Friday, February 15, 2013

"Enculturation" of the Eucharistic Celebration of Mass

Of late it has become a fashion to in co-operate cultural practices into the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass. This become a standard practice on the Tamil festival of  Pongal and the Chinese New year. There has been tremendous opposition to such in cooperation of cultural elements into Mass from Catholics, especially from senior members of the congregation. Instead of organizing dialogue and debates on the issue, as usual, these objections have been ignored by the church administrators resulting in many members leaving the church with heavy hearts. Some of them have been actively practicing Catholics for many years and we can imagine the extent of disappointment they would have suffered, in coming to a decision to leave the church they loved so much.
Unfortunately their leaving does not seem to upset the present leach leaders and clergy whose attitude of  “ If you are not happy you need not come” is most irresponsible and un-Christ-like. It is disturbing that   such cultural practices may become permanent features of our mass in the future. 
Cultural practices should not be in-cooperated into the Mass which is central to our faith. By doing so the sanctity of the Mass as a Eucharistic celebration is diluted and I am afraid that soon its real meaning will be lost too. Many of our children today do not know the real meaning of mass and this practice of assimilating cultures into will only accelerate the confusion among them. They will grow up think the mass is a time for entertainment and nothing more.

I feel the mass should be left intact - one solid hour of serious worship, prayer and reflection to enrich our lives with the word of God as his coming to us Holy Communion. It should an hour of great solemnity communicating with God. Mass is not a place or time to "enjoy" ourselves as it not an entertainment or reality show. You can always have traditions and cultures at other times other than during mass inside the church. I admit our cultures are important to be upheld but why bring them into the mass and the church. Why can't they be held outside mass separately?
Even an eulogy to celebrate the life of the deceased at funeral services are not allowed as we are told that would divert our focus from Jesus but ironically cultural practices and even dances are allowed. In fact a good eulogy on the life of the deceased can be a lesson for us in our own lives.
In our country we are already so racially divided by the government and racism has already taken a strong footing in our Church, why make it worse by in cooperating individual cultures into our church services?
Finally it amuses me when we emphasize so much on worshiping our ancestors, when many of our aged and ailing parents and grandparents are left neglected and lonely in deplorable conditions in homes for the aged.

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