Liturgy of the Word – an explanation of the daily liturgical readings.
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Liturgy is “the participation of the People of God in ‘the work of God;’ It is the ‘exercise of the priestly office of Jesus'” in which God is worshiped and adored and people are made holy. God begins the work of sanctifying people in time and space and brings that work to completion. Those who respond to God in worship and in service are given the privilege of becoming co-workers in the divine plan. — From Built of Living Stones
CityOfAgape.org also provides a wealth of Liturgical Resources. These resources assist those who not only prepare and participate in the liturgical worship of the Church, but also those that attend these worship services. The site is mobile-friendly and is easily accessible by smart devices so you can take it anywhere, read it anytime, and follow along during worship service.
The Liturgy of the Word is mostly made up of readings from Scripture. On Sundays and solemnities, there are three Scripture readings. During most of the year, passages from the Old Testament are part of the first reading. Readings from one of the New Testament letters are part of the second reading. During Easter Time, the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles which tells the story of the Church in its earliest days. The last reading is always taken from one of the four Gospels.
In the Liturgy of the Word, the Church feeds the people of God from the table of his Word (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 51). The Scriptures are the word of God, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the Scriptures, God speaks to us, leading us along the path to salvation.
The Responsorial Psalm is sung between the readings. The psalm helps us to meditate on God’s word.
The reading of the Gospel is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word and thus receives several special signs of honor and reverence. The life, ministry, and preaching of Christ is told in the four Gospels. The Gospel is introduced by an acclamation of praise to the gathered standing assembly. That acclamation, apart from Lent, is “Alleluia,” which is derived from a Hebrew phrase meaning “Praise the Lord!” The Gospel is read by a deacon, or, if no deacon is present, a priest.
After the Scripture readings, the celebrant preaches the homily. In the homily, the preacher focuses on the Scripture texts or some other texts from the liturgy, drawing from them lessons that may help us to live better lives, more faithful to Christ’s call to grow in holiness.
In many Masses, the Profession of Faith then follows the homily, either the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed is a statement of faith dating from the fourth century, while the Apostles’ Creed is the ancient baptismal creed of the Church in Rome. If baptismal promises are renewed, from a formula based on the Apostles’ Creed, this takes the place of the Creed.
The Liturgy of the Word concludes with the Universal Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Faithful. The gathered assembly intercedes with God on behalf of the Church, the world, and themselves, entrusting their needs to the faithful and loving God.
For more in-depth reference visit http://www.usccb.org/