We now move to summit of the Mass where we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ and once nourished by this eternal food, we are sent out on the mission to share what we have received and spread the Good News.
The Lord’s Prayer is drawn from Matthew 6:9-13. The people’s parts have not changed but the Priest’s parts have, so again we need to listen carefully and follow the words carefully in our new missals.
The Sign of Peace is optional and can be led by either priest or deacon, if one is present. The response to the sign of peace has changed to the now familiar ‘And with your spirit’.
There are a number of significant changes to the Agnus Dei for both priest and people. ‘This is’ has been replaced by the word ‘Behold’ which is repeated. Behold is more majestic and alludes to John 1:29 where John the Baptist points out Jesus on the banks of the River Jordan: ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.’
‘Happy’ – I remember a priest commenting that Happy was one of the seven dwarves! You might not be happy, you might be at the funeral of a close relative, but you are still blessed when you receive the Eucharist.
The ‘supper of the Lamb’ refers to Revelation 19:9 where the angel commands John to write down the words that proclaimed to all those who called to the wedding banquet of the Lamb. Recall also that the first miracle of Jesus took place at the wedding feast in Cana.
In our response, the new phrase ‘I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof’ is a direct reference to the healing of the Centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:8 and Luke 7:6. Jesus was going to go to the Centurion’s house (he was a Gentile) but Jesus admires his faith and cures him from a distance.
The word ‘roof’ does not refer to the roof of one’s mouth, you are in fact confessing to Jesus that you are not worthy because of your sins but we are imitating the humility of the Centurion and inviting Jesus to enter our heart and soul because of our virtue.
Finally, the word ‘soul’ is added to remind us that we are seeking the forgiveness of our sins, that is, spiritual healing, rather than bodily healing, though of course, physical healing can never be ruled out.