Happy New Year - a new liturgical year, that is.
This weekend begins Year A of our three-year lectionary cycle, the rotation of Scripture readings assigned by the Church. This year centers around the gospel of Matthew.
“I wait for you, O Lord; I lift up my soul to my God (Ps 25:1).”
Every new liturgical year begins with the season of Advent, a time of anticipation. In the past the people of Israel waited for the promised Messiah, who came in the flesh as a baby. Today we long for the presence of the Holy Spirit, which we encounter in the Word, through the Eucharist, and in the Body of Christ (each other). We look to the future when Jesus will return at his Second Coming, gathering up all believers at the end of time. Advent is also a time of preparation and repentance. Let us look at an important prayer we will be singing together during our liturgies this Advent to help prepare our hearts for his arrival.
We will begin our year singing Scott Soper’s version of Psalm 25 “To You, O Lord” for all four weeks of Advent. Hopefully the repetition of this psalm will help it sink into your bones and remain in your mind and heart throughout the season. Through this beautiful psalm, we not only proclaim how good and forgiving God is, but we also reach out to God in faith, admitting our own weakness and our need for his wisdom and guidance.
Like it or not, we all need help learning how to become the people God is calling us to be. We need him to show us how to love each other. How does God show us? Through Jesus and His Life, Death and Resurrection, God has taught us everything. Jesus is the perfect model of how to love. As St. Therese of Lisieux wrote in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, “When I show charity to others, I know it is Jesus who is acting within me, and the more closely I am united to him the more truly I love others.” Left to our own willpower, we will make mistakes, we will fail. This is why we long for Jesus to be close to us now, because sin leaves an emptiness in us that he can heal and fill with his love.
In addition to being a supplication for wisdom and forgiveness, the psalm allows us to lift up our pain. We all have our own share of problems and struggles. Yet coming together on Sunday, gathering up our pain and concerns and offering them up in song to the Lord is a demonstration of our faith and hope. The support of one another through our presence and voices helps to open up the soul and allows the Holy Spirit enter in to heal what is hurting. May you experience that lifting up of the soul through song this Advent. I can’t think of a better way to start off the year.
God Bless, Mollie Muntefering,
Coordinator of Liturgy