Musings on the Music for Mass 18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A

By Dr. Teresa Dody

One of the good things coming from Covid is a bit more quiet time for introspection.  I have said from the beginning that this time is for us to regroup and listen to God’s spirit within for guidance.  Sometimes the world gets so loud, we cannot hear…. or maybe we forget to listen.  In Today’s Liturgy, the scriptures for this weekend are paraphrased as thus:

“First Reading:  The Lord invites all who are thirsty to “Come to the water!” God asks the people to take heed, that they may drink wine and milk, eat well and delight in the rich fare of the everlasting covenant. Second Reading: Nothing, not even death can separate the faithful from the love of God in Christ Jesus   Gospel:  Huge crowds follow Jesus.  He felt compassion for them and healed the sick.  He saw that they were hungry and rather than send them away empty, he gave them bread and fish in abundance.” 

So, we will be contemplating coming to the table and the rich banquet God sets before us.  That has been one of the hardest things for many of you during this time – the lack of access to come to the table.  We hope to be able to come together again soon to celebrate the Eucharist as one church; for now though, use some of this time to sit at the Lord’s table in your home and partake in prayer, in listening for God’s guidance and perhaps some reading either of the Holy Scriptures or maybe a book on spirituality or biography of one of the Saints. 

For the music this weekend, I have chosen Dan Schutte’s Table of Plenty A familiar tune that seems to welcome all to the table, the words of the refrain are “Come to the feast of heaven and earth! Come to the table of plenty! God will provide for all that you need, here at the table of plenty.”  The hymn for the Preparation of the Table will be Scot Crandall’s You Gather in the Outcast.  How thankful I am that even the outcasts are welcome at the Lord’s table!  Part of the first verse are the words “You lay your hands upon us; you heal the wounded soul. You raise the crushed, disheartened. You make the broken whole”.  How beautiful is that promise!  For communion, I will play Bernadette Farrell’s Your Words are Spirit and Life.  The refrain text reminds us “Your words are spirit and life O Lord, richer than gold, stronger than death.  Your words are spirit and life O Lord, life everlasting”.  For the sending hymn we will use Sr. Toolan’s I Am the Bread of Life. I love this one especially because the melody of the chorus raises to higher pitches with the words “…and I will raise you up – I will raise you up – and I will raise you up on the last day”.  As you hear this prayer, whether in mass or on the video, I pray that you will open your hearts and let those words resound through your heart to God.  And one day, we will be able to sing these refrains together again. 

I want to leave you with my favorite verse from this weekend’s readings and if anyone who is being confirmed this weekend is reading this, please put this verse deep into your heart.  It is the last 2 verses of the 2nd reading in Romans.  Certainly this life often gives us many struggles to overcome but no matter how difficult it gets, this verse reminds me of the following:  “For I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor Angles, nor Principalities nor Powers, nor the present things, nor the future things, nor strength, nor the heights, nor the depths, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Nothing can separate us from the love of our Father.  Not time, nor space…. nor virus.  Until we can meet to sing and pray together again, be blessed.  

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