Monday, February 5, 2018

Pope Francis on the Liturgy of the Word

From the January 31st Weekly Audience:

"Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Eucharist, we now consider the importance of the Liturgy of the Word.  There God speaks to us, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the sacred Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to that living word.  At the table of God’s word, we find nourishment for our lives as we listen to the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the one mystery of Christ and call for our response.  Drawing from the richness of the Church’s Lectionary, the Liturgy of the Word invites us to silent openness to God’s saving message as it resounds in the ecclesial assembly and continues God’s constant dialogue with his people, the Church.  Since we do not live “by bread alone”, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (cf. Mt4:4), we need to be constantly open to, and challenged by, that word, in our lives as individuals and in our life as a Church.  Let us ask the Holy Spirit to make the word sown in our hearts bear abundant fruit and guide our steps, day by day, on this, our earthly pilgrimage."


straykat said...

Speaking of liturgy and words, I've wanted to see a translation that actually puts the word "liturgy" in the Bible. Because it's in the Greek. All of the Protestant texts replace it with "ministering" or "serving" or the like (just like they purposely diminish "bishop").. NAB is better with putting "worshipping". At least when it comes to the verb form Λειτουργούντων, I understand.. but you never see "liturgy" as a noun. And I think it's raised Protestants to be so wary of the idea. Like it's not "blblical"... when it actually is.

straykat said...

Oh, if I seemed to not have a point, it's that one big part of the "Liturgy of the Word" is that, ironically, Sacred Tradition lies within the Word itself. They are not seperate things. When we read in Acts 13, for example, when the church gathered around and "ministered the Lord" before they laid hands (i.e. ordained) on Paul and Barnabas to spread the Gospel, the word for "minister" is liturgy. Someone removed from tradition can't even make sense of what "ministering the Lord" actually means (or even the bit about ordination).

Outsiders may want to ignore men like Francis (and his whole Office) or the Orthodox and say they are not of the Word..that the church got polluted and these traditions were added on.. but they are part of a tradition handed down and witnessed in the very word those people hold so dearly (and I do believe they hold it dearly..). But they are like people who only read a Shakespeare and not see it performed or have ever seen it performed.. and don't believed it was ever handed down on how it was performed. It's very sad. They're missing a big part of the picture... yet the very thing that could convince them is in their bibles, if they were translated better.

OK.. now I'm sort of on a tangent. God bless :)

Biblical Catholic said...

Little issues like that are the reason why I am coming to dislike reading Protestant translations. There are all sorts of little subtle biases that only a Catholic reader can notice, like translating 'elder'rather than 'bishop', 'congregation' instead of 'church', 'highly favored one' instead of
'full of grace' etc etc etc The more closely you read, the more you notice these things. The NIV is really bad in this way, translating 'works' when it used in a negative sense, but 'the things you do' when used in a positive sense, or translation 'tradition' when it is bad but 'teaching' when it is good, although in both cases, the underlying Greek word is the exact same.

I actually find it hilarious reading the preface to some of these translations, where they brag that their translation committee is 'ecumenical to avoid any bias', and you look the list of denominations the translators belong to, and they are all evangelical Protestant denominations, with no Catholics, Orthodox, Jews or even mainline Protestants. So, it turns out that they aren't really allowing for 'theological diversity' at all. "We have scholars from many different evangelical denominations who all believe essentially the same thing', yeah, that's not 'biased at all.

At least the NRSV and the NABRE genuinely are ecumenical with Catholic, Protestant, both evangelical and mainline, and Orthodox scholars taking part. The NRSV even had one Jewish translator in the Old Testament, Harry Orlinsky, who also worked on the RSV and on the New Jewish Publication Society translation of the Tanakh. I trust these truly ecumenical translations far more than I do something like the NIV, ESV, CSB or NASB.

Jimbob James said...

Acts 13:2 and Hebrews 10:11 both indeed do use the Greek word liturgy. The Latin Vulgate translates it in these places with the word minister, so I can't help but think it's the reason why it's translated that way in most Bi bles to this day.

I would love to see these two verses translated like this:

Hebrews 10:11
"Every priest stands daily at his liturgy, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins."

Acts 13:2
"While they were engaged in the liturgy of the Lord, and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work which I have called them."

In the above quote from Acts, the word "work" toward the end is actually "urgy" in the Gk, the second half of the word "lit-urgy" - the peoples' work.

Jimbob James said...

Going through the Gk NT, and found here some more places where the word Liturgy could be justified in a NT translation:

Hebrews 8:6
"Now he has obtained so much more excellent a liturgy as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises."

Hebrews 9:21
"In the same way, he sprinkled also the tabernacle and all the liturgical vessels with blood."

Philippians 2:17
"But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial liturgy of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you."

2 Corinthians 9:12
"For the administration of this liturgy is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of Eucharist."

(Note in the above, the NABRE translates liturgy as public service and Eucharist as thanksgiving, which is the meaning of those words, but I would like to see the words transcribed as liturgy/eucharist there.)

The word liturgy appears multiple other times in the NT, but the instances I gave are the ones where it could be justified transcribing the Gk word liturgy instead of translating it... Except for this one last example:

Luke 1:23
"Then, when his days of liturgy were completed, he went home."

straykat said...

Great eye, Jimbob James :)

The other thing worth pointing out is that James the Just led the Church in the Jerusalem temple (and he was also killed in the temple, as we all may know). There is no other reason the Church would be there other than to participate in some kind religious function. At the end of Luke, after Jesus' ascension, it also says "they were continually in the temple, praising God". It wouldn't be mere scripture reading, because they also used synagogues and homes for prayer, readings, and communal functions. Until AD 70 (or James' martyrdom a bit before that), this seemed to be the situation. Then it spread. I also think they had a specific way they wanted to hand things down as it spread to other areas - because we can see that they didn't let other things go to happenstance. They had a council on letting Gentiles in, rules about forbidding blood eating, and Paul over and over again teaching and correcting doctrine in his epistles.

This was a formal church in it's teachings - starting with Jesus: Go, therefore,and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you.

And if it was formal in the above way (baptism and teaching), then it was definitely formal in their form of worship. It just wasn't detailed in writing - we had it handed down.. and those traditions seem to be here to this day, in one way or another, in the liturgy.

Jimbob James said...

That's why I have more respect, doctrinally, for high Church and anglo-Catholic Protestants (who exist in Anglican and Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian circles and a few smaller misc. ones) than I do for low Church, evangelical, and "non denominational" Protestants.

The Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, and any Christians from the first 15 centuries of Christendom would be utterly mystified if they saw a congregation gather together just to sing hymns, maybe say a few prayers, and hear the Bible and a sermon - with no altar, no vestments, no procession, no pomp, no candles, no incense, no icons, no statuary, nothing ritualistic at all. The Jews as well as Apostolical Christians were extremely ritualized - their entire life revolved around liturgical ceremony and a religious calendar.

They wouldn't even realize this was a "church service" - early Christians worshipped liturgically.

The entire Christian faith was foreshadowed by and prefigured by liturgical worship - the tabernacle and later the Temple and finally the Synagogue of the Old Covenant all prefigured and were fulfilled by the Church of the New Covenant. Jesus Himself is both the New Torah and the New Temple, the New Word and the New Sacrifice. And every single Catholic Church on earth is also the Third Temple where the New Passover is slain, where the New Torah is proclaimed, where the Old Testament is consummated in the New and Eternal Covenant.

Every single Catholic Mass/Divine Liturgy is a fulfilled Jewish Synagogue and Jewish Temple Liturgy.

The Liturgy of the Catechumens/Word is the fulfillment of the Synagogue - the place where Israel gathers as one body and together sing and chant hymns and Psalms to God, receive a blessing, hear the Sacred Scripture proclaimed, have the Scripture and lessons taught to them, praise God and pray to God as a corporate Body.

The Liturgy of the Faithful/Eucharistic Sacrifice is the fulfillment of the Temple, where the Paschal Lamb is sacrificed for them, where they make and receive a Communion offering, where the burnt offering is consumed, where a holy libation is poured out, where a grain offering is made, where the eternal Todah (Thank offering/Eucharist) is given, where the incense rises to God at an altar, where the fire of God always burns atop the consecrated altar, where God dwells in the Holy of Holies flanked by holy statues of heavenly beings.

Even the entire Clergy and Papacy is based on the Jewish types - the Pope is the new High Priest and Ruler of the Synagogue, the Bishops are the new Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, the Priests are the new Aaronic Priesthood and Synagogue Elders, and the Deacons are the new Levites and Synagogue Servants.

The Pope and Bishops sit on the chair of the New Moses and teach God's People Israel.

The list could go on and on. Jesus meant what he said when he said he came to fulfill the Law and that one jot or tittle of the Law would not fail.

straykat said...

Thanks for another post. Yeah, I believe you could go on. My mind is kind of focused on linguistics and phrases, I suppose. There's so much more content to consider though, as you pointed out. I think the book of Hebrews is more evidence of what you're saying: Just how in depth and liturgically minded the early Christians were... and how Israel prefigured it.

straykat said...

On a slightly related note, what I find really cool is that the co-founder of Jews for Jesus himself.. Father James Bernstein.. when he first found Christ by reading Matthew, went on his journey as a believer... went through various denominations of Protestant branches and outreach programs here and there.. and when he found an Orthodox church, he said he instantly recognized the Jewishness of it and knew he was home. He's now a Priest in the Antiochian church.

Not to say this is necessarily more Jewish than Roman Catholicism. One person I really love to listen to right now is Roy Schoeman, who has some great Catholic vids on Youtube (check them out if you haven't seen any!). I think he's a prolific author at Ignatius Press too.

I also like that the Roman Catholic Catechism specifically points out the Parousia will not happen until Jews convert to Jesus. I already have had a simlar belief in this myself for some time. The Jews still have a part to play somehow.

Anyhow, I'm personally torn between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Please pray for me, if you can. My name is Ken in Texas. Needless to say though, these are the two great liturgical traditions. It would be easier on me if they both just "become one", as our Lord prayed.

Evergreen Dissident said...

Ancient Israel's Temple worship set the pattern for liturgical worship for God's people -- a liturgical mentality that also was found in the synagogue service of prayer and scripture reading. Add to this the highly liturgical home worship of Judaism -- typified but not limited to the Passover Seder -- and it is easy to see why early Christianity had such a powerful liturgical orientation. The idea of an orderly worship service that incorporated Temple worship, the Word-oriented synagogue service, and the home worship of the Seder meal would have been natural to the Apostles and their followers (including the Apostolic Fathers).

straykat said...

I think Evangelicals took their service idea from David dancing in the streets... and replaced the lyre with a Fender guitar.

God bless them though :) I'm a Fender fan myself. I do think many are sincerely trying to follow Christ too. But based off the Word alone. And that's not the whole story of the Church.

Jimbob James said...

I almost went Eastern Orthodox myself.

My recommendation would be to go Catholic:

The Catholic Church on an official level recognizes the legitimacy and Apostolic succession of the Orthodox, whereas the Orthodox on an official level do not return the sentiment. Various attitudes can be found in Orthodoxy, but the most common one is that Catholics are heretics and the Catholic sacraments are totally bunk.

The Orthodox Churches have two things in common: ethnocentrism (I usually call the Eastern Orthodox the "Greco-Slavic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox the "Afro-Asiatic Churches") and anti-Papalism. Attitudes toward the Pope in Orthodoxy range from passive disapproval to open hostility, many Orthodox are hardcore misopapists and think the Pope is antichrist and refer to Catholics as Papist heretics.

straykat said...

Yes, the ethno.. and eastern bias in general (strangely from western converts sometimes) annoys me. I'm actually half Asian and European myself.. part of both worlds. I know the East and have no particular love affair with it or a love affair with the West either. I need both. And I'm not about to drop thousands of years of western culture, which I feel is subtly being suggested sometimes in Orthodoxy.

After I typed that last night, I happened to watch this video:

It really moved me. It's a bit old (2014), but it's from a Argentine Nun who stayed in Syria during the conflict, and about her description of the faith of Catholics kids there. I know there's plenty of Orthodox suffering too, but it reminded me just how widespread Catholic schools and missionaries are. This is also something the E Orthodox churches lack, unfortunately.

Please watch that vid btw, if any of you have the time!

straykat said...

It's funny.. but awhile back I ran into a vid about a little girl named Miryam, whose home was taken over by Daesh in Mosul. And she forgave them. She's amazing.. and my first thought was that what church she's part of, I need to be part of. I thought she might've been Protestant, because she loves so many hymns.

But turns out she's a Catholic. I've been barking up this tree for awhile, I suppose :)

Here she is. You'll love her too:

Sorry if I'm going way off topic now.