March 9, 2014 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT GOSPEL ..................... MT 4:1-11
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
When Muslims enter their holy season of Ramadan, everyone around them knows it. They fast each day until evening, pray publically and frequently, attend community worship, wear distinctive penitential garb, along with several other traditions. When a certain Muslim family in Chicago was informed that Catholics have a similar penitential season known as Lent, they were surprised. They knew several families in their area that called themselves Catholic, but during Lent could discern no noticeable change in their behavior at all. This fact reflects a growing casualness and even disregard for its purpose in our spiritual lives. Lent is a holy season of self-denial. It is also a season of witness (notice how we start by having ashes traced on our foreheads). If someone you know living near you doesn’t realize when it’s Lent, then you’re not doing your job with the gusto it deserves.
Lent is to be austere, but not sterile. Only twice are we required to fast (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). On both fast days and on each Friday of Lent, we are required to abstain from all meat and meat by-products. Meals should be simple on those days of abstinence as well; we should not be engaging in a ‘fish feast.’ Prayer should be frequent and service to the Church community should be at its peak. Donations should increase and be all the more noticeable as a strain on our budgets. Again, this is a time of sacrifice wherein we remember our baptismal call and prepare our soul for the great solemnities of Easter.
To that end, the liturgies of Lent will continue to be somewhat altered to help us improve our own Lenten discipline:
We should arrive at Lenten Masses quiet, contemplative and having prepared the readings beforehand. Our prayer should be heart-felt and our demeanor quiet and respectful. Noise should be kept at a minimum. The choirs have been asked to cease their practice at least 15 minutes before the beginning of Mass.
There will be no greeting; we will begin immediately with our opening hymn. The Gospel book will not be processed in, but placed on the altar beforehand.
Music will be simple with a minimum of instrumental backup.
The Confiteor will be said at each Mass, followed by the Kyrie (which will be led by the Deacon or Priest).
The Gloria will not be sung.
The Presidential prayers will be said, not sung.
The Alleluia will not be sung nor said. It is replaced by the Lenten Gospel acclamation. The short procession without candles continue to be used until Easter when the procession with candles will return.
Homilies will be shorter and more direct to the immediate topic.
The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy …) will be sung in Latin at all Masses.
The Great Amen following the Eucharistic doxology will be chanted once; “Amen.”
There will be no sign of peace exchanged during the Rite of Peace following the Lord’s Prayer; we will move immediately into the Agnus Dei.
The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) will be sung in Latin.
The Offertory hymn will not be sung and the recessional hymn will be replaced by a simple instrumental.
Announcements will be minimized and eliminated where possible.
Daily Masses will be at 8:30 am Wednesday through Friday and 8:00 am on Saturday. As always, please check the current bulletin for daily Mass times; funerals can always preempt a Mass.
The reconciliation service is scheduled for Thursday April 3 at 7:00 pm.
There will be a blessing of palms at the Vigil Mass of Passion Sunday. There will be one Mass at 10:00 am on the Sunday itself, with all gathering in the MPC beforehand and processing to the Church. Palms will be blessed in the MPC and the introductory Gospel will be proclaimed there.