Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Rocco Palmo is (for church-blog neophytes) the author of the blog, "Whispers in the Loggia", and the "Willy Wonka" that it seems that everyone with an addiction to church gossip seems to turn (both those who crave the information as well as those who can't keep information to themselves). But ahead of the curve, he has posted English translations of the Holy Father's homilies from yesterdays events in Rome.

In Pope Benedict's Chrism Mass homily, he gives the clergy of the Diocese of Rome (and all of us) a beautiful meditation on the vestments worn by the Priest at Mass: the amice, the alb and the stole, and the chasuble. It's odd there was no meditation on the cincture, which represents purity (can't wait for the kooks to speculate he's about to do away with Priestly celibacy). I dunno, maybe some pages got stuck together.

In the Holy Father's Holy Thursday homily, he became a university professor again, as he explained the Hebrew roots of the 'berakhot' prayers of thanksgiving to God, the ritual book called the haggadah which even today Jews use to guide them through the seder meal.

But something else in that Holy Thursday homily knocked me out, which I heard for the first time ever. There's always been a battle over whether the Last Supper took place on Passover night or the day before. This comes from the fact that John's gospel tells us that Jesus was led to Calvary on the preparation day for Passover (when everyones' passover lambs were slaughtered), and so the midday crucifixion of the Lamb of God coincided with the midday slaughter of the lambs of the faithful. But if that's the case, then the Last Supper was the day before. Scholars tell us that, since Passover was always on a fixed date, there were times when it fell on the Sabbath, and then came the dilemma of which of God's mandated feasts do you keep (since one involves heavy work and one requires no work be done)? So in his homily, B16 tells of scholarly research that says that the people of Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls were found) would, in the case of the Passover and Sabbath collision, have their seders the day before, with all the froo-froo, but intentionally without a passover lamb. The implications of Jesus and the 12 apostles having such a seder are interesting. With no lamb on the their table, Jesus himself is the Lamb at that seder (adding a whole new profound depth to his command to eat his body and drink his blood). Anyway, read it. It's wild.

In the meantime, I'm watching the Good Friday Liturgy from Rome on EWTN, and Fr. Cantalamessa is preaching. Only this year, I'm looking at him and saying, "Yeah, I met him. He signed a book for me."

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