“Behold I make all things new”
This weekend sees the implementation of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal in the dioceses of England & Wales.
The result of many years of hard work by some of the Churchâ€™s most eminent scholars, the new Missal is a translation of the third edition of the LatinÂ Missale RomanumÂ which was promulgated after the Second Vatican Council. It may seem very new to us compared with what we have been using during the last forty years or so. Some of the words which we use will be different; for example, we will say â€˜And with your spiritâ€™ rather than â€˜And also with youâ€™ at various points during the Mass. Not only is this a better translation ofÂ Et cum spiritu tuo, but it reflects the rich spiritual and theological heritage of the sacred liturgy. The phrase â€˜And with your spiritâ€™ was used by St Paul (cf.Â Gal 6:18;Phil 4:23;Â Philemon 25;Â 2 Tim 4:22), who was probably quoting a well-known liturgical formula, and it was actually retained in the French, German, Italian and Spanish translations of the Missal.
So although we are being asked to use a new missal in our worship, it is not a â€˜new Massâ€™; Mass is Mass, and the Mass which we celebrate in the Great Hall this morning is the same Mass which has been celebrated wherever and whenever the Church gathers together, whatever the language or place. The Catholic Church is a communion of twenty-three â€˜ritual Churchesâ€™ â€“ one Western, the Roman Catholic or Latin Church, and twenty-two Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church â€“ all of which are united in the same faith and sacraments, in communion with the Pope and the College of Bishops; we gather around one Altar to celebrate the one Eucharist, in which Christ comes to us â€˜in word and in sacrament to strengthen us and make us holyâ€™.
Vatican II called for the Mass to be the â€˜source and summitâ€™ of our lives as Christians; it also called for the â€˜full, conscious and active participationâ€™ of all the faithful in the liturgy. We celebrate the sacred mysteries by our interior disposition, which is reflected in our praying, listening, silence and singing, all of which we offer for the greater glory of God and the good of his holy Church. Here in the Chaplaincy, we already celebrate Mass worthily and beautifully; it is my hope that as we implement the new Missal, we will continue to be renewed in our faith by Christ who makes all things new.