Friday, October 23, 2009

"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

This is from last Sunday's Catholic Gospel reading. One of the mysteries of the Catholic religion is the tendency of its members to be anti Jewish. Here Jesus is talking about Romans lording over them. Why doesn't the ill will stick with the Romans? From a Catholic theological point of view it is wrong to blame anybody, maybe Adam, maybe ourselves. From the point of view of the passion story in natural law, some Jews and Romans might be seen as at fault.

As the Mass proceeds, the priest takes the role of Christ and says 'Hoc est enim corpus meum.' Well he used to say that (in Latin); now he says it in English 'For this is my body.' In that he is said to be equal to Jesus Christ. A bit earlier however he plays a different role in the passion play. He has water poured over his hands as he washes his fingers in a bowl. Here he is playing the role of Pontius Pilate, a 'ruler of the Gentiles etc.' So the priest = Pontius Pilate and the priest = Christ. Well this all happens in liturgy. It makes me wonder what earlier liturgies were like. I'd be interested to know about an ancient Egyptian Coptic liturgy which is still practiced and official.

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