Sunday, October 25, 2009

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

25 October 2009

EntranceHe healed the darkness of my mind (Fred Pratt Green)
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels (mtgf)
GloriaSt Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 125What marvels the Lord worked (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationAlleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsEye has not seen (Marty Haugen)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodLamb of God 6 (mtgf)
CommunionBehold the Lamb (Martin WIllett)
FinalPraise my soul

There is some criticism of texts which use the first person singular but it is not as ban everything in the first person - as someone once pointed out to me there goes the Magnificat... There is a danger of making sweeping statements and ignoring tradition - this includes the words of Jesus.

However the opening hymn this morning the first person voice was the blind man. (I expect the hymn was originally written about the blind man in John's Gospel heard on Lent 4 rather than Bartimaeus) We used Tallis' Canon for the melody and people sang well. This was interesting as the text was direct and particular. You would need a reason to sing this text - my guess is that people do appreciate that texts are chosen in response to the readings and are not random whims.

Whether this is true for more familiar hymns, such as Praise my soul, is less clear. A paraphrase of Psalm 102, a psalm of thanksgiving and healing. Though other choices reflected blindness, light, darkness and sight; the last hymn reflected more the psalm response: What marvels the Lord worked us.

There can be an interesting question - why this psalm and not for example Psalm 26 - the Lord is my light and my help? The main reason will be that the Gospel and the first Reading have not been chosen for the surface story. So it's not just about blindness but also about what God does for us.

Monday, October 19, 2009

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

18 October 2009

Entrance Christ be our light (Bernadette Farrell)
Penitential Rite omitted
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 32 May your love be upon us (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Ours were the griefs he bore (Stephen Dean)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Lamb of God 6 (mtgf)
Communion He became poor (John Bell)
Final Praise to the Holiest (John Henry Newman)

A baptism with Sunday Mass is not something we do well yet. Apart from improving communication so that it is not a surprise on a Sunday morning there are two aspects that relate to the choice of music. At present the rite feels very wordy so how might music be used. Secondly, the congregation which normally sings the parts of the Mass well and could be said to have a leadership role is sounds muffled. This relates to a non musical issue that they are uncertain what their role is.

The presence of a baptismal party affects the choice of music on the day. Often when there is a baptism we use Archbishop Denis Hurley's text 'God at creation's dawn' which articulates what is happening and our part in it. This time we sang 'Christ be our light' as something which seems to be quite well known.

I wondered about using 'Ours were the griefs he bore'. We can shy away from the more painful aspects of the gospel. Or was this 'too miserable' for a joyful baptism? How might it affect this potential moment of evangelisation? In the end I decided to keep it. We had after all prepared it. It is a lovely piece demanding a sustaining of line in the verses by the choir. It was also a piece that was relatively new to our repertoire and this was an opportunity to consolidate it. And it linked the readings with the rite expressing the mystery the child is baptised into - Christ suffered for you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

11 October 2009

Entrance All my hope on God is founded
Penitential Rite St Gabriels (mtgf)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 89 Fill us, Lord, with your love (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Restless is the heart (Bernadette Farrell)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Lamb of God 6 (mtgf)
Communion I loved wisdom (Collegeville Composer's Group)
Final Will you come and follow me (John Bell & Graham Maule)

Wisdom is the pearl of great price in these readings. The young man wants knowledge and answers rather than wisdom and so he went away dissatisfied.

Bernadette Farrell's setting of Psalm 89 (90), written for the Irish Church Music Association Summer School — there is a wall hanging in the Irish National Centre for Liturgy with the words Restless is the heart which I have always presumed to be part of the inspiration for this beautiful piece. The matching of the text from St Augustine with the psalm bring an extra depth to the readings — the young man is a restless heart searching for God.

The Communion Antiphon from Psallite again picked up the theme of wisdom — as it is an unusual but attractive theme in the first reading I presume — however either of the Antiphons given in the Missal might have picked up the gospel better, particularly the first:

The rich suffer want and go hungry, but nothing shall be lacking to those who fear the Lord.

Monday, October 5, 2009

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

4th October 2009

EntranceLove is his word
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels (mtgf)
GloriaSt Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 127O blessed are those (Paul Inwood)
Gospel AcclamationAlleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodLamb of God 6 (mtgf)
CommunionYour words are life, Lord (Collegeville Composer's Group)
FinalLove divine, all loves excelling (Charles Wesley)

It was wondered when I mentioned the opening and closing hymns before Mass whether there was a theme going on. Is love the dominant theme of today's readings? What else might we have sung that illuminated the Gospel? I looked at the GIA Hymns for the Gospels which offers text related to the Sunday Gospels. It offered two texts, the first Enter in the realm of God focussed on the end of the passage about welcoming little children; the second God! When human bonds are broken apart from having an irritating exclamation mark seems to presuppose a modern pastoral answer before the question is even asked. The Michael Forster text in the edition of Hymns Old and New where he provided a text for every Sunday seemed to make a better job of this task. It was probably easier as he started from the first reading from Genesis. Now I am not sure I would use any of these as I think the task of a chosen sung text is to illuminate and make connections not to reiterate or interpret the particular text.

A little know fact about Love divine that the text was written to be sung to Fairest Isle by Purcell, which it fits very nicely and memory suggest that Wesley is alluding to the original text, if not parodying it.

This week slightly suffered from lack of opportunity for second thoughts or what do you do when the Mass sheet is already printed - don't be so well prepared? Anyway I did consider changing the psalm so that it used the actual given response but the Inwood setting does work well. I also would have changed the Communion response - the chosen text was a scrabble to find something but a better something would have been better, possibly based on 1 Cor Missal text. The psalm tone was pleasing.

Bob Hurd's Ubi Caritas is lovely. It is also interesting how he inserts 2 new verses into the text which bring more contemporary theological concerns in without, in my opinion, damaging the original - actually enhancing it.