The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, one of the landmark documents produced by the Second Vatican Council in 1963, breathed new life into the Church and changed the way we worship as a community. Our readings today shine light on how our attitudes towards laws, traditions, and worship correlates with the state of our hearts, our relationship with God, and how we live our lives. Let’s take a look at an excerpt from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and see how it relates to our readings today.
I. 11) But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds be attuned to their voices, and that they cooperate with heavenly grace lest they receive it in vain. Pastors of souls must, therefore, realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the laws governing valid and lawful celebration. It is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite and enriched by it.
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’” (Mk 7:6-7)
Jesus was quoting the prophet Isaiah when responding to the Pharisees’ criticism. They made a spectacle of their strict adherence to the laws of washing hands in order to undermine Jesus’ authority in front of his disciples. They were not motivated out of love of God, or trying to become more holy. Do you honor Jesus with your lips at Mass, but not act with a Christian heart the rest of the week? When saying the responses throughout Mass or reciting the creed, do you think about what you are saying? When you go through the Communion line is it an empty routine, or do you realize what you are receiving?
“You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” (Mk 7: 8)
Moses reminds us in the first reading that following God’s commandments leads to life. The greatest commandment we can follow is “to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.” (Deut 6:5) How many of us can say we truly love God this completely? When worshipping at Mass, are you fully aware and engaged when praying or listening to the Scriptures, or are you distracted? Do you sing half-heartedly, or not at all? Our “human traditions” can be life-giving when we are fully engaged. And living with an awareness that we are loved by God and are free to love God in return will produce fruit when we walk out the church doors.
God Bless! Mollie Muntefering,
Coordinator of Liturgy