Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent on the Mass Entrance Antiphon


My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues my feet from the snare. Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor.  (Ps 24:15-16)

The psalms are poetry, and so are open to interpretation at many different levels.  The use of phrases from the psalms in the liturgy takes advantage of this, and we can interpret the words of today’s entrance antiphon at several different levels.  We can hear a number of different voices speaking and praying this text.

First, we can understand these words as the voice of Christ.  As we make our way through Lent, we are drawing closer to Jerusalem where Jesus will undergo his passion and meet his brutal death.  His are eyes which are always on the Lord, and his are feet for which a snare will be setIn Gethsemani and on Calvary he will have deep, even traumatic, experiences of being alone and poor. Despite this, he trusts and hopes in God, as these words express. As we celebrate Mass, the events of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection are “remembered”, that is, they are effectively made present so that we enter into their reality. The entrance antiphon draws us into this reality from the beginning of the Mass.

We can also hear the words of the entrance antiphon as the voice of the whole Church, especially of those who suffer, who feel isolated, trapped, betrayed. In persecution, hostility or confusion, believers focus their eyes on the Lord, the source of all rescue, uniting their prayer with the prayer of Christ himself who shared the same experience. The entrance antiphon gives expression to the plea and the trust of the whole Church.

Another traditional interpretation of this antiphon is to hear in it the voice of the catechumens who are preparing for baptism at Easter. It expresses their longing for the Lord, acknowledges the poverty of their present state, and their hope in God who will soon rescue them “from the power of darkness and transfer them to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13). As we sing these words in their name, we pray that their final weeks of preparation for baptism may be filled with grace and growth in faith.

And of course we can make these words our own, as individuals. Each one of us can cry to God, Turn to me! Have mercy on me! Each of us can pledge to keep our eyes always on the Lord, especially in these days of Lent, and to trust that God’s power to save is real and effective. As we make these words of the liturgy our own, we find that our personal needs are taken up into the bigger picture of the whole Church, our sorrows are located within the dynamic of the movement from entrapment to freedom, from death to life, which is the story of all God’s people, of the whole Christ, head and members.

My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues my feet from the snare. Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor.

Here is the Latin chant version of this antiphon:

You can listen to it here:

(The Graduale Project)


This is the third in a series of reflections by Sr Eleanor Campion ocso on the Entrance Antiphon for the Mass during Lent