Next Sunday, August 19th, will be the All-Ireland Hurling Final. Because we have got so accustomed to it being on the First Sunday of September it will take at least a few years for us to get used to the new date.
No doubt, in an age when all new innovations are subject to review, the date will most likely change again.
Change in nearly all facets of life is nothing new. It has been said that “change is the sister of time”. That said, those of us who have lived through the past 50 years, or a good portion thereof, have been called to live through the half century of the most rapid, innovative and challenging change of any other comparable period in the history of humankind.
Another fact is that change does not come easy and for the majority of people the initial response is to resist and prefer to remain with the familiar. What ought to enable us to rise above initial unease or fear is that the truth of experience tells us that change is good for our growth as persons and in achieving our best potential. It was the learned Cardinal Newman(1801 – 1890) who said: “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often”.
As Church and faith people in Ireland we are currently challenged by necessary change on a grand scale. The recent restructuring and extensive clerical changes in our Killaloe Diocese is a case in point. While the when, where and how of our Church life and worship is presently undergoing radical change, and undoubtedly will do so again, there are core beliefs and practices that serve for us as anchors or moorings in a sea of change.
One such anchor is the Mass or Eucharist, the subject matter of this year’s August gospels. Yes, the format and style of the celebration of mass allows for variety to suit particular occasions and different cultures; and, yes, it will not be celebrated as often as heretofore and will need to be complemented with other liturgies and services; nevertheless the mass, which has been celebrated since the Last Supper (with its roots in the Old Testament Passover celebration), will continue as it has done so through the ages to be the summit and source of our community worship of our God. The mass will continue to be the best expression of who we are as a pilgrim people on our way to our heavenly homeland.
The Eucharist will continue to be the great example of “continuity across discontinuity”.