We Are

assembly Easter VigilA most unconvincing meme is the one suggesting Catholic liturgy has too much of people and not enough of God. I’ve seen variations on the theme from cardinals and bishops to skeptics on liturgical reform. How do such people reconcile with Scripture passages like this weekend’s Psalm, and its refrain:

We are his people; the sheep of his flock.

Granted, the entire text of the Psalm is about the praise of God. But the whole short piece addresses people, not God. Five verses of a psalmist telling people what to do: shout, serve, come, know, enter, give thanks, bless. And who is the object of God’s actions of making, possessing, shepherding? And beneficiary of everlasting faithfulness and–yes–mercy? We are, as the Lectionary has us sing it.

I’m as much a skeptic on too-much-people of this decade as I was on the discredited notion of voice-of-God in the last. Especially given the context of the Mass. The Mass makes it clear that we are focused on Christ.

That said, there are sometimes poor formulations during the liturgy. Sometimes the new translation clouds the message. And sometimes the homily or music is weaker than it could be. Somehow, I doubt the pre-1960’s preaching and hymn texts were one-hundred-percent spot-on every Sunday. So that’s not on Vatican II. It’s the human condition.

I think for this weekend, we can recognize that God is concerned about us. God wants to guide us on a path of faith, hope, and love. If the message is directed to our direction now and then, that’s okay.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to We Are

  1. FrMichael says:

    “A most unconvincing meme is the one suggesting Catholic liturgy has too much of people and not enough of God.” You should have seen the most recent Sunday Catholic Schools Week Mass in my parish. Kindergartners traipsing up into the sanctuary after Communion to sing a medley (not scheduled by the school DRE), barbarian parents drinking Starbucks, taking pictures, and speaking loudly until I shut everybody up 5 minutes before Mass began, and probably a number of unauthorized adult First Communions. I nearly fired two teachers over the debacle and have now imposed the heavy hand of the pastor over future school Sunday Masses.

    It’s not so much that the rites as written are human-oriented, it’s that the culture is self-directed and that sensibility is brought to the Mass.

  2. Jim McCrea says:

    Unauthorized adult First Communions? If you are the pastor, don’t you know who is receiving their First Communion????

  3. Todd says:

    I would guess what he refers to is non-Catholics or un-Catholics going to Communion. Not having seen his parish, I’d guess the problem is that he let teachers be in charge of the Mass instead of a liturgist. I wouldn’t generally entrust school teachers to prepare and carry out a Mass, especially on Sunday, any more than I’d call my auto mechanic to fix my plumbing. With respect, if it’s bad enough to call for teachers being fired (on their job description?), I’d say that’s on the pastor. But I still wouldn’t replace him for a blunder like that.

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