Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Deacon as Minister of the Word of God, Part I
The deacon -- as servant to and for the People of God -- proclaims Christ in the Gospel in order to sacramentalize the servant-character of the Gospel itself. The Gospel not only delivers "good news"; that good news is also a call to service, a call to action. As the Church teaches, this ministry is diaconal, NOT an act of the presider. In fact, the rules surrounding this part of the liturgy are quite illustrative. When a deacon is present and assisting, he IS the minister of the Gospel. Period. This is not one of those optional things which either the priest, deacon, or another minister may do. This one is for the deacon. If there are 500 bishops and priests present, it is still the responsibility of the deacon. In fact, have you ever seen the pope proclaim the Gospel at Mass? Nope. Here's some more: In a concelebrated Mass, if there is no deacon present and serving (and why not, I have to ask?), the priest-presiding is STILL not the first choice to proclaim the Gospel in the deacon's absence. Rather, one of the concelebrating priests is to proclaim the Gospel if there is no deacon. Only when there is no deacon, and no concelebrant, is the priest presiding to proclaim the Gospel; he is, literally, the last choice.