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PREACHING THE NEW LECTIONARY by Dianne Bergant & Richard Fragomeni ($29.95)*

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The Lectionary is made up of selected passages from the Bible, placed within a literary and liturgical context. This new context calls for a consideration of the liturgical character and setting of the Lectionary readings. Preaching the New Lectionary, in separate volumes for the three liturgical cycles, offers readers that interpretation.

Preaching the New Lectionary is unique. First, it employs a literary-liturgical way of interpreting all the readings of each Sunday and major feast of the liturgical year, including the often overlooked responsorial psalm. Second, it explicitly situates the interpretation of each day within the theology of its respective liturgical season. This theology is drawn from the specific themes of the readings that comprise that particular year rather than from more general themes associated with the season. The meaning of the entire season becomes the context for understanding the individual parts of it. Third, the lections are also read in sequential order from the first Sunday of that season to the last. This reading interprets the function of the literary forms, thus providing yet another way of interpreting the riches of the readings.

This way of reading and understanding the Lectionary has potential for liturgical ministry. It can quicken the religious imagination of homilists, thus providing fresh new possibilities for liturgical preaching. It offers creative insights for those involved in the liturgical preparation for the celebration of feasts and seasons. It can also act as a valuable resource for liturgical catechesis. The insights included in Preaching the New Lectionary contribute toward enhancing the liturgical lives of the faithful.

Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., is professor of Old Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The general editor of The Collegeville Bible Commentary (Old Testament) published by The Liturgical Press, she was editor of The Bible Today from 1986-1990.

Richard N. Fragomeni, Ph.D., is associate professor of liturgy and homiletics at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is editor of The Ecological Challenge also published by The Liturgical Press.

Available in three volumes, one each for Years A, B and C. Please indicate your preference when ordering.

  1. Year A: $20. 95 (list: $29.95)(#2472-3)
  2. Year B: $20. 95 (list: $29.95)(#2473-1)
  3. Year C: $20. 95 (list: $29.95)(#2474-X)

And don't forget: we charge only actual shipping, not a fixed amount. So, just like the "call collect" guys, we can save you "a buck or two" on your shipping costs!! So you may save on the list price with the other guys, but you'll more than pay them back on the shipping charges!!! Contents

    Introduction
    Advent
      Chart for Advent Readings
      Initial Reading of the Advent Lectionary
      Readings

    The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

      Chart for Christmas Readings
      Initial Reading of the Christmas Lectionary
      Readings

    Lent

      Chart for Lent Readings
      Initial Reading of the Lent Lectionary
      Readings

    Triduum

      Chart for Triduum Readings
      Initial Reading of the Triduum
      Readings

    Easter

      Chart for Easter Readings
      Initial Reading of the Easter Lectionary
      Readings

    Ordinary Time (Part One)

      Chart for Ordinary Time (Sundays 1-10)
      Initial Reading of the Ordinary Lectionary (Sundays 1-10)
      Readings (Sundays 1-10)

    Ordinary Time (Part Two)

      Chart for Ordinary Time (Sundays 11-16)
      Initial Reading of the Ordinary Lectionary (Sundays 11-16)
      Readings (Sundays 11-16)

    Ordinary Time (Part Three)

      Chart for Ordinary Time (Sundays 17-21)
      Initial Reading of the Ordinary Lectionary (Sundays 17-21)
      Readings (Sundays 17-21)

    Ordinary Time (Part Four)

      Chart for Ordinary Time (Sundays 22-34)
      Initial Reading of the Ordinary Lectionary (Sundays 22-34)
      Readings (Sundays 22-34)

    Solemnities of the Lord

      The Most Holy Trinity
      The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

    Index of Scripture Readings

Introduction
The Lectionary is a unique genre of ecclesial literature. It is part of the liturgical canon, a collection of books that also includes the Sacramentary, the Ritual Books for Sacraments, the Book of Blessings, the Pontifical, and the Liturgy of the Hours, to name a few. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (no. 24) states that sacred Scripture is the source of the readings and prayers used in the liturgy. The Lectionary, while not identical to the Bible, is drawn from its contents, providing a kind of narrative infrastructure for celebration of the Liturgical Year. The Lectionary is drawn from sacred Scripture by selecting passages from the biblical material (decontextualizing) and then placing these readings within a new literary and liturgical context (recontextualizing), thus creating a new ecclesial genre.

This recontextualization of former biblical material calls for a new way of interpretation, one that takes into consideration the liturgical character and setting of the lectionary readings. The present commentary is an example of this type of interpretation. It will be fundamentally a literary reading of the texts, but it will also provide historical information whenever something in the text might appear foreign to the contemporary believer.

Features
This commentary is unique in several ways. First and foremost, it employs a literary-liturgical way of interpreting all four readings of each Sunday and major feast of the Liturgical Year. This includes the responsorial psalm, a reading that has seldom enjoyed the importance it deserves and has at times even been changed or eliminated. Second, it explicitly situates the interpretation of each day's readings within the theology of its respective liturgical season. This theology is drawn from the specific themes of the readings that make up that particular year rather than from general theological themes otherwise associated with the season. In this way the meaning of the entire season becomes the context for understanding its individual parts. Third, the lections of the season are read in sequential order, from the first Sunday of that season to the last (all of the first readings, all of the second readings, and so on). This kind of reading creates a kind of mini-reading and provides yet another way of understanding the riches of the readings (charts at the beginning of each season demonstrate this).

Limitations
The present commentary does have limitations. Unfortunately, it does not directly engage the other books of the liturgical canon, most importantly the Sacramentary. There are two reasons for this. First, various liturgical books are presently being revised. While the composition of the Lectionary has been determined, the form of the Sacramentary is still in transition. As important as this book is to full liturgical recontextualization, it did not seem appropriate to use the unrevised edition, nor was it deemed wise to delay the commentary until the revision of the Sacramentary appeared.

Second, inclusion of all of the relevant liturgical material would have made the commentary unmanageable. The method employed here is a relatively new one and is offered in a limited fashion. Those who find it helpful are encouraged to use it in other liturgical contexts.

Uses
The commentary is ordered in the following way. Each lectionary season is first presented by way of a chart showing readings for the entire season. This is followed by the Initial Reading of that season, which explains how the lections can be read sequentially across the season from the first Sunday to the last. This procedure is carried out with each of the four readings, so that the theological patterns that are unfolding within the weeks of the seasons can be seen. Because of its length, Ordinary Time has been divided into four sections: Sundays 110 (before Lent); Sundays 1116; Sundays 1721 (Sundays with the Gospel of John); Sundays 2234 (the remainder of the year). Each of these sections has a particular thematic focus. After the theological themes of the season are uncovered, a literary reading of the lections of each respective Sunday is provided and the theological themes of that Sunday are brought into dialogue with each other.

Reading the Lectionary in the various ways provided here has great potential for many forms of liturgical ministry. It can quicken the religious imagination of homilists, thus providing fresh new possibilities for liturgical preaching. It can offer creative insights for those involved in the liturgical preparation for the celebration of feasts and seasons. It can also act as a valuable resource for liturgical catechesis. In so many ways the material in this commentary can contribute toward enhancing the liturgical lives of the faithful.

Development
It is important to acknowledge those upon whose groundbreaking work this approach is built. They are David N. Power, O.M.I., the inspiration of such an approach, and Bishop Blase Cupich, who wrote his doctoral dissertation under the direction of Professor Power on the topic of the Advent Lectionary. In this work he laid the foundations for the literary-liturgical method employed here.

In the recent past three books have appeared that can act as companions to this commentary. Two of them suggest a way of understanding the Lectionary that corresponds to the one advanced here. In Scripture and Memory Fritz West recounts the way lectionary patterns have been developed and are interpreted by various Christian denominations. He also explains the three-year cycle of readings, which originated within the Roman Catholic tradition but which then spread to the wider Church. In The Sunday Lectionary Normand Bonneau provides an overview of the principles that determine the selection of lectionary readings and an outline of the patterns that shape the seasons of the Liturgical Year.

Very recently a third resource has appeared. In Preaching Basics Edward Foley works from many of the same principles noted here as he provides a new way of thinking about preaching. Together these four studies offer a new way of understanding the Lectionary and of opening its riches.

Finally, a debt of gratitude belongs to Richard N. Fragomeni, who introduced me to this approach. He is the one who explained the textual mosaic that introduces each season, and his creative interpretations form the basis of the Themes of the Day, which completes the commentary of the Sunday or feast. His contribution to this project has been invaluable.

"Clarity and pastoral awareness mark every chapter of the book."
- The Bible Today

"Perhaps this publication was intended primarily for the preacher, but upon close examination it can be said to be of great value to other liturgical ministers as well. It would be a worthy addition to one's liturgical resource library."
- Forum
Available in three volumes, one each for Years A, B and C or as a set of three. Please indicate your preference in the box below. If ordering the set, the price will be adjusted upon receipt of your order but will not be reflected on your program-generated receipt. Prices are as follows:

  1. Year A: $21.95 (list: $29.95)(#2472-3)
  2. Year B: $22.95 (list: $29.95)(#2473-1)
  3. Year C: $21.95 (list: $29.95)(#2474-X)
  4. Set of three volumes: $64.95 (list: $89.85)

(Purchase of this book helps you qualify for the free shipping option if it is being offered at the time of your order.)

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