GOSPEL COMMUNION: First Sunday of Lent

March 1, 2020: First Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Matthew 4:4bc, from this Sunday’s Gospel reading, runs:

One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

also specified as the Communion Antiphon in the Missal, and the Gospel Acclamation verse in the Lectionary.

The Collegeville Composers also looked at the 1998 ICEL Antiphonal rendering of this antiphon:

We do not live on bread alone
but on every word that God has spoken.

The happy inspiration of matching a version of the text with the first and last phrases of the hymn tune PICARDY was too good to pass up! The setting adds two optional descants, one of which is the melody in canon with itself at one measure’s distance, and a drone on C, which also continues under the psalm verses, binding the Communion procession together.

The suggestions for psalm verses in the 1998 Antiphonal and 2010 Antiphonary both include part of Psalm 19. The Psallite version provides the complete psalm.

It is scarcely necessary to point out the lesson of this antiphon, that receiving the Lord in Communion is all well and good but receiving him in the Word spoken is also essential. In this Year of the Word, this antiphon can become a motto for the parish.

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