Don't drink the Holy Water and the Gospel reader
Dec 5, 2016
What happens if you drink Holy Water?
One should not drink holy water. While it is blessed, its purpose as a “sacramental” is for use in particular ways (as a reminder to us of the graces
received in baptism and for other sacred purposes such as the sprinkling of holy water on other items/places/etc. that are being blessed). Its intent is not to serve the place that natural water fittingly serves, including that of hydration. In addition, some prayers of blessing for holy water include the use of blessed salt that is put in the water or even the pouring of a small amount of the chrism oil into the water. These additives to the water are meant for their own purposes in blessing the water and are not meant for ingestion. Finally, while the holy water is blessed, that does not mean that other things that come into contact with the water (i.e. the fingers that are dipped into the water and the vessels which hold the water) are clean and free of germs or bacteria. Please do not drink holy water – as such is not its purpose.
Why can only a priest or deacon read the Gospel at Mass?
The proclamation of the Scriptures at Mass (and in the rituals for all the sacraments) is an essential component to our encountering Jesus. In distinguishing between the reading of the Gospel from other non-Gospel passages in the Scriptures, the plain difference between these is that the Gospels contain the direct words of God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, whereas all the other books (save small parts of Acts of the Apostles and Revelation) do not contain the direct words of Jesus.As the ordained ministers of the Church are configured unto Christ through their sharing in Holy Orders, it is entrusted to them to directly proclaim the Word of God. In particular, the ordained clergy are meant to bring Christ to the people in a visible manner. (Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” notes multiple ways that Christ is made present, among which it makes reference to the presence of Christ in the ordained minister as a distinct and real way of manifesting His presence). This presence of Christ in the minister is not at the expense of or in tension with other ways that Christ is made present. However, in the context of the proclamation of the Word of God, the presence of Christ within those who are ordained is a particular way of drawing greater emphasis to the words, actions, and overall presence of Christ found in the Gospels themselves. Thus, the ordained fittingly proclaim the direct words of Christ as a more visible way of manifesting His presence, through their very lives and persons that are configured onto Christ through ordination.
Naturally then, one might wonder why the deacon usually does this proclaiming instead of the priest, as the priesthood is a more complete configuration onto Christ through ordination? It is in this word “proclaiming” that the key is to be found. The instructions for the Mass (properly called the “General Instruction of the Roman
Missal”) refer to the proclaiming of the Scriptures as a “ministerial” function as opposed to a “presidential” function. Therefore, the readings are preferably proclaimed by one who is not leading the ceremony – but by one among the participants who may do so on behalf of all. Applying this principle to the Gospel, it is clear that a deacon ought to proclaim the Gospel as a ministerial function (as he is there to serve the priest celebrant). When no deacon is present, the priest himself is to proclaim the Gospel. In either case, the proclaiming of the Gospel remains for the ordained clergy to carry out; whereas the other readings are properly read as a ministry by the lay faithful.