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: Year A 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 many forms of 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 material in Preaching the New Lectionary contributes toward enhancing the liturgical lives of the faithful.
Dianne Bergant, CSA, 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, PhD, 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.