How strange that an odd word here and there has been added to the language of Holy Mass!
Of course that thought is not right, but it easy to see how you could begin to think that way when you say the response to ‘Pray Brethren’ which begins “may the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands… and all his holy Church.”
Holy! The word Holy has been added. It has not appeared just to catch you out as you make the responses! As we have to realise by now our old translation strangely omitted words. If you are going to re-translate , then you might as well make sure that you do a good joy and include all the words, so that you do not have to do it again quite so soon.
So that is one reason why we add the word ‘holy’. Quite simply the word is there so we should say it.
But translating it properly might also do something else, it might remind us that the Church is Holy. Often we know that this can be hard to see. Evil people do evil things in the name of the Church and using the Church as a cover for their foul sins. But those are people in the Church, not the Church herself.
The Church is the Body of Christ, and was founded by Christ Himself and subsists in the Catholic Church. It includes us, but not just us. It includes also all those who reign in Heaven and all those who are being purified in Purgatory. It is all those throughout the world and through time itself. The Church includes sinners, after all it includes both you and me, but she, the Church, is Holy. How could the Body of Christ be anything else?
By reminding us that the Church is holy, we remind ourselves that we are to be Holy: we are to be a Holy people for Almighty God. And when we are not, then we are to ask His forgiveness and receive Sacrament of Grace and forgiveness.
This is the Holy Church professed at Mass. It is made up of poor sinners, of frail humanity, and yet transformed by God into His body. Our holiness is His holiness, our hope is His victory, our life is to be forever in Him.