Google Mystagogy

7 thoughts on “Google Mystagogy”

  1. Rita, I was discussing mystagogy last night in a training course I’m leading for RCIA teams. I pointed out that the Masses of the Easter season “include particularly suitable readings from the Lectionary, especially the readings for Year A” (RCIA 247). However, I’ve never seen anything about why the rite identifies Year A as more favored than the other cycles. I wonder if it is because of the selections from Acts in that year?

    We also discussed mission. The mystagogical Sundays are the first time the neophytes are sent out of the liturgy for mission. Their previous dismissals have been for the purpose of “shar[ing] their joy and spiritual experiences” (RCIA 67). But now they are sent out on mission along with all the rest of the faithful. As you point out, the Acts readings are a great resource for exploring what the mission entails.

    Looking forward to your future posts on this!

  2. Nick, sorry for the delay in replying to your excellent question. I wanted to look around for primary sources concerning the formation of the Easter lectionary, but I did not find anything that addresses the question of relevance to Baptism of the readings for Year A in particular.

    My conjecture has been that the semi-continuous reading in Year A of 1 Peter is especially significant, because of its baptismal themes. Around the time of the Council the theory was advanced by certain scripture scholars (Frank Cross, I believe, was one of them) that 1 Peter was a mystagogical commentary on the Baptismal Liturgy of Hippolytus (the Apostolic Tradition), then considered our oldest Roman source for baptism at the Easter Vigil. Other scholars took it as a baptismal hymn. There are many cracks in this theory, of course, but what is undeniable is that there are strong baptismal themes in 1 Peter.

    In the selection of Gospel readings, the supper at Emmaus stands out in Year A as a quintessential narrative too. But it is hard to separate the two possible influence here: (1) Is it that Year A tends to have the primary readings, while B & C are ancillary; or that (2) Baptism is the outstanding theme of Easter, so Year A naturally takes it by storm.

    The practical question: May we use Year A readings every year, as we do for Lent? seems to be answered in practice by “No” — at least everywhere I have been. The rite commends Year A, but doesn’t insist on it.

    As for Acts, I don’t think you can make a case for Year A offering us more baptismal themes to work with. What is your own sense?

    Finally, your students are lucky to have you! I hope they appreciate what a fine instructor they are getting. 😉

  3. peggy chambers

    Hi- We have tried several models here too- and continue the reflection on the sacraments of initiation. WE have looked at a catechetical model, concentrating on the gospels in the Easter season- didn’t work as well.
    I have seen other places do something like a mini-volunteer recruitment session- now that you have been fully initiated it’s your turn to give back- I resist this model strongly.
    What we are exploring this year is more discernment on my own gifts and my place in the Body of Christ and building the reign of God- more Spirit-focused, more discernemnt process, more building the reign of God than parish-based alone. We’ll see how it goes.
    Blessed Lent.

  4. Nick,
    Was at the webinar and went looking for Fr. Michael Joncas’ book “preaching on the Easter season” and could not find it. Would love to find out about and how to get it.

  5. Rita Burns Senseman

    Rita,
    These models are a helpful way to think about all the different things that go in mystagogy. Did I miss your other posts on mystagogy? Look forward to it!
    Rita TH

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