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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, October 28, 2011
31st Sunday of the Year – 30th October 2011
Special Offers

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek and means thanksgiving, and we are a Eucharistic community which gives thanks to God for Christ’s self-offering for the salvation of all.
The Mass is thus the ultimate act of worship when united with Christ we lift up our hearts to the Father and give Him thanks and praise. In the Eucharist, Christ’s gift of His life to the Father is made present and we give to God all that He gave to us, all that we are and have, uniting ourselves with Christ in that sacrifice and we are accepted in Him by the Father. Our sharing in the Eucharist should make us a sacrificial people who lift up and lay down their lives in love for God and one another. This understanding is one of the reasons for the changes in the new translation of the Missal at the offertory. Previously the priest spoke of the goodness of God through which we have, “bread to offer.” Now he says, “for through Your goodness we have received the bread we offer You: fruit of the earth and work of human hands it will become for us the bread of life.” This subtle change gives a sense that we are in the act of offering it and that we are offering it to God. The same is true of the prayer over the wine, the implication once again being that this is a dynamic action of the whole community gathered rather than their passivity while the priest does his “thing.” If you think about it like that, then why do we have an offertory procession? That very action expresses that participation of the faithful in the Eucharist and the willingness of all of us to enter into this holy exchange with God. That is why the invitation known as the orate fratres has changed too – “Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” This implies that more than one sacrifice is being offered. Yes, the Mass is a single sacrifice offered by all present. But as the apostles teach us, all of us are meant to be members of a holy people offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ (1 Pet 2:5) Therefore, each baptised member of the assembly is offering a sacrifice in keeping with his or her role within the Church. Hence the response has changed with addition of one word, “for our good and the good of all His holy Church.” It is a more faithful translation of the Latin but it gives a greater depth to the dialogue and echoes the description of the Church in the Creed. In other words, the reason that the Lord will hear the prayer and accept the sacrifice of the humble priest has to do with the holiness of the whole Church which offers and benefits from this great prayer. We all have something to offer and as Blessed John Paul II once wrote, “No gift or talent is too small to be used.” As you attend Mass, don’t see it just as the work of the priest for as St Augustine reflected, “With you I am a Christian, for you I am a shepherd.” Rather, reflect on what you bring and offer with Christ.
Go and play football on Sunday and really have a game of two halves.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:06 am

Friday, October 21, 2011
30th Sunday of the Year – 23rd October 2011
A Game of Two Halves

Last week I wrote about the new translation of the Creed which completed our catechesis on the new Roman Missal up until the start of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. But before I begin that part of our Mass we need to ensure that the title of this week’s editorial remains firmly in football and doesn’t apply to our daily celebration of the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.
The Church is nourished in wisdom at the table of God’s Word and in holiness at the table of the Eucharist. The Word announces the new and everlasting Covenant between God and man while the Eucharist sees it physically renewed. The spoken Word of God recalls the history of salvation while the Eucharist makes it present in the sacramental signs of the liturgy. In the Mass, where the Word is heard and the Eucharist is offered there is one single act of the worship of God. As it is October, the month of the Rosary, we would do well to reflect on Mary to help us understand the unity between the two “parts” of the Mass. Mary is blessed because she has faith, because she believed in the words of the angel Gabriel. In this faith and belief she received the Word of God into her womb. But she did this not just as a person who listened and made it her own but in order to give Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to the whole of humanity. The Word is proclaimed to Mary and the Word is made manifest in her by her response. In other words (excuse the pun) the Word of God through the angel brings about a physical action which gives Christ to the whole world. Thus, while the scriptures give guidance on the value of human life from conception to death, the rights and responsibilities of the human person, the search for justice and peace for all, the Eucharistic action which follows requires us to live out these very aspects of the Christian life in our daily comings and goings. Those very words are the words of life, always relevant, always new, with the power to change and renew people’s lives. In the scriptures we do not find dead letters but Christ, the eternal Word of the living and active God. So what we hear at the start of Mass is meant to call us to action. When the homily is finished it is not the moment to think, “In 15 minutes it will all be over.” Rather, it is the moment to consider how we shall put that Word of God into action in our lives during the week when we have celebrated the fulfilment of all those wordy promises made by God so perfectly brought to completion in the sacrifice of Christ for man.
There are not two halves to Mass. When the inspiring Word of God is forgotten for the sake of receiving the Body of Christ and getting on with our lives, we dismiss the truth that the Word who was with God in the beginning and the one who is the Bread of Life, and who gives life to all who eat Him, are one and the same. And when we split this unity into two halves, we might as well go and play football on Sunday and really have a game of two halves.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:47 am

Friday, October 14, 2011
29th Sunday of the Year – 16th October 2011
The Royal We
The Queen uses “we” to describe herself and we have been doing the same with the previous translation of the Nicene Creed. The Latin is Credo which translates properly as “I believe” and so we are saying that now throughout the new translation. This will also be consistent with the translation used in other countries since the Second Vatican Council. Thus the Creed remains the faith of the entire Church but each of us proclaims it as our personal faith too in company with other believers.
We also say, “of all things visible and invisible.” Thus is so much better than “seen and unseen” because some things that are visible are unseen at certain times and places like our relatives on the other side of the world or the sun at night. “Invisible” includes our souls, the Kingdom of Heaven and its host of angels and saints.
“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages……begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father…”
The addition of “begotten” reflects one of the changes to the Gloria and more fully translates the Latin. The theological implication is that Jesus did not just appear as the Son of God but that He was intentionally begotten and His presence has always been part of the divine plan. The replacement of “eternally begotten of the Father” with the new word order makes the point more precisely that Jesus dwelt with the Father before time began as in the prologue of St John’s gospel. “Consubstantial” is a mouthful but the question of how Jesus relates to the Father is enormously important. “Of one being” is closer to the original Greek of the text but the Latin translation uses consubstantialis which means “having the same substance.” Thus in the new translation we use a word we do not use for anything else because it describes the unique nature of Jesus Christ – He is unlike anything or anyone else.
In the middle of the text there are a couple of grammatical alterations but they are not particularly significant. Three more important changes occur towards the end. “Worshipped” is replaced with “adored” as it is throughout the Missal because it is a better translation from the Latin as are the other two new phrases. “I confess” replaces we acknowledge as it is a more forceful expression of what we believe in. Finally, “I look forward to the resurrection” resounds with confidence and gives a stronger ending to our profession of belief in God who gives us faith.
Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:34 am

Friday, October 07, 2011
28th Sunday of the Year – 9th October 2011
Two Nations, Divided by a Common Language
This is often said of the UK and the USA because of the different use of English – hood for bonnet, trash for rubbish and so on. Of course the British always think they’re right but in one part of the Mass we were wrong. At the end of the first and second readings the Church in America has always said, “The word of the Lord.” Whilst we said, “This is the word of the Lord.” The Latin is Verbum Domini. So in the new translation we have been Americanised in order to be more faithful to the Latin. It is also be closer to the parallel acclamation which accompanies our reception of Holy Communion – “The Body/Blood of Christ.”

You will also have noticed that before a deacon proclaims the Gospel he receives a blessing from the priest. In the absence of a deacon, the priest bows before the altar and says a short prayer quietly. These also have slight changes to them. The former now adds the prayer that the deacon may not just proclaim the Gospel “worthily” but “worthily and well,” and both now refer to the “holy Gospel” not just the “Gospel.” While you will probably never hear these prayers (unless you’re an altar server) there are several times during the Mass when I say prayers in a low voice. These are to help the priest focus his mind and heart on the meaning of the actions that are taking place.

The dialogue at the beginning of the Gospel has also changed. You already know that the different response to, The Lord be with you,” is “And with your spirit.” Your response to the announcement of the Gospel also has a tiny change – it has become, “Glory to you, O Lord.” Throughout the new translation, "O” precedes words like “Lord” and “God” in prayers. While in practical terms it lengthens the form of address to God, just as in the Gloria it also conveys a deeper sense of awe and respect for the Almighty. And, as you have heard, the deacon or priest says at the end, “The Gospel of the Lord,” dropping “This is” for exactly the same reasons as with the other scripture readings. The response you make remains the same so you can breathe a sigh of relief!

The new translation will not alter the scripture readings for the foreseeable future. And for those of you who have missals this will be a little complicated since while they can be used to follow the readings they will have the old responses and priestly prayers in them. Currently we have the Mass sheets that you should use. At the sung Masses we will soon be introducing the new musical settings to the new translation. Incidentally, the perceived wisdom is that singing the texts is a quicker way of learning them and when you consider how we learn at school that makes perfect sense. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:20 pm