Having attended a few Catholic Masses over the years, I have come to understand the constancy of the liturgy and how deeply it is ingrained in the subconscious of every Catholic. So much so, in fact, that during one Mass I attended when the priest read, “The Lord be with you,” as a part of the scripture lesson, the congregants, obviously without thinking, responded, “And also with you.” Everyone laughed, including the priest.
A new translation has recently changed the liturgy of the Mass for English-speaking Catholic churches. The purpose in making these changes was not to modernize and insure that the liturgy is more in sync with the likes of young people, but rather for the Church “to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy*.” One of those changes is to the sequence previously mentioned. Now when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” the response of the people is, “And with your spirit.”
When I read through the list of changes to the liturgy of the Mass, I got to thinking about how the liturgy might change if it were to be turned over to a group of contemporary Protestant reformers. (That would be the ones out to irritate reactionary believers who cringe at repetitive song lyrics and have a problem with the words of Amazing Grace being modified, ostensibly because the old lyrics are not good for self-esteem.)
Even though some Catholics are grumbling a little about the current changes, they should be very happy that the aforementioned reformers don’t have free reign with the liturgy. If they did, the new “hip” beginning of the Mass might go something like:
Greeting: The Lord be with you.
I just want to say, right back atcha.
All I really want to say is, right back atcha.