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Musical Musings
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time C
January 16, 2022
MD Ridge


In the United States, weddings have become an end in themselves: the bride is the center of everything (or thinks she is, or should be); the groom hasn’t much more to do than make like wallpaper; the families often try to outdo each other in conspicuous expense, and guests are expected to provide suitably opulent gifts. The church tries to be countercultural about this, but it’s an uphill battle.

Our instrumental skills must support and enhance the whole community’s singing
At Cana, the wedding involved the whole community in the joining of two families, and the wedding feast was about hospitality to that community. So how does that connect to St. Paul’s observation, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit”? The gifts of which Paul speaks do not dead-end in us; they are given freely, but intended to be shared with the community.

One gift that Paul doesn’t mention is music. The Spirit that gives us decent singing voices or instrumental skills or directing chops also stirs us to use our gifts in service to our community. As Paul continues, “There are different forms of service but the same Lord.”

It’s a form of hospitality: our singing is not about clubbing the assembly into silence, it’s about facilitating the assembly’s sung participation. (If that’s not happening we’re not doing our job right.) Our instrumental skills must support and enhance the whole community’s singing, not just a soloist’s ego trip. Our choice of music and tempos and dynamics—all are given to serve the community

Many the gifts, many the works,
one in the Lord of all.

Surely you know what song that quote comes from, right?

MD Ridge
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Art by Martin (Steve) Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go
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