WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the not-too-distant future, songs such as "You Are Near," "I Will Bless Yahweh" and "Rise, O Yahweh" will no longer be part of the Catholic worship experience in the United States.
At the very least, the songs will be edited to remove the word "Yahweh" — a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not "be used or pronounced" in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses.
CNS STORY: No ‘Yahweh’ in songs, prayers at Catholic Masses, Vatican rules.
I’ll refrain from the “Life of Brian” reference here. I wasn’t too sure what I thought about this issue until this morning. I realize that it’s a good thing, because in these days we have what seems to be a lack of reverence. This is a byproduct, I think, of the whole “Jesus is your friend” movement from the 70s or so. And yes, Jesus is your friend. But he is also God, God both immanent and transcendent.
We’ve lost a kind of reverence. God is just another guy we know sometimes. We need to recapture the need to kneel, to bow, to refrain from pronouncing God’s proper name. We need to be in awe of God (yes, that’s still one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you know!). And so not pronouncing the Tetragrammaton is, I think, a good thing. We’ll just have to learn to sing “O Lord, I know you are near…” or something like that.
Because God is awesome. Let’s never lose sight of that. God is awesome.
You may have heard the saying, as I have, that “If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.” It’s so easy for us in our arrogance to think we have everything all figured out. And then maybe God taps us on the shoulder, or shouts into our ear, and sends us in another direction. We’ve all had that happen so many times in our lives, I am sure. And if we’re open to it, it can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a wild ride at the least, and traumatic at the greatest. This is the experience Paul is getting at when he says in our first reading, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”
Simon and his fellow fishermen must have been thinking that Jesus fell into the foolishness category when he hopped into their boat, after they had been working hard all night long (to no avail, mind you!), and said, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” What foolishness! But something about Jesus made them follow his instructions, he tapped on their shoulders, shouted into their ears, and they did what he said.
And not only were they rewarded with a great catch of fish, but they were also called to catch people for God’s reign. Talk about God laughing at your plans. They had only ever known fishing, and now they were evangelists, apostles and teachers. And we know how wild a ride it was for them. They never expected the danger that surrounded Jesus in his last days. They never expected to be holed up in an upper room trying to figure out what to do next. They never expected to be martyred, but all of that was what God had in mind for them. And all of it was filled with blessing.
So what foolishness does God have planned for us today? How will he tap us on the shoulder or shout into our ear? Whatever it is, may he find us all ready to leave everything behind and follow him.