It is the people, not the priest, who offer the Mass.

Thursday, 3/23/17

With the First Reading speaking of God’s relationship with his people, we might call  to mind the way it is the people who offer every Mass to God.

Christians in the First Century had a handbook for conducting all Christian rituals, and this is what it said about Sunday worship.

“When you come together on the Lord’s Day, begin by confssing your sins, so that your sacrifice will be pure. But let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciled, lest yor sacrifice be dfiled.”  

There the Mass is twice referred to as the people’s sacrifice, and no role for the priest is mentioned.

In 600 A.D., when there were no priests who were leaned enough to make up their own Mass prayer, Pope Gregory made up a set of words the priests could read or memorize. With very few changes,  this formula of words known as “The Roman Canon,” came down to our time.

A change of about five words was made in 820 A.D.

In the year 800 A.D., Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor, and Charlemagne  deputized his great scholar Alcuin to bring the Roman Canon up to date. Alcuin made a change.

Where the Roman Canon had told the priest at Mass to pray “Father, accept this offering which we your people make to you,” Alcuin, seeing the priest, rather than the people  as offering the Mass, changed the wordings to, “Father, accept this offering which we make to you for your people.”  

That change had everyone seeing the Mass as the priest’s offering, rather  that of the people.

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