Monday, April 27, 2009

Good Shepherd Sunday

Totally missed it in the Novus Ordo yesterday, but grateful that in the traditional Mass, we heard Ego sum pastor bonus. Bonus pastor animam suam dat pro ovibus suis. "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth his life for His sheep."

Sundays like Quasimodo Sunday and Good Shepherd Sunday make me feel the jarring disconnect between the two sets of Sunday readings. When Sundays are known by the Introit, the rhythm of the Propers creates a certain remembrance of Scripture. And the yearly repetition really does foster a sense of familiarity with the Word of God. The chanting of the Psalms with each specific antiphon (Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion) has a way of amplifying the particular theme, if you will, of that Sunday's Mass.

All too often, we get bogged down in liturgical planning, or lack of, by arguing which hymns to sing and whether they are worthy or not. What about the Propers? They are prescribed for Mass, they've always been there but largely ignored. The vehement wars over hymnody should be moot in light of singing the Propers of the Mass.

In a set of questions regarding liturgical music at Mass, Hymns vs. Propers, Aristotle mentions "praying in the words Christ taught us", as in the Lord's Prayer, but also, Christ's constant quoting of the Psalms, even at his death on the cross.

In my own life, the Psalms figured prominently through the times of darkness and distress, and in the times of joy and contentment. When I'm in contemplation, it's the words of the Psalms that resonate in me. Snippets of them accompany me during the day.

More observations from an obscure church musician living both forms of the Mass.

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