The second of five sermons on the Holy Mass, given between Christmas and Lent at Corpus Christi, Great Falls, MT.
The Entrance procession:
Here we see the forward movement of the Liturgy. We move from the world, to the altar, toward God, toward heaven. Here, and also at the Gloria, it is most clear that the priest simply must someday return to facing ad orientem or "with the people", that is, in the same direction as the people.
It is absurd, truly banal, for the priest to process forward towards God and heaven, and then turn his back on this forward movement, turn his back on God, and instead direct himself back toward the world, toward the people.
The priest isn't in heaven yet, he isn't God. He is really just a man, and he needs God, and he needs to look with the people toward God.
Especially in the Gloria - we are not helping our poor priests when we look at them and say "We praise You, we bless You, we adore You, we glorify You, we give You thanks for Your great glory ... You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High". This is crazy - the priest simply must face toward God when he is at Mass, together with the people, he is there to worship God, not to be worshiped. [perhaps this explains why so many priests in the 80s moved the tabernacle to the side or the back, but put their chair in the front and center]
The Mass isn't Bible study. We are here to worship, and the readings are an act of worship. In any language - Latin, English, Spanish, Vietnamese - the readings are directed toward God as worship. Bible study is great, but the Mass is worship.
The readings have a sacramental significance. They indicate our longing for the Messiah, both his first coming and his return in glory. The Gospel commemorates his coming into our hearts, as well as the mission of the Church to bring Christ to the whole world.
While the homily is often based in part on the readings, it is not solely directed to the readings. Rather, the homily is meant to educate the faithful in the truths of the faith and, as part of the Mass, to direct all to the worship of God. The homily is not Bible study, it is preparation for communion.
The homily doesn't have to be on the readings, the Church also asks the priest to preach upon the texts of the Mass.
Listen online [here]!