We know well that to be disciples we are to be witnesses for Christ. Yet we are also called to be witnesses for one another, speaking on behalf of the work that Christ is doing in others. We see how that happened in today’s first reading when Barnabas testified to the apostles and gave witness to Saul’s own conversion.
In the liturgy, we give a similar kind of witness for one another at significant moments. In the process of conversion to Christ, sponsors, godparents, and other members of the assembly give public witness at the Rite of Election to the work God has done in a catechumen’s life. In the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, the assembly stands as witness to the covenantal love God has already made with the couple, who now enters that same covenant of love with each other. At confirmation and at ordination, the candidates are presented to the celebrant by a member of the assembly who testifies to the candidates’ readiness for the sacrament. And every time we offer intercessions, we are “exercising the office of [our] baptismal Priesthood” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 69), giving witness for one another before God to the needs of the church, the world, those who suffer, and the local community.
By being witnesses for one another, we offer encouragement and hope and we help one another recognize and strengthen the good work that God continues to do in the world through each one of us. Since it was God who first chose us and called us to be one with him in baptism, bearing witness for one another is also bearing witness to Christ.
Excerpt by Diana Macalintal from Living Liturgy: Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities, Year B, 2018, by Brian Schmisek, Diana Macalintal, and Jay Cormier, published by Liturgical Press. Copyright © 2017, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission..
Image credit: Harli Marten, unsplash, CC0.
About Living Liturgy
If you enjoyed this short catechetical article of mine on liturgy, music, or the RCIA, I encourage you to check out the entire Living Liturgy 2018 resource because you will get so much more than just reading from my excerpts. Brian Schmisek and Jay Cormier did a fantastic job of providing a wealth of theological information, pastoral reflections, and practical resources for every Sunday and solemnity of the entire year. Not only do you get all the readings, opening prayers, and Gospel verses for every feast, but you also get scripture exegesis, homily points, psalm response reflections for your psalmists, liturgical preparation questions for all your liturgical ministers and catechists, a lector’s pronunciation guide, sample penitential act tropes, and intercessions, including the presider’s introduction and concluding prayer for those intercessions.
Living Liturgy 2018 is a finalist for the Association of Catholic Publishers’ Excellence in Publishing Awards in the category of “Resources for Liturgy.”
I have been blessed to be part of this project that continues the good work begun by Sr. Joyce Ann and Sr. Kathleen and Liturgical Press, and I pray that our team’s contribution through Living Liturgy will help you every week of the new liturgical year.