I am always seeking hints/tips/ideas on how I can prepare myself to get the most out of the readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass. I am currently a Magnificat subscriber and I use it to preread and meditate on the readings as well as the reflection that is included. I have found what I consider to be several very good reflections on the internet in audio/podcast form that are available at least a few days before Sunday. One of my favorites is Fr. Robert Barron’s “Word on Fire” reflections on the readings which can be downloaded from his web site at www.wordonfire.org. Fr. Barron is one of my favorite teachers as he has a gift for taking some of the more complex readings and explaining them so that even I can understand them. He is a professor and a priest in good standing in Archdiocese of Chicago and I have heard him speak live many times. He records a homily for the upcoming Sunday’s readings and put them up on his web site usually by Wednesday or Thursday. Another helpful - although a lot shorter - reflection I also use is Scott Hahn’s “Breaking the Bread” reflection which can be found at www.salvationhistory.com. I know there are a lot of very good homilies that are accessible on the web but they are usually recorded during Sunday mass (like Archbishop Dolan’s in New York, etc.) and not posted until later in the week after Sunday.
If anyone knows of other good web sites to listen to good faithful homilies or reflections a day or two before Sunday mass, please let me know. Any other suggestions/hints/tips for putting myself in the most receptive mode during Sunday Mass to hear what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me would be most appreciated.
To Jesus with Mary!!!
One thing I find helpful for myself is to read the readings from my own Bible, and read through the whole chapter or section, so as to get a sense of the context of the reading - who is St. Paul writing to, and what were their problems? Where was Jesus, at the time that He spoke these words, and who was listening to Him? What era of the Old Testament is the first reading being taken from - were the Jews in exile, were they living as nomads, or were they living in freedom, under their own King? What problems were they encountering? Which of the Prophets were they hearing from? Where and how did they live? What kind of work did they do, and how did they educate their children?
Do you read them out loud? I find that even though it sounds wonderfull when I read it in my head, reading out loud is another matter entirely. During my training, they recomended that we read out loud to someone else and get feedback, you can also practice by recording your reading and playing it back. Our diocese has workshop where they video tape you and then critique your syle.
If you have a Catholic Study Bible you can learn the situational/historical environment and meaning of each reading before going to church.
Pray As You Go, run by a group of UK Jesuits, isn’t a bad podcast: pray-as-you-go.org
It offers 10 or 12 minute meditations on the readings of each day except Saturdays. The only drawback is that it focuses on just one of the day’s readings, sometimes not the Gospel. But it incorporates great music and a combination of questions and silent times to encourage personal and individual reflection on the reading. Rather than just being someone talking at you for a period of time.
LTP’s Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word, while strongly encouraging readers to read the chapter from which their particular reading is taken, also provides context for each reading of the day.
WOW!!! Incredible suggestions - 100% success - not a single one that I am not excited about! I am going to use ALL of these ideas. When I posted I was hoping for one or two good ideas - that will teach me for underestimating the Holy Spirit
To all of my awesome brothers and sisters in Christ, I give Glory to Our God for your reflection of His kindness and wisdom.
To Jesus with Mary!