Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Lectionary is at Last Bearing Fruit

This is the comment of Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith at the Catholic Herald. Link here.

I cannot get open the link he has for the Directory so I cannot assess it yet. I am pleased that there is an increased awareness of the importance of preaching. It will be interesting to see if the distinction between homilies and sermons is brought out.

All of us priests think that we are the cat's pajamas when it comes to preaching. Everyone else preaches too long or too short. They are too highbrow or too populist. They are too dry or they milk the crowd for all it is worth.

I myself, yea even I, have been criticised by a fellow priest for waving an Ikea Dragon about during a homily. But look, you just get to a point where you need a visual prompt when explaining the connection between internal Trinitarian perichoresis and salvation history. I used a stuffed dragon. Hey get over it.

But I am not at all sure that this can be put down to the Lectionary. If you think that it is hard to listen to this stuff of a Sunday morning, then just think what we have to go through to come up with it.

In my experience, and so of course I acknowledge that this is not universally the case and your own priest may be too wonderful for words, but the Old Testament is seldom preached on. And sometimes for good reason.

For example, last Sunday's first reading was a piece utter depression from the book of Job. There was no obvious link to the other readings. It came from nowhere. There had been no sustained reading of Job to put it in context.

It is like holding a party when Marjory, who is usually the life and soul, turns up with a face like a slapped thing, bursts into tears and then runs to her room, sobbing and slamming the door behind her.

Only a brute would ignore the situation. You would go and see what was going on, with words of comfort and sympathy on your lips.

Job turned up, said everything was ghastly, and then the reader said "The Word of the Lord." Did your priest mention it? Was it explained? Was it preached about? Contextualised? Or.... ignored.

I'm not criticising the priest, often is the time I have thought "I have no idea what you are going on about St Paul, let's just go with Deuteronomy."

I do not want to get into an Old Mass / New Mass debate. I just want to say that the Lectionary REALLY needs revising. Or else the fruits that does bear will be skewed and strangely un-nice.

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