Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lamentations for Holy Week

"Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a custom in Israel; they are recorded in the Laments." -- 2 Chronicles 35:25 (NRSV) 

Next week, being Holy Week, I will devote this blog to reflecting on the five chapters of the Book of Lamentations.  As the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, which I have on Verbum, reminds us:

"Lamentations has been used in mourning rituals since early after its composition. Its laments have been read in response to tragedies throughout the history of the Jewish people, including the destruction of the second temple and the defeat of Bar Kochba. In Christian liturgical traditions, Lamentations is read during the Matins of Holy Week. Its poetic expression of unspeakable horror has been used by many throughout history in recurring tragic situations."

A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, which I also have on Verbum, reminds us that theologically:

"The author emphasizes the power of Yahweh; the destruction of Jerusalem is his work for it was he who brought the Neo-Babylonians to be his agents in effecting the destruction, 1:14; 2:17; 4:11. He lays stress upon the justice of Yahweh, 1:18; 3:42, but reminds his readers that, although just, Yahweh is also infinitely merciful, 3:22 f. He frequently states that it is because of their sins and those of their religious leaders that the people are suffering, 1:5, 8, etc. When composing the Office of Tenebræ the Church searched the Bible for words to express our sorrow for Christ in his sufferings; she could find nothing more apt than these Lamentations."

So, join me next week as we meditate on this book. Each entry will include an image associated with Holy Week along with a particular chapter from the Book of Lamentations.

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