Monday, August 26, 2013

Comparing the two lectionaries: "less Scripture in the heart"?

Fr. Ray Blake, "More on the two Lectionaries" (August 23, 2013): In response to the question whether there is any merit in the older form ("OF") lectionary, Fr. Blake explains that it was never abrogated and is still part of the Church's living tradition today. Then he writes:
There are obvious advantages to the new Lectionary, even if it is a product of a committee and let us leave aside the matter of that committee's theology. The most obvious is that it gives a much broader and richer selection of the scriptures is offered, the Old Testament for example is not really present in the Lections, in the older form. Weekdays have their own readings rather being a re-presentation of Sunday, again opening up more of the Bible, at least for those who attend weekday Masses. The problem is that the new Lectionary demands a deeper knowledge of scripture than most members of a congregation, or even most priests, actually have. Continuous readings are fine but miss a day with a feast or solemnity and there is a wait until the cycle reappears the year after next. Obscure readings from the Old Testament tend to go over people's heads unless the context is explained, for a highly mixed congregation the second reading and even the more difficult portions of St John's Gospel can exclude rather than include. In fact the new Lectionary more or less always demands the priest to give some explanation.... The scatter-gun approach of the OF Lectionary has meant that scripture is not memorised, as it was by previous generations. Most people's memories do not retain texts over a three year period (six if the cycle is interrupted by a transferred Holyday), and memories are confused by similar texts, for example stories that appear in all the Gospels, like the feeding stories, especially when the writers have different doctrinal reasons for presenting them. Perhaps one of our big problems as a Church is that Catholic doctrine seems so very complex and that it is not understood by most regular Mass attenders, I think this is the result of the imprecision of the Pauline Lectionary, and that in fact more scripture in the Liturgy often means less scripture in the heart.
[Hat tip to Sir A. Sistrom]


Jeff said...

I count Psalms as Old Testament readings... :p

Lynne said...

Others have noticed too...

a blog for Dallas Catholics

Last night, on the Monday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time, the first reading was from 1 Cor chapter 11. This is an enormously important bit of Sacred Scripture. Specifically, the reading was verses 16-26 and verse 33 sort of stuck out there on the end. When I read it, my mind was saying “this is missing something, something really big.” So when I got back to my pew, I pulled out my phone and looked up the verses that had been skipped over (1 Cor 11:27-32):

"Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.[28] But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. [29]For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.[30]Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. [31] But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32]But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world."