The primacy of the assembly in the liturgy

The primacy of the assembly in the liturgy

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sometimes I hear liturgical ministers say something like, “I’m not doing anything at Mass today because I wasn’t scheduled.” I’ll even hear something similar from clergy if they’re not concelebrating or assisting at the altar.

I know that they don’t really mean they’re not doing anything at Mass. But we should be careful of saying this because it diminishes the liturgy itself. If we’re a catechumen or a member of the baptized faithful, we’re all doing something at Mass because our full, conscious, and active participation “is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14). The assembly is the first and primary ministry of every liturgical minister even when we are serving at Mass. Without the assembly, none of the liturgical ministries would be needed.

The assembly is the first and primary ministry of every liturgical minister even when we are serving at Mass. Without the assembly, none of the liturgical ministries would be needed. Click To Tweet

As assembly, we first attune our minds to our voices (CSL 11) so that what we say and do in the liturgy shapes and forms our attitude and thinking. This is why interior and exterior participation are both necessary. From this disposition, we attend to our fellow members of the body, recognizing that their presence is not a distraction to our prayer but in fact is necessary if we are to pray as one body in Christ.

Whether or not you’re scheduled to serve this Sunday, be sure you’re prepared to do your principle ministry as a member of the assembly of the faithful.

 
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

Image credit: NeONBRAND, unsplash, CC0.

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