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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, November 14, 2011
33rd Sunday of the Year – 13th November 2011
Don’t Nod Off
Over the last few weeks you have been concentrating on the changed responses that you have been making, and there may have been a tendency among some of you to let the words of the Eucharistic Prayer pass over your heads. But this great prayer, where the priest says nearly everything, gives you the opportunity to pre-pare yourselves for the final changes which we will talk about over the next few weeks and so sit back and relax for a few minutes. However, stay alert!
In reference to the bread, the priest says: “Take this, all of you, and eat of it…,” which is a reminder that we are sharing in something that is beyond us individually and even beyond the community gathered for that particular Mass. As St John Vianney says, “the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.” And rather than “cup,” we will hear the word “chalice,” not to refer to what Jesus literally used at the Last Supper but in order to reflect a specific vocabulary that says something is different here. This is something special, not just a family “meal.”
Previously, we prayed that Christ’s blood “will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” The new translation reads: “which will be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins.” The first change, from “shed” to “poured out,” will make for a more poetic connection between the blood of Christ on the cross and the Blood of Christ (consecrated wine) in the Eucharist. It is also the sacrificial language used in the Temple, so making it very obvious that this is Christ’s sacrifice. The second change - the translation of the Latin phrase, pro multis—has received particular attention. This translation does not mean that Christ did not die for everyone—as the Scriptures (Jn 11:52; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Ti 2:11; 1 Jn 2:2), the dogmatic teaching of the church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 624, 629), and the Eucharistic Prayers themselves (in their inclusive prayers for the dead) make clear. Scriptural (Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24), historical, and ecumenical reasons underscore this change, but it is the theological reasoning that is most important pastorally. While salvation is offered to all, not all will accept God’s gift. Hopefully, as we hear these words, we will be reminded of our need to respond to that gift as well as the degree to which God will go to respect our freedom.
That thought links us to these final weeks of the Liturgical Year, when the readings consider death and our judgement. God became man in Christ and ultimately brought our humanity into Heaven. We are called to be Divine in this world and make our lives extraordinary. Hence, this Sacrifice is for many, but for those who reject it out of hand, the offer and promise of sharing fully in it is left open to their own response. Continue to the next page.

Finally, when it comes to the Mystery of Faith, translating the Latin more accurately, the new Missal clarifies the dialogical nature of this exchange: the priest says one thing (“The mystery of faith”) and the rest of us respond in one of three ways. The new translations of the acclamations highlight the fact that we are addressing Christ (in the rest of the Mass, we address the Father) and make the Scriptural roots (1 Cor 11:26, Jn 4:42) easier to grasp.
So, let us stay awake, and listen to what is being said and deepen our own longing to be part of the many. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:25 am