What matters most: Despite our expectation that Advent is a quieter time, this first Sunday of the new liturgical year is a flurry of activity in parishes. We switch out old missalettes, worship aids, and liturgical calendars. The environment committee replaces the green from the last week of Ordinary Time with violet bunting and Advent wreaths. Lectors search for the correct place in the Lectionary, and ushers recruit volunteers to light the Advent wreath. No one who coordinates liturgy is dozing off this time of year because there’s too much to do! Yet, we might miss the point of today’s readings. In the busyness of liturgy preparation, are we missing God’s presence?
We must certainly do the hard work of preparing the liturgy well, so that everyone is ready to fully participate. But we cannot let the work be what matters most. The work is there to train our eyes so that we will see God, who will surprise us when we least expect. As good servants, let us continue to do our work well so that when God arrives unannounced, we will be ready. But as clay in God’s hands, let’s remember that, ultimately, this is the work of God, who shapes and reshapes our plans, calling us to attend first to his presence. Let’s make a new liturgical year’s resolution to pay attention to what matters most: God present in the most unplanned of situations and in the most unlikely of persons we will meet this year.
Excerpt 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..
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.
When the 2018 edition debuted at last summer’s NPM convention, it completely sold out from the Liturgical Press booth! I was at the booth for most of the week, and I heard so many great comments from participants of how beautiful and useful this resource looks. So many more also told me how they have relied so much on this resource that was begun by Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS, and Kathleen Harmon, SNDdeN, in 1999!
I have been blessed to be part of this project that continues the good work begun by Sr. Joyce Ann and Sr. Kathleen and LitPress, and I pray that our team’s contribution through Living Liturgy will help you every week of the new liturgical year.