Monday, June 20, 2011

Delivers, as Promised

My review of Dr. Edward Sri's guide to the new Missal: 'A Biblical Walk through the Mass: Understanding what We Say and Do in the Liturgy' at Amazon:

I was very pleased to receive a review copy of Edward Sri's 'A Biblical Walk Through the Mass' about a month ago and have finally had the chance to read through this excellent work.

As priests have long known, the Mass is a Biblical prayer: there are hints and allusions to the Scriptures in everything that is done at the Mass. In this work, Sri helps to make those connections for the average reader who may not have the working knowledge of Scripture or the Mass required to make these connections. Plus, with the upcoming changes in the English translation for the Mass, some terms and phrases will not roll off the tongue as easily, leading many to ask: 'Why?' Sri answers these questions with ease and an accessibility for the average reader.

The book is broken down into the four major sections of the Mass: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Concluding Rites. He begins each section with a general overview of what that moment in Mass is meant to convey and then walks through each section of Mass, highlighting the Biblical connections and also applying the lessons for today's readers. When warranted, he highlights specific changes in the text for Mass, giving both the Biblical and Theological rationale for the new text.

Of particular note is his explanation on pp. 112-3 of the change from 'for all' to 'for many' in the consecration of the Chalice. I was very pleased to see the connections to the Prophet Isaiah highlighted and the explanation that 'each individual must choose to welcome the gift of salvation and live according to this grace, so that he or she may be among "the many" who are described in this text.'

I did not notice any significant locunae in the text; however, serious scholars should note that this is directed more towards the parishioners in the pew than in-depth scholarship on the Eucharistic and Liturgical Theology. That being said, this will be among the very few books that I recommend to parishioners who are seeking a deeper understanding of what we celebrate every week at Mass.

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