament and contain the words and actions of Jesus while he was on earth.
After the reading of the gospel, the priest or deacon delivers a homily to explain the readings and offer practical suggestions for applying the message of the readings to everyday life.
As a lector, I am humbled and honored to be the channel by which God communicates his Word to his people. As I approach the altar to proclaim God’s word, I pray that God will use me to touch his people’s hearts and minds with all he wants to say to them.
Let us always strive to be attentive and open to the Word of the Lord!