GOSPEL COMMUNION: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 16, 2020: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here, the Collegeville Composers were inspired by Matthew 5:18 in the long form of this Sunday’s Gospel:

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

but preferred the rendition in Mark 13:31:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Both 1st Reading and Gospel focus on keeping the commandments and the law of the Lord, and this led the composers to select large extracts from Psalm 119 for the accompanying verses, including verse 103:

Your promise is sweeter to my taste
than honey in the mouth

with its obvious connection to the sweetness of receiving the Lord in Communion.

The music of the antiphon illustrates the meaning of the text, seeming to fade away in the repetition of the last three words.


  1. It’s a minority position in the scholarship on Matthew 5, but one that has been defended seriously, that “law” in Matt 5:18 refers not to the Torah but to the Sermon on the Mount. Would the use of this antiphon require on to subscribe to that interpretation? Or is it setting up an interesting intercanonical conversation between Matthew and Mark?

    1. Given that the antiphon does not mention “the law”, and that those singing it might well not see a connection with the Sermon on the Mount, it seems likely that the literal meaning would predominate: that Jesus’s words taken as a whole will never pass away.

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