Advice and Encouragement

The Second Reading

What Not to Miss

  • Sundays, solemnities, and liturgies for other special occasions have a Second Reading.
  • After the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm, both of which are typically from the Old Testament (the Scriptures written before the coming of Christ), we have now reached the New Testament. This progression will climax with the Gospel reading.
  • Readings from the epistles of St. Paul and the other inspired authors from the apostolic age interpret the life of Christ for us and teach us how to live as disciples of Jesus. They contain a lot of practical advice and encouragement.
  • The Second Reading is typically continuous from week to week (e.g. reading through the Letter to the Romans).

Next Time You Go to Mass...

  • Read the Mass readings before going to church. Help your children engage with the readings beforehand, too.
  • Listening quietly might not seem like "active participation," but it is! We must be open to receiving the spoken Word of God, and that doesn't happen by accident.
  • Pay close attention to the reading and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you directly. Ask him to speak to everyone present.
  • What stuck out to you in the reading? How can you apply that to your life?
  • Reflect on the graces God has given you through the Scriptures and thank him for these gifts.

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.