The Various Lingos (Roman Missal III)

Sooner or later, we have to tackle the mother of all Roman Missal issues: the diversity of human languages.

Where did the Hebrew language come from? Archaeologists and philologists have their ideas. Hebrew came from God, in the sense that everything comes from God. And God used some Hebrew in His dealings with Moses.

When God became man, He spoke the contemporary version of the ancient Syrian language. Greek was the lingua franca of the world. And the people whose ancestral tongue was Latin held sway.

We can say without hesitation that human language exists so that Christ could speak it. If it existed solely for Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Springsteen, et. al., then human language would constitute nothing more than a glorious and futile tragedy.

As it is, the lips of Christ have made our race’s cluckings and stammerings worthwhile. When the Lord Jesus said, Hoc est enim…, He sealed the whole project with a mighty, definitive breakthrough: Heaven and earth unite at the words.

That said, the Lord Jesus did not of course literally say, Hoc est enim… We figure He spoke Aramaic at the Last Supper, when He wasn’t reciting Hebrew. And I, though I am a somewhat well-educated priest and a semi-devout Christian—I could not, off the top of my little head, supply you with the Aramaic words…

An important sequel followed that pivotal Jerusalem spring. The Apostles fanned-out to the ends of the earth. They established the Church in the great cities, as well as villages and hamlets. The Prince of Apostles ultimately sailed west and watered the soil of Vatican Hill, across the Tiber from Rome, with his blood.

The local churches of Rocky Mount and Martinsville, Va.—coursing with holiness as they may—cannot claim to have begun with a Mass celebrated by one of the Twelve Apostles. Indeed, no English-speaking local church can make this boast; the English language did not exist when the Apostles walked the earth.

The lands around the Mediterranean Sea, and in the now-Arab and Persian domains, and in India—these places saw the Apostles celebrate Mass to begin local churches. The languages of these ancient countries were used in the original rites of the Church of Christ. Pre-eminent among them all: Peter’s church, Rome.

More to come…

Because God Designed it So

priest-blesses-armored-vehicle

If you were like me back in August of 2002, your beach vacation was disturbed by the strange publication of “Reflections on Covenant and Mission.” This was a “study document” prepared by theologians of dubious probity. The media reported that the Catholic Church had given up evangelizing Jews.

Some of the people I know and love the most are Jews. I have two Jewish nephews. My best high-school buddies are Jews.

champagneI try to be mannerly about it, but of course they all know that if they said the word, I would baptize them immediately. Then I would get some champagne.

So if you too were nonplussed back in August ’02, then you will rejoice with me: The Catholic Bishops of the United States have issued an official clarification of Church teaching on the matter of preaching the Gospel to Jews. It is not prohibited.

Praise God! Praise Christ! May God save us all by gathering us all into His holy Church!

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)

…Imagine a man walking past the parking lot of a Catholic parish. He sees a family standing next to their new car, and the priest is praying and sprinkling the car with holy water.

After the blessing is over, the man approaches the owner of the new car and asks, “Why do you imagine that having a priest bless your car will do you any good? Do you think that this will cause God to act in your favor?”

asperges(Someone could ask a similar question of anyone who has a Mass said for someone, or confesses his sins to a priest, or has his baby baptized, or goes to the church and approaches the priest for any reason. “Why do you think this will do you any good?”)

Good question. The car owner could reply, “This is what I was taught to do. We Catholics seek the good things of God by asking priests to bless us and our things. This is what I was raised to do.”

Good answer! But then the stranger asks, “Are you saying, then, that this has nothing to do with me, since I was not raised Catholic? And, after all, how did this whole business of priests blessing people and things get started anyhow?”

Excellent question! The answer is: It all started when God Himself became man and founded the holy Catholic Church by sending out the Twelve Apostles. The reason we believe that the Church dispenses the good things of God is: God Himself set things up this way!

ordination

Unity, Diversity, Universal Apostolate, and Ovechkin

noah-covenantIn the Bible, the book of Genesis recounts the beginning—the beginning of the world, of the human race, and of the Chosen People of God.

The first eleven chapters of the book recall what happened before the Lord called Abraham to be the father of the holy nation.

Continue reading “Unity, Diversity, Universal Apostolate, and Ovechkin”