This is a reprint of “Good News,” the weekly reflection written by Campus Ministry staff and students that is distributed at Sunday Masses at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.

By Rob Strusinski, coordinator of Music Ministry and director of the Liturgical Choir

One of the “Nine Ways to Live Jubilee” is to renew a commitment to celebrate the Eucharist by actively participating in the liturgy. But why so much singing at Mass? Let’s take this a once-in-a-millennium opportunity to reflect on the role and significance of music in our liturgy.

Who is there that, in logical words, can
Express the effect that music has on us?
A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable
Speech which leads us to the edge of
The Infinite and lets us for a moment
Gaze into that!
– Carlisle

“Jubilee” comes from the Latin jubilare: to raise a shout, outburst or song of joy! Inherently it’s a musical term, therefore, it would be totally illogical to celebrate the Jubilee year without song. The jubal was a type of ancient horn or brass instrument that required lots of air to create sound. The same kind of energy needed to blow an instrument is required for singing. The wisdom of our Judeo-Christian tradition calls us to sing God’s praise, not speak or half-heartedly mumble. We first have to mean it and believe it from the bottom of our heart in order to sing it.

Singing praise to God is the privilege and duty of all the baptized whether we sing well or can’t carry a tune. It’s simply not a matter of liking to sing or not. It’s the breathing in and out together and joining our voices together that is important. Singing the liturgy is not the responsibility of the priest or musicians, but a ministry of the entire gathered church to the world. The goal of music is not comfort and entertainment, nor decoration or aesthetic, but rather the praise of God and the sanctification of all humanity preparing us and making us fit for the choir of heaven.

Advent, the beginning of a new Liturgical Year, and the Jubilee are very appropriate times for us to bring renewed effort and understanding to participating fully in Eucharist. Let’s get rid of the mindset and language of just “attending Mass” or “going to church” and work at making our presence not merely physical, but present actively and completely in body, mind and spirit.

If God gave you the voice of a frog, then give it back to Him. He deserves to hear it! Our voices need each others’ in order to create the beautiful sound symbolic of that heavenly choir of angels we hope to sing in someday.

People look East, the time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People look East and SING today;
Love the Guest is on the way!