In these morceaux I’m slowly working my way through the Mass. We’ve now reached that point in the Liturgy of the Word when the First Reading is over. The reader announces “The Word of the Lord” and everyone proclaims “Thanks be to God,” for we should be grateful for the message which the Almighty has shared with us in His Biblical message.
At this point the cantor or choir is supposed to lead the assembly in a participatory Scriptural Responsorial Psalm. You know, people frequently pay attention to the “Top 10” or “Top 40” hit songs on the pop or country music charts in any given week. Well, the 150 psalms in the Bible have been – hands down – the “Top 150” songs of all time. I can almost always find a psalm that matches my mood, whether I’m upbeat or a little stressed, whether I’m really focused about praying for some situation or if I’m sort of just generally lazing back waiting for God to hit me with something inspiring! (I hope you’ve discovered the same thing!)
It’s that richness of themes that makes the psalms perfect for this formal responsorial at Mass. The Church often tries to echo an idea or theme that’s been presented in the First Reading, or will be developed in the Second Reading or Gospel. By joining in the psalm B and trying hard to mean what it expresses, not just mouth the words B we’re joining in a chorus of faith that echoes far beyond the walls of our church building!