by the Very Reverend Michel Najim & T.L. Frazier"UNDERSTANDING THE DIVINE LITURGY"(A Guide For Participating In The Divine Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom)
The word “Gospel” derives from the Greek word evangelion and means “good news.” In the four Gospels, God no longer speaks to us through prophetic riddles, but directly in the person of His Son. As Paul wrote, “God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”134 All who hear the Good News and spiritually receive the Son, believing in His name, receive the power to become sons and daughters of God.135
In the prayer before the Gospel reading, the priest asks that the pure light of divine knowledge may shine in the people’s hearts so that they may understand the message. The people must be made ready. Up to now the Lord has only spoken in a veiled manner, just as on Mount Sinai where God only spoke through a bright cloud.136 Now the God of Sinai is about to reveal Himself in the Person of the Incarnate Word and speak to us directly.
Therefore the priest exclaims: “Wisdom! Attend! Let us hear the holy Gospel. Peace be to all.”
The priest blesses the people, who respond: “And to your spirit.”
The priest then announces the Gospel reading: “The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John).”
Then the people cry out: “Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.”
After He who was foretold appeared, the words of the prophets were fulfilled. Therefore, after the Gospel reading, prophetic texts cease to be used in the Liturgy. From now on we sing texts from the New Testament. We now glorify Christ for coming to dwell among us, for the sufferings He endured and the works He accomplished on earth. Because of all that Christ did and suffered, the Church has kept a perpetual festival for the past two thousand years. It is this Good News of Jesus Christ which the Church has been ordained to herald.
134 Hebrews 1:1-2.
135 John 1:12.
136 "The Lord said to Moses, `I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will
always put their trust in you’” (Exodus 19:9).
Page created: 24-12-2012.
Last update: 24-12-2012.