“A Biblical Walk Through the Mass” – An Interview with Dr. Edward Sri

On a recent episode of Into the Deep, I interviewed Dr. Sri of The Augustine Institute about his latest book, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, published by Ascension Press.

Listen to Deacon Mike’s interview with Dr. Edward Sri…

From the publisher, “As Catholics, the Mass is the center of our Faith. We celebrate it every day. We know all the responses. We know all the gestures. But do we know what it all means?

“In A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, Dr. Edward Sri takes us on a unique tour of the Liturgy. Based on the revised translation of the Mass which goes into effect Advent, 2011, this book explores the biblical roots of the words and gestures we experience in the Liturgy and explains their profound significance. This intriguing look at the Mass is sure to renew your faith and deepen your devotion to the Eucharist.”

This is an accessible, exciting and very informative book that will help Catholics and non-Catholics come to a deeper understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and its biblical foundations as it explores each of the parts, prayers, and rites of the liturgical celebration of Word and Eucharist. The release of this book is very timely given the revised English translation of the Roman Missal which will be implemented on the First Sunday of Advent later this year. More than 2,000 parishes across the United States are using this book and its accompanying DVD and workbook in Adult Faith Formation programs to prepare parishioners for these changes.

While the book is not exclusively about the Mass translation changes, Dr. Sri does a great job explaining these changes, for example:

  • Why has the response to “The Lord be with you” changed from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit”?
  • What is the importance of the word “consubstantial” in the Creed?
  • Why will we begin the Creed with “I believe” instead of “We believe”?
  • What is the significance of the priest’s words, “Lift up your hearts” and our response?
  • What is the biblical meaning of “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed…”?

Dr. Sri explains that one of the things he is most excited about is, “the new translation is going to make the scriptural allusions much clearer. You are going to see the bible jumping out of the texts of the Mass now, much more clearly.”

One of the most visible changes is the peoples’ response, “And with your spirit”. Dr. Sri explains, “When the priest is saying, ‘the Lord be with you’, at the beginning of Mass, at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, that also is somewhat of a summons… those are words that God uses with people throughout Salvation History when He is calling them to serve in an important role in His plan of salvation. They are being sent on a mission and they need God to be with them in that mission. It is a reminder to us as we are preparing to hear God’s word spoken to us in the Liturgy of the Word… as we are preparing to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus into us in the Liturgy of the Eucharist… we’re not worthy of this, we need God to be with us to help us prepare for this… and when we say, ‘And with your spirit’, we’re not simply saying, ‘And I hope God’s with you too, Father…’ we’re making an important theological point –  we are saying, ‘And may the Spirit, the unique activity of the Holy Spirit in you, Father… may that Spirit be with you to help you offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We are referring to who the priest, by virtue of his ordination, has the Holy Spirit acting within him that enables him to consecrate the Eucharist, to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.”

I believe that Dr. Sri’s book has the potential to, if Catholics will prayerfully read it, deeply intensify one’s personal relationship with the Lord and to change how one forever approaches the celebration of the Holy Mass. Seeing from scripture how the Mass is the mystical making present, in our time, of the once for all sacrifice of the cross, how our participation in the Mass is the our mystical participation in the heavenly wedding banquet, and understanding how we are to interiorly join our deepest being – our successes and failure, our joy and suffering – to the offering of the priest and Christ… we will never again see Mass as boring or irrelevant. I hope that hearing this interview will encourage you to acquire and study this book and that God will richly shower you with His grace.

Be sure to listen to the full interview (see above).  More information about this book and its accompanying resources can be found at the Ascension Press website.

About the Author

Dr. Edward Sri

Dr. Edward Sri, a contributing writer for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is a nationally-known Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN and is the author of several Catholic best-selling books, including The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights for Praying the 20 Mysteries (Servant) and Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights on John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility (Servant).

His most recent books are The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures (Ascension Press), The Gospel of Matthew (Baker Academic) and A Biblical Walk Through the Mass (Ascension Press).

Dr. Sri is a founding leader with Curtis Martin of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), and he currently serves as the provost and professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute Master’s program in Denver, Colorado. He also teaches as a visiting professor at Benedictine College, where he taught full-time for nine years. Edward holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He resides with his wife Elizabeth and their five children in Littleton, Colorado.

Other books by Edward Sri include: Mystery of the Kingdom: On the Gospel of Matthew (Emmaus Road), Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship (Emmaus Road); Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture (Servant) and The Da Vinci Deception: 100 Questions About the Facts and Fiction of The Da Vinci Code (Ascension Press) (coauthored with Mark Shea). He also is a contributor to the popular apologetics series, Catholic for a Reason and a recent volume on Catholic Marian theology called Mariology (Queenship Publishing).

(Originally published on July 7, 2011, this is a timely interview given that on November 27, 2011, just 2 short weeks from now, the new English Mass translations in English will go into effect.)

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