About a year ago there appeared in this column a series about the forthcoming changes in the Mass. Accurate translations of certain prayers will begin on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, this year. It’s important to remember that it is not a new Mass. It is the same holy Mass that has been offered throughout time. The new translation of some of the prayers are a close rendering of the official prayers of the Mass which have been in use since it was put into English more than forty years ago. The translation that was used over the last four decades took a number of liberties with the official texts. This applies only to the English translation. Other translations, such as the Polish and the Spanish, were pretty accurate from the start and need no changes.
You will find that this accurate translation of the prayers of the holy Mass will make it even more prayerful and reverent.
We know that the holy Mass is the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, though in an unbloody manner. Our Lord does not undergo that pain anymore. His Sacrifice on the Cross was and is redemptive. It was redemptive because Jesus took our guilt upon Himself and made satisfaction for our sins. It is redemptive because it continues now in each and every Mass.
After the Second Vatican Council which concluded in 1965, many liberties were taken with the Mass in places throughout the world. I suppose in an effort "to make it more meaningful" the Mass was reduced to an experiential venue. There were such celebrations as "Hootenanny" Masses, "Rock" Masses, even "Polka" Masses. It’s hard to imagine that the rhythm at those Masses would have been present at the foot of the Cross. The holy Mass is not entertainment, not something to make me feel warm, cozy or amused. Jesus Christ, truly present on the altar in each Mass, offers Himself to the Father. We do the same through the priest at the same time. Therefore, the question should not be "what can I get from the Mass," but rather "what do I give during the Mass." Do I offer myself up to God freely?
Many times when we think that the Mass is "boring" or that we want to make it more to our liking, we do not really understand the beauty of the Mass itself. In spite of bland homilies, cold or hot churches, poor music or no music at all, Jesus Christ is in every holy Mass. Moreover, the Angels and Saints are there in humble adoration. They offer themselves up to God. May each of us do the same.