Pope Francis invited the faithful to place themselves in silent openness to God’s saving message as it resounds in the ecclesial assembly and is a fundamental aspect of God’s constant dialogue with his people.
The Pope’s words came on Wednesday during the General Audience as he continued his ongoing catechesis dedicated to the Eucharist with a reflection on the Liturgy of the Word.
During Mass, he said, God speaks to his people through the Liturgy of the Word, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the sacred Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to that living word.
“That’s why, he explained, personal choices regarding the readings are not acceptable,” and he invited the faithful to attain to the readings listed in the Church’s Lectionary, thus favouring ecclesial communion.
If you chat you cannot be listening to the Word of God
If one chats during Mass, the Pope continued, one doesn’t hear God’s Word and he urged believers to open their hearts in silence to be able to receive His message and then put its indications into practice.
“We need to listen! Since we do not live ‘by bread alone’, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, we need to be constantly open to, and challenged by, that word, in our lives as individuals and in our life as a Church. This is why we talk about the Liturgy of the Word as ‘the table of God’s Word’ that the Lord sets to nourish our spiritual life” he said.
Do not substitute the Word with other reading matter
The Responsorial Psalm, Francis said, favours God’s dialogue with his people as it sets the meditative mood for the next reading and he invited the faithful to participate “at least in the response”. The Liturgical proclamation, he added, expresses and favours ecclesial communion and accompanies believers in their journey of faith.
The Pope went on to say that not only must the faithful attain to the Church’s Lectionary, but must “put off reading the paper or following the news until afterwards”:
“God’s Word is God’s Word! We can read the newspaper later on. In Church we read God’s Word. It is the Lord speaking to us” he said.
We need good readers
Francis also reflected on the need for good readers and psalmists, whom, he said, must practice: “this favours an atmosphere of receptive silence” he said.
“We know, he continued, that the Lord’s Word is an indispensable aid to avoid getting lost: it lights up our path.” he said.
“How could we undertake our earthly pilgrimage, with all of its burdens and challenges without being regularly nourished and enlightened by God’s Word that resounds in the Liturgy?” he said.
In conclusion the Pope noted that it is not enough to listen only with ears, but with open hearts so that the Word can make its way inside us and make itself evident in our hands “as we carry out good works”.
Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Eucharist, we now consider the importance of the Liturgy of the Word. There God speaks to us, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the sacred Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to that living word. At the table of God’s word, we find nourishment for our lives as we listen to the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the one mystery of Christ and call for our response. Drawing from the richness of the Church’s Lectionary, the Liturgy of the Word invites us to silent openness to God’s saving message as it resounds in the ecclesial assembly and continues God’s constant dialogue with his people, the Church. Since we do not live “by bread alone”, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (cf. Mt 4:4), we need to be constantly open to, and challenged by, that word, in our lives as individuals and in our life as a Church. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to make the word sown in our hearts bear abundant fruit and guide our steps, day by day, on this, our earthly pilgrimage.
By Linda Bordoni