It’s almost here! The new Mass — from the revised Roman Missal — is coming November 27, so we should not just get prepared but excited too. I do admit, however, that I have a preference to stick with what I already know. For instance, every new computer program and most of the technology in my world, was met with resistance. Yet, I’d still be on my manual Underwood typewriter wielding a bottle of Whiteout if I had not pushed myself forward. So, I understand the desire to stay put, but I also know that change can be good — even great.
To help any foot draggers jump on the revised Mass bandwagon, I’ve come up with ten reasons to get excited about the changes coming our way.
1) We love JPII! It was our beloved Pope John Paul II who first announced during the Jubilee Year 2000, that a revised version of the Mass was coming. He was our trusted leader for twenty-seven years so if he was excited about this, we should be too.
2) Accuracy The new liturgy is an attempt for the prayers and language to be more consistent with the translation of prayers and Scripture from Latin.
3) Change is Good At least, it can be. We are a living, vibrant, church not a dead one. Only dead fish float with the current, the rest have to put their tails in motion to keep moving forward.
4) Attention No more autopilot in the pews. We have to actually pay attention so that we give correct responses. Anyone who mindlessly recites prayers is going to be noticeably out of step with the congregation — sorta like singing verse two of a hymn when everyone else is on verse three.
5) Togetherness This translation seeks to put us more in sync with our fellow Catholics around the world, and will be shared by English-speaking Catholics from ten countries.
6) Surprise! Just think of all those Catholics who only come to Mass on Christmas and Easter. When everyone else is saying the new version, they will realize they must have missed the memo. In reality, if they’ve been skipping Mass they missed far more than just a memo, but at least they are going to realize not attending Mass caused them to miss out on something.
7) Preservation If we go to great lengths to preserve historic buildings and wildlife refuges, then preserving traditional theological terms is even better. The new translation preserves such terms as Jesus being “consubstantial with the Father” and he was made “incarnate” in the Blessed Mother. These terms have historical significance in our Catholic worship.
8) Strong Leadership One of the great things about the Catholic Church is that we have real leadership. These changes have been deemed by our Church leaders to have purpose and meaning that links back to Jesus. Unlike other denominations that take a vote, thereby ruling from the bottom up, we can trust our Church to lead us.
9) Learning We are never too old or too young to learn more about our faith. Through the changes, we are learning more about our Catholic history and worship as the priests have been explaining the reasons behind the changes.
10) A Closer Encounter The greater our understanding of the Mass, which is a memorial of Christ’s death and the gift of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the closer we can encounter Him. The more we understand what we are saying in union with the Body of Christ from the time of the apostles up through today, the closer encounter we have with Christ.
Does this mean we had it wrong before? Of course not. But we are a living Church and although the teachings never change, we continue to grow. I don’t consider anything I once wrote on my old Underwood typewriter to be wrong, but now on my computer, my writing can grow in ways not possible before. Okay, that’s not a theological comparison exactly, but for me, it’s all about moving ahead. It’s also about trusting our Church and not getting too set in our ways.
We are blessed to have the fullness of faith in our Catholic Church so while the doctrine never changes, our customs, and practices have. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles and their successors “into all truth” (John 16:12–13) so we know we are on the right path. Excited now?