Lord I am Not Worthy

By now you have heard that the Mass as we know it is going to change. Some are calling it the new Mass but it’s actually more like the old Mass. The English translation of the Roman Missal will include updated translations of existing prayers, including some of the well-known responses and acclamations of the people.

Pope John Paul II announced a revised version of the Missale Romanum during the Jubilee Year 2000. Among other things, the revised edition of the Missale Romanum contains prayers for the observances of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Votive Masses and Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass.

The Roman Missal will be implemented in the United States of America on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

The part that I think brings truer meaning to what we are responding to is the Invitation to Communion. Currently the Priest says “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper”.

To which we currently respond “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed”.

The new Invitation to Communion will be the Priest saying “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb”.

And we, the people, will respond by saying “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.

To better understand the meaning of this you need to know where it comes from. Truly realize what you are saying when you respond to the Invitation to Communion. The Lord is inviting us to be present, to become a part of the supper of the Lamb, Him.

The Scripture reference used here is from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 8, verses 5-10 and verse 13 which tells us:

5 When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him.

6 ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.’

7 Jesus said to him, ‘I will come myself and cure him.’

8 The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.

9 For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, “Go,” and he goes; to another, “Come here,” and he comes; to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’

10 When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this.

13 And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; let this be done for you, as your faith demands.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.

The centurions statement showed his great faith in the power that Jesus had. He believed that Jesus did not need to actually enter his house, but that he had the ability to cure his servant by saying it would be done. The saying “come under the roof” meant to enter the house. According to Jewish ritual law, entering the house of a Gentile would have made Jesus “impure” , as referenced in the Acts of the Apostles 10:28 ‘You know it is forbidden for Jews to mix with people of another race and visit them; but God has made it clear to me that I must not call anyone profane or unclean”.

What are we saying when we say “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”? Each of us may have different thoughts about this. For me it means I am a sinner, I am not worthy of Him, but I beg for his Mercy and acceptance of me. This brings also to light our need for confession and reconciliation. Before we receive Him at Communion we must be cleansed of our sins and be truly able to receive God in our mouths, in our bodies, in as much a state of grace as we can be.

“Lord I am not worthy” remains an important part of the Mass as it is why we return each week, daily even, to beg for the Lord to accept us into His Kingdom. To be made worthy of the promises of Christ. It is what He died for. He invites us and is waiting for us to respond “but only say the word and my soul shall be healed“.

The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives.

If you would like to learn more about the New Missal, please just click here.