Sunday, December 14, 2014

"His" or "God"?: Parish Bulletin--3rd Sunday of Advent

            I pray your Advent is going well as we continue to prepare for Christmas.  Thank you for all who participated in and helped put on our mission last week.  What a blessed time…God is good! 
I have been thinking about one of the themes from David Walsh’s talk—that we can trust in Jesus Christ and the Church he established.  Specifically, I would like to apply this principle of trust to something I have noticed in Mass.
            Think of your response after the priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”  You respond: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.”  I put the pronoun his in bold because at times I have heard his replaced with God’s (i.e. “…for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good and the good of all God’s holy Church”).
            Why address this seemingly minor issue?  Three reasons…
            The first is that our worship needs to remain united.  If I can hear this discrepancy so can you. 
            The second is that it is not up to individuals (lay faithful, priests and even a bishop) to change words in the Mass.  The Church presents the texts of the Mass to us and we can trust the Church.
            The third is that we may refer to God in prayer and worship with the pronouns he or his.  Does this imply that God is a male?  No!  God is pure spirit and thus does not have a gender.  In fact, all good traits of both male and female genders come from God’s goodness. 
            Yet consider that God sent his son to earth to reveal more fully the inner workings of the Trinity.  And how did Jesus refer to God?  Primarily as Father (Jesus refers to God as Father 186 times in the Gospels)!  We do the same all the time.  Each time we make the sign of the cross we pray, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  We begin the greatest prayer ever by saying, “Our Father…”  We can trust Jesus’ understanding of God far more than our own and this applies to our prayers at Mass.
            With this stated, please pray in the words given at Mass.  I realize habitual prayers are hard to change (remember how long it took to memorize the Mass parts when the newest translation came out?) but give it your best!
            God Bless!

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