“Jesus on the mountain peak, stands alone in glory blazing.
Let us, if we dare to speak, join the saints and angels praising.”
from “Transfiguration” text by Brian Wren
Today’s Liturgical note comments on the liturgy, readings and music in the order in which they occur on this Second Sunday in Lent.
Prelude: Transfiguration #131
For me, the prelude serves as transition from private prayer to the focus of the day’s scripture. Brian Wren’s text places us on the mountain top with Peter, James and John as they witness Jesus’ speaking with Moses and Elijah and then hear the voice of God.
Chanted entrance antiphon and instrumental procession
The entrance antiphon (introit) is part of the Introductory Rite. At St. Mary’s it is chanted by the cantor to highlight the solemness of the Lenten season.
The instrumental procession creates space for personal reflection as the server carries the cross - the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and ultimate victory over sin and death.
One of the earliest prayers of the church translated from the Greek as “Lord have mercy.” We sing the Kyrie during lent to highlight the penitential nature of the season.
Today’s first reading speaks of the relationship between God, Abraham and Abraham’s descendents. This relationship continues through Jesus, God’s “Beloved Son”. Like our Jewish brothers and sisters we are called to share this blessing with others.
A commentary on today’s psalm by U.S. Council of Bishops furthers this point:
A hymn in which the just are invited (Ps 33:1–3) to praise God, who by a mere word (Ps 33:4–5) created the three-tiered universe of the heavens, the cosmic waters, and the earth (Ps 33:6–9). Human words, in contrast, effect nothing (Ps 33:10–11). The greatness of human beings consists in God’s choosing them as a special people and their faithful response.
Prayer of the Faithful
The chanting of the response; Lord have mercy reflects the solemness of the season and our reliance on the goodness and mercy of God.
Offertory Transfigure Us, O Lord #499
A second song about the transfiguration? Yes. The verses to this song are somewhat “literal”. Jesus is: God’s love, light, forgiveness, food etc. The refrain, however, speaks of the lenten call to conversion. BTW. The fourth verse points toward the next part of Jesus’ earthly journey, his walk to Jerusalem and crucifixion on Golgotha.
Mass of Christ the Savior Dan Schutte #912, 915, 916, 917
We sing this setting for both lent (where the Gloria is it omitted by liturgical rule) and the Easter season. The lenten Memorial acclamation speaks of Christ’s cross and resurrection as the way to salvation.
Communion Psalm 27
Psalm 27 is the source of today’s entrance antiphon. The psalmist trusts in God’s protection and God’s rescue from whatever seeks our ruin. This particular setting was composed in a gospel style by Andrew J. Witchger, church musician and current director of music for the Duke University Catholic Center.
Recessional Lead Me, Lord #726
The verses are an adaptation of the Beatitudes. The image of the narrow gate contrasts the choice to obey or not obey Christ’s words and comes from the gospel. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.” Matthew 7:13.
Blessed to walk this lenten journey once again with you at St. Mary’s,