Part Two: Liturgy of the Word:
The second part of the Liturgy of the Word comprises of the homily, the recitation of the Creed and Prayer of the Faithful (General Intentions).
Even though the priest celebrating the mass or the deacon assisting at the Mass takes the effort to prepare the homily, this part of the Mass, unfortunately, is the hardest part for some. I don’t blame them; in fact, it is difficult to listen to someone continuously for some time.
There may be many valid reasons, why it is difficult for some to pay attention to the homily preached during the Mass: may be due to many concerns about health, jobs, sports & games, family worries etc. For some, the homily may be too long and boring and for others, it is above the head and not able to comprehend the gist of the message.
Nevertheless, it is very important to know why one must pay attention to the homily. It is the Holy Spirit, who uses the priest or the deacon to enlighten His people with the message proclaimed through the three readings taken from the Bible. Basically, we need to keep our hearts and minds open with faith, so as to grasp and personalize what God shares with us. Just like a large piece of bread is broken to feed individual persons, the Word of God is broken so that it could be received and digested by the People of God.
The homily is followed by the Creed. What we recite during the Holy Mass is known as the Nicaean Creed. This is longer than the Creed we use at the beginning of reciting the Rosary, which is known as the Apostles’ Creed. Apostles’ Creed is the one, said to have been composed by the Apostles; whereas the Nicaean Creed was composed in the 4th century at the Council of Nicaea. It encompasses all that we as Catholic should believe. By reciting it during the Mass we proclaim our faith.
The Liturgy of the Word comes to an end with the Prayer of the Faithful (General Intentions). The intercessions enable us, as the Body of Christ, to pray for the Church, the nation & the leaders, for the people in special need, the local needs and for one another. Thus, we show our fellowship and universality in the Church.
To be continued
Fr. Arul Joseph V.