This past Sunday was the celebration of Christ the King at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse in concert with all other catholic churches throughout the world. This ending of the church calendar closes another year and it also closes the use of many of the standard prayers catholics have recited since Vatican II. Next Sunday begins the season of Advent as catholics recall the anticipation of the world as they waited for God’s promise of deliverance and salvation. The new recitations also begin with Advent though with much less anticipation. It is my opinion that if the church is relying on the modifications of words to achieve reform, the effort is woefully inadequate.
The church leadership has put a positive spin on the modifications of the creed, gloria, holy, penitential rite and responses. The real reason for the changes is not publicly discussed or even known for that matter. It does not matter because once people have learned the new, prescribed prayers, they will still be entering the building in their most reverent pose, passively observing the pageantry and production of the mass, their participation reduced to the singing of hymns and taking communion. It is of little wonder that many catholics regard the mass as a duty, you know that thing you do during the weekend, or maybe just during the high holidays of Christmas and Easter.
I am reminded of the passage in Matthew’s account of the sermon on the mount when Jesus said: “When you pray do not utter meaningless words as the pagans do. They think they will be heard by their gods because of their many lofty words.” Christ also instructed us in how to pray by praising God, by asking him to fulfill our needs for the day, to forgive us and asking for protection from the tempter. We should talk to God each and every day with words from our hearts because God knows our hearts and our needs before we even ask.
The changes are upon us and it will be up to each Christian Catholic to decide in their hearts how to deal with them. My opinion is get back to basics, invite the people to bring their bibles to the celebration, teach more about the life and times of our Lord Christ Jesus and encourage open participation. Real reform will happen when people accept Jesus as our salvation, truly walk with him day by day and know, love and serve our God with our hearts, minds and strength.