6th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

I did mention last weekend that the Mass is the official, and symbolic act of gratitude, of God’s family in a particular area.
I also mentioned that down the centuries this official act of thanksgiving has accumulated various additives and accretions. The latter did have meaning and relevance at the time. However this relevance faded with time but the accretion remained. ( For example the official opening of parliament while being colourful, is for most people largely unintelligible). The power of symbols tends to be lost as time passes. Then new relevant symbols are needed but rarely initiated.
The original Mass was simply a meal of bread and wine shared together in someones home. The sort of meal shared with family and friends.
This shared meal was in direct response to the meal of bread and wine shared by Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples on Holy Thursday evening just before his arrest and execution. After this meal he asked them to do this in memory of him.
This memory of him is, that he was sent by the Father to bring us the Good News and all that this entails (as we saw for the last few weeks). This memory includes God’s total commitment to my welfare even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice – execution on a cross.
So Mass is remembering what God has done for me and us and saying thank you.
This shared meal expresses our unity as God’s family here in Corsham and our shared sense of gratitude.
This is simple, straightforward, crystal clear and effective. Or should be.
Some of the historical and outdated accretions were removed after Vatican 11 but quite a few still remain. These continue to obscure the essential nucleus of the Mass which is a simple shared meal.
Of course we human beings, both laity and clergy, become attached to our out of date, historical, and now irrelevant customs. Down the centuries laws and regulations are formulated as to the clothes that must be worn, what the bread must be like, what strength the wine must be, approved suppliers, what the make up of the candles must be, what the Ash Wednesday ashes must be like and how produced, Mass vessels, altar cloths etc etc must be this way and that way.
What the Mass is and what it is about gets lost in the dense vegetation and verbiage. How much more out of touch can one get than having a get together meal with your family and insisting that you speak in Latin throughout the meal; a language which none of them know!!
For the time being we are more or less stuck with what we have as regards the Mass.
The trick is to train oneself to see through all the shrubbery and recognise the simple meal of bread and wine shared together in grateful remembrance of our God’s goodness to us.