27 February 2020

Bible Sunday! How S Paul would have approved!

The Gospel reading of which I wrote*** in this January post is also the Gospel for today in the Old Missal.

 Yes; we used to have 'Bible Sunday' in the C of E, on Advent II, because of the opening of the Epistle reading for that day (in the Tridentine Rite and the Book of Common Prayer). Now we are to have Bible Sunday in the Catholic Church on Epiphany III ... or, in Bitcoincurrency, The Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (how grand that sounds!). And a Year of the Bible!

And this commemoration comes along near Holocaust Memnorial Day.

I think that day is a splendid one to select. ***In the old rite it offers us the fascinating passage S Matthew 8: 1-13. This ends with the Lord remarking that the Centurion whose pais/puer He has just healed at a distance had a faith such as He had not found in Israel; for many will come from East and West to recline with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom, while the huioi/filii regni will be cast into the outer darkness; the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

This passage was expurgated from the Novus Ordo Sunday Lectionary; possibly it was felt that here was "Q-material" which would be covered elsewhere. But it is a fine passage, and I urge even those who will attend a Novus Ordo celebration to take it seriously.

What is interesting is that S Matthew's Gospel is often regarded as showing marks of use in a very Jewish-Christian context. Yet it is this Gospel which makes the very Pauline point that all depends on Faith, Pistis. The Centurion is praised not because he was a Gentile: far from it. The 'Sons of the Kingdom' were not cast out because they were Jews; far from it. For each, Faith, Pistis, or the lack of it, is the key. How fitting that this passage should be given to us to study in the same few days in which we celebrate the Conversion of S Paul! The theme is also Johannine: "He came unto his own, but his own received him not. But to those who did receive him ..."

These three writers were of caourse, all ethn.ic Jews; Jews absolutely soaked  in their Scriptutres and in the Jewish way of life.

And it needs to be remembered that it is into this Jewish inheritance that Faithful Gentiles are admitted. To them is made the wonderful offer expressed by Pope Pius XI in the phrase "We are all Spiritual Semites". We all need to become better Jews!! Above all, we must weed out the assumption that what we call 'the Old Testament' is only a sort of course of background reading for the New Testament. Remember that for the Disciples and for the Gospel Writers and those who penned the Epistles, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings were their only Scripture. They are still by far the largest part of Christian 'Scripture'.

I commend to those who desire to have reading commended
(1) Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger; and
(2) Lovely like Jerusalem by Aidan Nichols.

9 comments:

Joshua said...

There was no mention whatsoever of Bible Sunday today, nor indeed of whatever Sunday of Ordinary Time it would otherwise have been - because at the church I attended, the OF Mass celebrated was that of Australia Day:

Collect
Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,
that as the Cross shines in our southern skies,
so may Christ bring light to our nation, to its peoples old and new,
and by saving grace, transform our lives.

Readings
Is 32:15-18
Rom 12:9-13
Mt 5:2-12

Prayer over the Offerings [A rather jejune composition!]
As we come before you with the fruits of the earth,
tended by our hands, O Lord,
we pray that these offerings may bring a blessing on our land
and peace to all who dwell here.

Preface
For from ancient times you made this land a home for many peoples,
and became their rock of strength;
when they were hungry, you gave them food,
and when thirsty, water even in the desert.
To all, your providence has proclaimed the Good News
of Jesus Christ, your Son,
sent by you to be the Saviour of all the world,
who has brought peace by his sacrifice on the Cross.

Prayer after Communion
May our partaking of this sacrificial meal, O Lord,
grant us strength to walk together in the ways of justice,
and behold one day the new heavens and new earth
you prepare for us in Christ your Son.

Solemn Blessing [Rather kitsch...]
May God who formed our southern land be for you a rock of strength.
May God who rules the great seas keep you safe in every storm.
May God who made the skies above turn your darkness into light.

Todd said...

Yes - spot on!

stephen cooper said...

Every Sunday in which the Credo is pronounced, one hears that the Holy Spirit "locutus est per prophetas".

The Holy Spirit ...

"Sanctus Spiritus .... Locutus est per prophetas".

The last of the prophets before the birth of Jesus was the Virgin Mary, an Israelite and a Jew (the Magnificat is a prophetic poem as well as being everything else that it is) and most (not all, there were a few Babylonians and Chaldeans and others) of the prophets who preceded her were Jewish.

Magna est veritas et praevalebit.





Dale Crakes said...

Oh Fr but that you possessed John Mason Neale's virtuosity at translating Latin in English. Obviously from a simple Christian not possessing your erudite Latin knowledge. Serious but chuckling.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father What is the source of your continuing plea that we become better Jews?

What Saint, Ecumenical Council, Papal Encyclical, Universal Catechism etc made a similar plea?

Where in The new Testament is the passage(s) calling on us to be better Jews?

You also cite the Evangelists and those who wrote the epistles as only having access to the Old Testament but you do not mention The Holy Ghost who inspired them.

And you cite the race of the New Testament authors but Jesus Himself denounced the faithless jews who called Abraham their Father that the Devil was their father; thus, racialism is not a legitimate category vis a vis Jesus.

And then there is the mention of Holocaust Memorial Day and the putative Q material...

This is all quite radical and novel

Fr PJM said...

Dear ABS, I think the reference to Q was ironic. And be careful you don't fall into Marcionism!

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father PJM. There is absolutely nothing in the response of ABS that justifies you cautioning him about Marcionism.

What would have been helpful is if you responded to the legitimate questions raised by ABS.

How about responding to the first three questions...

frjustin said...

If I may add a third book to the two excellent ones commended by Fr John, it would be

(3) "The Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That is Changing the Relationship Between Catholics and Jews" - The Personal Journey of John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger, by Darcy O'Brien

It opens with a quotation from St John Paul II on the 50th anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, April 6, 1993:

"As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing for the world. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews,to be first a blessing to one another".

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Sorry, did ABS make a mistake in the previous response?

He intended to write that if the Jews refer to those who kicked the faithful Jews out of the synagogue (and those who follow in their footsteps) then they could not be a blessing to the world