We finally made it to the first Sunday of the new liturgical year, the first Sunday using the new translation of the missal. My impression? It doesn't really seem to me that anything has particularly changed. Yes, the wording is a little different, but the Mass is the same.
I happened to go to the cathedral for Mass this morning. I was taken by surprise when the bishop was the celebrant. I know it makes sense that he should be there, but I've been to Mass there plenty of times, and I think this is the first time I've seen him there. One of the things that I love about going to a Mass with a bishop or a cardinal is that there is just a little more ceremony to certain parts of the Mass. I love this because it is a respect that we owe to their office as bishop. I don't feel that I know much about the bishop here, but I know that when he was ordained as a bishop, other bishops laid their hands on him, as bishops before them had laid their hands them, and on down the line back to the early Church fathers and to the apostles themselves. For that, I will gladly give him honor and respect and pray for him, though I know little else about him.
The other thing that I love about going to a Mass with a bishop or a cardinal (or even the pope, though I've never been to a Mass with the pope) is that it is still the same Mass. He is not so important that he gets to choose his own readings or his own way of doing things. In fact, the only way that he can truly fulfill the office he has been given to guard and protect the Church, keeping her teachings safe so they can be handed on, is to to follow each of the rules of the liturgy, to say the Mass in unity with the pope, with all the priests in his diocese and with Catholics around the world.
I think what I love about that is that it reminds me again that the Mass and the teachings of the Church are not ours to decide as Catholics. They are what has been given to us, they are bigger than us- all of us- from the people in the pews up to the pope himself.
The changes in the wording of the Mass, to me, are an example of thoughtful and prayerful study of how we can most accurately pass on and live out the teachings that have been given to us.