There are two sorts of prayer. One is a private conversation, or communion or communication between you and your God. It is private, personal and intimate.
The second is an official, community or family function with a set form and intent.
The Mass is this second form of prayer.
A couple of things today which might improve, enliven, enhance, our Masses for ourselves and for God our Father.
What is all important is the attitude we have, our approach to, our understanding of, what our Mass is about.
Mass is a family, a community gathering, a get together, a celebration of, our bond as one family – Gods family.
We come together as one united family – God’s family here in Corsham. We come together in response to our Father’s invitation to his children to join Him at table and to rejoice in our unity as one family. We, brothers and sisters, God’s beloved children, gather together in mutual respect and love, to rejoice together and with God, as God’s family, and express, as one family, our gratitude and respect to God our Father.
Imagine grandparents throwing a party on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary. They invite all their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren as well as some long standing relatives and friends. Imagine the greetings, laughter, hand shakes, hugs, chatter etc. as they meet, exchange news, coo over the latest crop of babies and generally catch up with family news and events. Of course each one greets the grandparents first but then mix freely with all others.
Of course at the proper time, all are called to order and to give their undivided attention to the official programme, speeches, and presentation of gifts.
That is my understanding of the celebration of Mass. That is why I encourage you to get to know each other especially those sitting near to you. That is why I encourage you to sit in different locations from time to time. That is why I try to greet you as you enter rather that as you leave. That is why we have hospitality in the hall after 9.30 mass on Sunday’s. That is why I am happy to see you getting to know each other and chatting together before Mass. It goes without saying that all the clergy do not share this understanding and attitude.
Of course the time comes when all the above ceases and we give our undivided attention to the official celebration.
How I join in the responses of the Mass is a very good indication of the degree of my understanding of, and participation in, this family celebration. Synchronised responses with a pleasing volume will help me to appreciate my part in this community celebration in honour of God our Father and in gratitude for God’s many gifts.
I always maintain that if I participate well in the Mass; If I participate mentally, emotionally and verbally, then I will, and should, feel tired at the end of Mass but also content and happy.
A Mass where the responses are given in unity of voice, with enthusiastic volume, is a joy to the ear and uplifting to the mind and soul for all present.
This does not just happen; it must be worked on and brought about.