Pope Francis today continued with his step-by-step reflection on the Mass, making some additional remarks on the readings and homily, before talking about the Creed and the Prayers of the Faithful. As he said last week, the homily must be well prepared, and this is because the faithful have a “right to receive abundantly the Word of God.”
There is a “spiritual right of the people of God to receive with abundance the treasure of the Word of God,” he said, referencing the Introduction to the Lectionary. “Each one of us, when he goes to Mass, has the right to receive abundantly the Word of God, well read, well said and then explained well in the homily. It is a right! And when the Word of God is not read well, it is not preached with fervour by the deacon, by the priest or by the bishop, a right is denied to the faithful. We have the right to listen to the Word of God.”
As the pope has been emphasizing, the readings at Mass are the moment to hear God speaking to us directly.
“The Lord speaks for all, pastors and faithful,” the pontiff said. “He knocks on the heart of those who participate in the Mass, each one in his or her life condition, age, and situation. The Lord consoles, calls, nurtures the shoots of a new and reconciled life. And He does this through His Word. His Word knocks on the heart and changes hearts!”
Silence after the homily
Francis said that because of all this, there must be a time of silence after the homily for the seed to “settle in the soul.”
“There must be a good silence there, and each person must think about what he has heard,” the pope said.
He then moved on to the Creed, noting how it is a “common response to what has been heard in the Word of God,” and reflecting on the link between hearing and faith that St. Paul speaks about.
Asking for whatever we want
Francis then moved to the Prayers of the Faithful, speaking about Jesus’ invitation: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”
We only need faith the size of a mustard seed in order to ask whatever we wish and have it done for us, he said. The Prayers of the Faithful are the moment “to ask the Lord the strongest things in the Mass, the things we need, what we want. ‘It will be done for you’; in one way or another ‘it will be done for you.'”
The prayer must be recited with this spirit of faith, the pope said, “Lord, I believe in you. Increase my faith” — and the prayers shouldn’t be stock formulas, but rather “must give voice to the concrete needs of the ecclesial community and of the world.”
Read the full text here.
And check out the previous catecheses on the Mass in this Wednesday audience series: