John Lilburne's journal about an ordination, instituted lectors, Isaiah 2:1-5, swords into ploughshares and Advent.

 

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1443 L Sun 2 Dec 2001

The Catholic Church begins a new liturgical year today. It is the first Sunday of Advent and changes from Year C to Year A. Instead of Mass at the Cathedral I went to Oakleigh for the ordination to the Diaconate of Joseph Tran Thanh Giang.

By being ordained Giang has a specific role in the Mass: reading the Gospel. This is taken seriously as it should be. He also stops being an instituted lector. Unfortunately this role was not taken seriously at the Mass. As for the ordination last Saturday, there were instituted lectors available, in the sanctuary as altar servers. But instead of using them, readers who had not been instituted by a ceremony were used.

The first reading was Isaiah 2:1-5

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come
the mountain of the Temple of the Lord
shall tower above the mountains
and be lifted higher than the hills.
All the nations will stream to it,
peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:

'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths;
since the Law will go out from Zion,
and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.'

He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.
O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

The expression "swords into ploughshares" is often used. It is wonderful when there is peace rather than war. But these "days to come" have not yet arrived. There is still training for war. The Church waits for the second coming of Christ. This is what Advent is about. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

524. When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

Before the deacon read the Gospel at Mass there should have been the singing of the Alleluia verse. For some reason it did not happen. It definitely should have: it was printed in the booklets everyone had. People expected it, because that it their cue to stand for the Gospel. But I suppose there was a mix up about who was singing it or perhaps the Choir leader was distracted.

When it did not happen, should someone else have started the singing? The archbishop, the Master of Ceremonies, the deacon? No one did. I suppose its difficult to fix liturgical errors and it would be an unpopular role for someone to take responsibility for. Someone made a decision to stand without the singing, but I don't know who.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 2 December 2001.