“The conversation today from the Holy Father was all about the Liturgy of the Word, the homily and the Gospel and what that means and how we can enter into those as we celebrate the Holy Mass. The Holy Father spoke about the fact that the Gospel is an opportunity for us to experience the Word of God which saves us and which is, of course, alive. And that Gospel then sheds the light of Christ onto the readings that have preceded it,” said Ashley Noronha, Relevant Radio® Rome correspondent and regular contributor to Morning Air®.
The Liturgy of the Word isn’t a one-way street; we don’t simply sit and listen. The Gospel “speaks to us” and “awaits our response,” says the Holy Father. He shared a piece of advice for how we can get more out of the liturgy: make time for “private reading and reflection,” which will help us to appreciate more fully the “beauty and richness of the readings.”
“Take that time every day to read the readings and not just to read through them but to really meditate, to soak them in,” Noronha suggested. She said it’s so easy with mobile apps to access the daily readings and work time into your day to reflect on them. Ashley and her husband begin each day with the daily readings; this allows them to carry that inspiration throughout the day.
Pope Francis also spoke about the homily and how we have a duty to participate in it, said Noronha. “The homily draws us in because it helps us to enter the mystery of the Gospel. The Holy Father pointed out that both the homilist and the people have a responsibility to be disposed to receive not only the Word, but also the homily. It’s in this way, through the Word, through the homily, that we invite Christ to enter into our lives.”
Pope Francis General Audience, February 7, 2018
Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Eucharist, we now turn to the culmination of the Liturgy of the Word in the Gospel and in the homily. The Gospel sheds the light of the mystery of Christ on the scriptural readings that precede it. By our acclamations and the rites that accompany its proclamation, we venerate the Gospel as the living and saving word of God, who speaks to us in the midst of the liturgical assembly and awaits our response. This dialogue between the Lord and his people continues in the homily, which seeks to make God’s word incarnate in our hearts and in our lives. The homily draws us more deeply into the mystery of the communion in Christ that we celebrate in the Eucharist. The homily makes demands on both the homilist and the congregation; both must be disposed to consider how the word of God applies to the here and now of our lives, even when its summons to conversion proves challenging or painful. Familiarity with the Gospel through private reading and reflection can enable us appreciate ever more fully the beauty and richness of the readings of each Sunday’s Mass.