Rejoicing Sunday and Solemn Worship
As I said at the beginning of Mass, this “Rejoicing Sunday” and we also heard in our opening prayer at Mass today “solemn worship”. But we might ask where is the rejoicing in solemn worship? And here I will allow a convert to Catholicism from Evangelicalism to explain it way better than I ever could. He writes this:
“It may be
worth pressing home a point that often troubles observers of Catholic worship
and that certainly rises in the consciousness of Christians coming to the Mass
having been nurtured in denominations where hearty fellowship and humming
activity are the hallmarks of Sunday morning at church. It can be the case,
however, that one comes to Mass from the happy precincts of Evangelicalism,
say, and goes away at the end with great sadness. "But I miss the fellowship!" He might say. "I didn't since the eager atmosphere of glad attention and
participation I knew in my former church."
This response from a newcomer touches on a matter very near the center of the mystery brooding over Christian worship. When the Roman Catholic "goes to church", he or she sees themselves as joining them self to something that is already going on. He sets aside both the hurly-burly of his domestic or professional situation and any preoccupation he may have with such patently excellent concerns as fellowship or chat or even a certain vitality in the air. He has been summoned to the one necessary thing. He here takes his place, literally, he believes, with angels and archangels and with all the company of Heaven, who laud and magnify the Holy Name of the Most High.”
Every Mass is a dramatic intersection of Calvary, Heaven and this Church building, and it is totally unique to Catholicism. Non-Catholics do not even think they are entering Heaven when they go to their services. Praise and Worship music actually distracts from Mass because it is not the music of Heaven nor Calvary…at Mass we do not emphasize our own words…the Catholic Mass, as we said in our opening prayer today is both “solemn worship” and a rejoicing that is deeper than the surface level.
Like Peter 2,000 years ago, utterly bewildered by a glimpse that the three Apostles had on the mount of Transfiguration of a glorified Christ, we can say today and at every Mass, “Lord, it is good that we are here!”