Thursday, June 29, 2017

NOTES FROM NOTRE DAME SYMPOSIUM ON LITURGY & LIFE 2: "Jesus Christ in the Liturgical Year"

"Jesus Christ in the Liturgical Year" - Simone Brosig, PhD
Second set of notes from the June 19-23 symposium at University of Notre Dame. Videos of the talks will  be posted on the McGrath Institute for Church Life YouTube Channel.

Simone Brosig is Director of Liturgy, Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Photo by Tim O'Malley
Name your favorite moment in liturgical year.

School liturgy example from real life - it's all about them. Diocesan school leadership Masses on August 31 and Nov. 1st built around "theme of the year" - same music, same readings, all picked to support the theme,  unaware that the liturgical year is primary. They started with their agenda - it was not about encountering Christ. Liturgical year should be their starting point.

See Sacramentum Consilium 10, General Norms on the Liturgical Year p. 2

Liturgical year first started with Easter, then gradually, over time, it became a season... By 4th century Christmas was added. These 2 cycles make up the lit year - everything else is geared around them.

Proper of Time takes precedence. (SC 108) Easter Cycle, Christmas Cycle, Ordinary time.  Sanctoral time (saints' days) is secondary.

Starting with Advent at the beginning was not a practice until the 10th or 11th century.

Liturgical year not conceived as a whole. It grew out of the Paschal Mystery. Every encounter of the liturgical year provides opportunity to encounter a particular aspect of Christ's grace.

We should ask where did we meet Jesus this year in the celebration of ______?
This helps us develop our spirituality and attitudes.

See SC 12 - we are touched by the mysteries of redemption.

Liturgical year shapes us and our discipleship. An instrument of evangelization and invitation to encounter with Jesus Christ.

People who aren't connected to the liturgical year aren't connected to themselves.  (Her story - stressful family issues around Christmas had distanced her from Advent/Christmas) Spiritual director told her to participate in the whole Christmas cycle. That practice gradually changed how she sees Advent and Christmas.

To connect to the liturgical year, we have to connect to ourselves.  It can shed new light on our inner life.

Advent to Dec. 16 - Eschatological emphasis.  Dec 17-24 - oriented toward the Lord's birth.

Cycle A
Psalm 85 - first Sunday - comfort
Psalm  second Sunday - promise
Communion antiphon 3rd Sunday - courage

Overall Advent is an invitation to get in touch with our fears and vulnerabilities. Not penitential in the same way as Lent. Devout and expectant delight. Yet, we may discover our own exile.

When the Baby comes, we put aside our agendas. That's what the liturgical year calls us to. Paradox of triumph through weakness.

Liturgical year is not a passion play. We are not expected to change our moods to correspond with it.   Even in the 50 days, we may experience grief.  The good news of the Resurrection comes with an edge -  we remember his suffering,  Palm Sunday reminds of us the willingness of Jesus to go to Jerusalem even though it meant death.  The Empty Tomb is not a source of joy, but of grief until the Resurrection is discovered.

Evangelization through the liturgical year needs to be invitational, not directive.  Ritual greetings of the Eastern church are faith statements:
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Jesus is born. Let us glorify him. (invitation)

Liturgy and Life
We need to discover moments in the Liturgical Year that we look forward to. We need to allow the liturgy to work on people. It's not directive, it's invitational.

- The Word is a starting point.  Proclaimed well, liturgical preaching...
- Music should shape the celebration
- Bring the liturgy to the life of the parish - sing seasonal music at meetings and gatherings
- Good liturgical art. We can create it to sanctify other spaces - and bring it home  Candlemas candles and Advent wreaths bring the liturgical year into the home.

Liturgical practices can become part of identity. Ash Wednesday, for example. Young adults mark time, take it into their bodies and identify.

Monday, June 26, 2017


First set of notes from the June 19-23 symposium at University of Notre Dame. Videos of the talks will  be posted on the McGrath Institute for Church Life YouTube Channel.

"On Jesus Christ and the Liturgy" Fr. Khaled Anatolios, PhD
Fr. Kahled is a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and Professor of Biblical Studies/Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity at University of Notre Dame

"There is one thing I ask of the Lord: to dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 27
Christ is the point of human encounter with God. Two natures together in one person.

Church Fathers referred to Psalm 85:10  "Truth has sprung up from the earth..." - with the incarnation God is no longer just in heaven (Augustine)

Liturgy is the event in which the encounter of God and humanity become available and we can participate in it. It is a Christological encounter. A multitude keeping festival = the Church. In the liturgy we become one body, one spirit in Christ. We encounter each other in Christ.

Liturgy as Exodus.  Every liturgy is Passover. We pass over to freedom in the spirit from death in sin. It begins as soon as we begin our preparations for going to Mass.  But it doesn't happen through our efforts.  Christ doesn't wait for us. He goes out to accompany us.  It begins with the family preparation. But also within spiritual preparation. What do we need to be liberated from?

Liturgy as Kingdom.  In Eastern Church, we begin "Blessed is the kingdom in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus came to say that "the kingdom is among you" (literal translation of the Greek)

If the liturgy is a Passover, we begin by leaving something behind. In the Penitential Rite we declare our liberation from sin in Christ and announce the kingdom. (Repent!) And leave behind what is not the kingdom.

Christ never receives our confession, because he has already given his grace to us and has repented on our behalf. He leaves behind all that

Epistle to the Hebrews opening.  Continuity - God the Father gathers up all the ways he has been speaking and places it in Christ. Scripture is communication of the incarnation. The opening of the Epistle clears the way for the proclamation of Christ. When we hear Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel, we encounter him.

Liturgy as sacrifice - we need to recover the meaning.  Last Supper:  "This is my Body" = This is my Life. "This is my Blood" = This is my death. Christ can do this because he is in command of his life and death.  (John 10:18)  This communicates the sacrifice.

See Hebrews 10:1-14
Jesus's self offering is his whole will to the Father.  He offers all of us in himself. Perfects for all time those who are sanctified.  It is a love covenant with God - "here I am to do your will."

What happens to sin in the middle of that offering?  How does Christ take away the sin of the world? (As Lamb of God.)  In real sacrifice, you have to enter into - to empathize with the other.  Christ enters into our humanity with all its messiness and becomes part of it... His pain was greater than any human pain because he suffered all the woundedness of the world because he empathized and took on all our suffering. He did this while in the Trinity, so it becomes part of the holiness of the Trinity.

Eucharist needs to be spiritually digested because it's spiritual food - it is digested spiritually by contemplation and through reflection on Scripture.

The Holy Spirit is the "extrovert" member of the Trinity.  It comes down and transforms the bread and wine and then it transforms us.  Every Eucharist is a Pentecost.

Jesus never says "Peace be with you" except after the Resurrection.  The peace of Jesus is a definitive peace.  The peace of a fullness of communion, of encounter between God and humanity. Humanity is fully integrated into the life of God - and we are sent to bring this peace to the world.

Pope Benedict in Sacramentum Caritatis... we bring the pain and suffering of the world and offering them with the gifts.

We lift up our hearts with Gods help.  We get new hearts from God at the liturgy.