We’re still working our way through the Mass, and in particular the first part, the Liturgy of the Word. Now, can anybody remember what comes just before the Gospel?
Right! The Gospel Acclamation is a brief song meant to highlight and thus enhance the most important of the Bible readings at Mass. During most of the year its characteristic word is “Alleluia!” – the ancient Hebrew exclamation of praise. But during the more sober season of Lent this joyful word is put on the shelf and not used.
One of the things that makes me wince big time (sort of like “fingernails on a blackboard,” that kind of grimace!) is when a congregation “says” the Gospel Acclamation. And I don’t say that just because to do so would be breaking a rule. (Yes, the Church’s liturgical directives clearly indicate that the Gospel Acclamation is either to be sung or omitted!) I’ve got a more important reason.
The Gospel is THE message of salvation. The stories about Christ Jesus are not just nice stories, they put us in contact with the Only One who can ultimately bring victory over death and sin. We owe the Gospel more emphasis, not less. Maximum, not minimum. Lights, incense, processions, kisses, special reader (deacon), special place (ambo), etc. And, looming above these all, MUSIC!