This is our opportunity to learn more about God and His people through His words in the Bible. The Church has chosen specific readings for each day. Over the course of three years we would have read the entire Bible!
The First Reading
The first reading is usually taken from the Old Testament. Between Easter and Pentecost the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. God speaks to us through the Prophets. The reader takes their place in speaking to us. We realize that the Prophets were speaking about Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles shows us that the Apostles realized that Jesus was the Savior the Prophets spoke of. We learn how the Church first started and what they did after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. They went about trying to live as Jesus and the Holy Spirit lead them.
At the end of the reading the reader says “The Word of the Lord.” And we respond “Thanks be to God.” We thank God for His words to us.
The Responsorial Psalm
After the First Reading and before the Second Reading is the Responsorial Psalm. It can either be read or sung. It is usually a song from the book of Psalms. These Psalms were written about the Glory and Goodness of God and His instruction to His people. We all participate by responding to God’s word by repeating the response said by the reader or sung by the cantor.
The Second Reading
This reading is usually taken from the New Testament about the development of the Church after Jesus rose from the dead. These are the letters that the Apostles like Saint Paul, wrote to the various Churches across the country. These letters tell the Church members about the teachings of Jesus and encourage them and us to make Jesus and his standards a part of our own lives.
We see that the Church and its members were just like we are today. There was jealousy and fighting, there were those who had different opinions and those who did not want to follow what was taught by the Apostles. The Apostles urge the Church to get along with each other and to practice patience, tolerance and respect for each other.
At the end of the reading the reader says “The Word of the Lord.” And we respond “Thanks be to God.”
We now stand for the Alleluia Verse.
We praise Jesus who comes and speaks to us. Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel. We stand out of respect and prepare for His message with the Alleluia verse. This verse may be introduced by the singing or saying of an Alleluia praise.
God speaks to us though Jesus. The priest greets us in the name of Jesus. The Gospels tell us where Jesus went, what He said and taught and what happened in His life.
The reading comes from one of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Each of these Gospels has a slightly different focus on the life and teachings of Jesus. These four Apostles wrote to different groups of people. The Gospel of Matthew wrote to the Jews to show them that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. The Gospel of Mark is the most graphic in his description of the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells about the healings that Jesus did while He was on earth and shows that Jesus came to heal us and make us whole. The Gospel of John shows us that Jesus gave two basic Commandments for us to live by, to Love God and to Love our neighbor.
Before the priest reads the Gospel he greets us saying
Priest: The Lord be with you
We respond by saying “And also with you”
Priest: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
We respond “Glory to You Lord” and make a Cross on our foreheads (our minds), our lips and our hearts. When we do this we are saying Lord come fill my mind and my thoughts, my lips (my words) and my heart. We listen attentively to the Gospel reading.
At the end the priest says “ The Gospel of the Lord” and we respond “Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.”
We sit and listen attentively to the words the priest will no share with us.
God speaks to us through the priest. The priest uses stories that are told in the readings to explain to us how Jesus is part of our daily lives. We learn how to apply the teachings of Jesus in our lives. The priest usually ends his Homily by asking us to try to live better lives and to pray more.
We now stand for the Profession of Faith
The Profession of Faith
We have heard God’s words on the readings and in the Homily so we now want to proclaim before everyone that we do believe. We believe what God has told us, what He calls us to be and do and we believe that He loves us. We profess all this by saying the Nicene Creed of The Apostles Creed.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,the Father, the Almighty,maker of heaven and earth,of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,the only son of God,eternally begotten of the Father,God from God, Light from Light,true God from true God,begotten, not made,of one being with the Father.Through him all things were made.For us and for our salvationhe came down from heaven:by the power of the Holy Spirithe became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,and was made man.For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;he suffered death and was buried.On the third day he rose againin accordance with the Scriptures;he ascended into heavenand is seated at the right hand of the Father.He will come again in gloryto judge the living and the dead,and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].With the Father and the Sonhe is worshipped and glorified.He has spoken through the Prophets.We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.We look for the resurrection of the dead,and the life of the world to come.
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spiritand born of the virgin Mary.He suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into hell.*On the third day he rose again.He ascended into heaven,and is seated at the right hand of the Father.He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic Church,the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting.
The priest now leads us in the Prayer of the Faithful or the General Intentions.
This is the part in the Mass that we pray for the Church, our leaders, for those who ha died and each other. We need each other to live pure and holy lives so we pray with and for each other. After each intercession we say “Lord hear our prayer or Lord graciously hear us.” We also pray through the intercession of our Blessed Mother and say one Hail Mary.
This ends the Liturgy of the Word. We sit for the preparation of the gifts, the first part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.