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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Third Sunday in Lent Year A 27th March 2011 v.2
NEW TRANSLATION OF THE MASS – begins September 4th
2. The Greeting - “The Lord be with you” (part 1)

One of the major changes in the people’s responses this September will be to say “And with your spirit” instead of “And also with you”. Below is the 1st part of a reflection upon this.

Have we ever thought that this greeting is little more than a liturgical exchange of ‘Good morn-ing’? But if we understand this greeting from a biblical perspective, then it should change the way we approach Mass. At one level these words convey the reality of Jesus’ presence among us. Jesus said ‘For where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them’ (Matt 18:20). At another level it recognises Jesus presence within us by virtue of our Baptism.

But the greeting ‘The Lord be with you’ also recalls to us the words spoken to a host of biblical heroes (Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Jeremiah and of course the Blessed Virgin Mary). All of these people heard these words at pivotal moments in their lives.

Let us consider two examples. In the Book of Judges we read how the Israelites called out to God because they were being continually attacked by the Midianites, and so an angel appeared to a man called Gideon, and told him that he would lead his people and overcome the enemy. Gideon responded that his clan was the weakest, and he himself was the least important in his family, to which God replied “I will be with you..” (Judges 6:16). Similarly when Moses was told that he was to go to Pharaoh and lead his people from captivity, he tries to tell God that he is not up to this task, God responds, not by sending him on a leadership skills course, but by saying “I shall be with you” (Ex 3:12). We need to realise that these biblical heroes fulfilled their missions, not because they had great human skills or were natural leaders, but because they trusted in God and in his reassurance that He would be with them.

So when we hear the priest say “The Lord be with you” it should have an impact on us. When we hear these words we should realise we are standing in the footsteps of biblical greats and be reminded and greatly encouraged that we have access to a higher power – the power of the Holy Spirit – that can support us through the trials and challenges of life whilst remaining faithful to God – if we let him. The greatest enemy that we face is the devil who will tempt us to do wrong. We can trust that God’s strength will make up for whatever in us is lacking, and so we will be able to carry out the task God has given each one of us.
Shortly we will look at our response which will change from ‘And also with you’ to ‘And with your Spirit’. Based on a chapter in a new book ‘A Biblical Walk through the Mass’ (by Edward Sri, Ascension Press).

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:48 am