VERBUM TIP of the day: Revised Common Lectionary: Sundays and Feasts in Ordinary Time

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 3 2015 4:07 PM

1. Each of the seasons of the liturgical year has its own lectionary structure. Here we discuss Ordinary time which has the simplest structure. Ordinary time covers the time between Christmas season and Lent as well as between Easter season and Advent. Different denominations have different vocabulary for referring to these Sundays. The basic principles are:

  • The Gospel is chosen as a semi-continuous reading of the Gospel of the year (Year A - Matthew, Year B - Mark supplemented by John, Year C - Luke)
  • The first reading (Old Testament) is chosen to complement the Gospel in some way.
  • For the second portion of Ordinary time there is an option for the first reading to be a semi-continuous reading of the Old Testament with an emphasis on the narrative.
  • The responsorial Psalm is a response to the first reading or occasionally the Gospel.
  • For both the first reading and the responsorial Psalm, if they are from the deuterocanon, a protocanonical alternative is provided.
  • The second reading is a semi-continuous reading primarily of the epistles.
  • How do the influences of other passages, especially their themes and images, affect how you see each specific passage? (For example, Ps 23 is seen differently in the context of funeral passages than with the Good Shepherd Gospel).

Note that many liturgical traditions use a continuous reading of the books in other services of the day such as Morning & Evening Prayer or Office of Readings.

2. In studying the lectionary readings there are a number of obvious questions to ask about the relationships between the readings:

  • If using the complementary first reading, how does the first reading relate to the Gospel?
  • How is the responsorial psalm a response to the first reading?
  • What aspect of the psalm is emphasized by the (repeated) response?
  • For semi-continuous readings, why is today's reading deemed important in comparison to any unused passage between last week's and this week's readings?
  • For semi-continuous first readings, where does this week's event, if one, appear on the time line of God's plan of salvation. I personally tend to use Cavins, Jeff, Tim Gray, and Sarah Christmyer. The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation. The Great Adventure Bible Timeline. Ascension Press,2011 as my template. A variety of others are available.
  • For semi-continuous Gospel readings, where does this week's event appear on the time line of Jesus' ministry? I tend to use the Eastern Church's iconostasis for my template here but a chronological harmony is more common.
  • For semi-continuous second readings, where does this week's reading fall in the line of argument of the epistle?

3. The next question to ask relates to where else the passages may be used in liturgy. The Passage Guide Liturgy section provides this information:

This allows one to ask questions such as:

  • What understanding of the passage is implied by its use? (This passage from the Bread of Life Discourse is used on Thanksgiving and on the Feast of the Body & Blood (Eucharist ...)
  • What weight is the passage given as implied by its frequency of use? (Remember lectionaries gained their basic form when most members of the congregation were dependent upon hearing the Word as they did not read or could not afford Bibles.)

4. The next question to ask is how has the passage been used historically. Logos is light on historical lectionary data but for the Western Church, the Lutheran traditional one year lectionary provides an adequate stand-in.

The same questions that were asked in the context of a contemporary lectionary may be asked historically. However there are additional interesting questions to ask:

  • Do differences in pericope boundaries imply any differences in interpretation?
  • Does the passage appear in a similar context (liturgical year and/or other readings) or has there been a change which reflect a difference in focus over time? Note in the from the one year lectionary to the three year lectionary an effort was made to distribute the familiar readings across the years - especially in  Advent, Christmas and Easter.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 4 2015 12:58 AM

Just checking - 'cos it would be useful and I can't find it on my installation (not Verbum)

Is the 'Liturgy' section restricted to Verbum installations?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 4 2015 1:27 AM

I'd check but my Logos installation is spending its time "preparing your library ... This may take a very very long while so ...." I would have thought it was a section that could be added in Logos because most liturgical churches aren't the Verbum Catholic audience.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Sue McIntyre | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 4 2015 3:04 AM

MJ. Smith:

I'd check but my Logos installation is spending its time "preparing your library ... This may take a very very long while so ...." I would have thought it was a section that could be added in Logos because most liturgical churches aren't the Verbum Catholic audience.

It can indeed be added to the passage guide in Logos.

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 4 2015 3:25 AM

Thanks Sue (and indeed Martha)

I have now added that tab in - quite easy but I hadn't played with it for a long time.

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