Jesus saves

Tax collectors bought the position, then took tax revenue to cover their cost and make a profit. So there you were, dealing with a middle man reporting to no one. To sit with these people was to be one of them. Jesus had something else in mind. Good for him and good for us.

Blithe Spirit

Jesus at the house of the Pharisean, by Jacopo...

Forgiveness double-header today.  From Hebrews 4:

For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

And Mark 2:

Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  (Italics added)

Tax collectors bought the position, then took tax revenue to cover their cost and make a profit.  So there you were, dealing with a middle man reporting to…

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Dumbed down on way to Bethlehem

I submit that the pedestrian has replaced the sonorous, I’d call it rhythmic. The 1962 Bible (Douay-Rheims) called for a reader-aloud with some oratorical training, which has its pitfalls, yes. But this reading the daily newspaper at us (so it comes across) has nothing to stir souls.

Blithe Spirit

Challoner's 1749 revision of the Rheims New Te...

Has the Scripture prescribed for reading at mass been dumbed down since Vatican 2? Here’s the gospel for today, Saturday of the First Week of Advent:

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

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Tom Browne’s nuggets

As to the works of nature, “God is like a skilful Geometrician” who devises “according to the constituted and forelaid principles of his art.” He has in mind God the Artist, operating not in a capricious manner.

So to give all credit to Nature as if it were acting alone is to do it for a hammer or pen for a building or poem. It is to “let our Hammers rise up and boast they have built our houses, and our pens receive the honors of our writings.”

Blithe Spirit

Sir Thomas Browne offered advice for the thinking Christian believer in his Religio Medici (1642), along the way dropping memorable observations:

* The wisedom [sic] of God receives small honour from those vulgar heads that rudely stare about, and with a grosse simplicity admire his workes; those highly magnify him whose judicious enquiry into his acts, and deliberate research of his creatures, returne the duty of a devout and learned admiration. (Part I, Section 13)

I like that ?devout and learned admiration.? He is describing a 1950s Jesuit approach to learning and religion and I suppose one of 2000s too.

Speaking of us, our persons:

[We] are that bold and adventurous piece of nature, which he that studies wisely learnes in a compendium what others labour at in a divided piece and endlesse volume. (I,16)

It?s the ?bold and adventurous piece of nature? I have in mind here.

He looks…

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Readings at mass: Old vs. new

5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony 2 with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus.

[5] Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ:
“Thinking in harmony” vs. being “of one mind”? One is abstract, the other is a good everyday image.

Blithe Spirit

It’s a duel here between New American Bible (NAB), what we hear read at mass these days, and the Douay-Rheims version (D-R), what we heard before the liturgical revolu — I mean reform — shook up Catholic worship.

Here is tomorrow’s 2nd reading, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Romans 15.4-9, NAB vs. D-R, verse by verse, each time NAB first, then D-R:

4 For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
[4] For what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.

“Previously” is redundant.  “Instruction” not “learning”?  Why?  “Patience and the comfort” of the scriptures beats “endurance and by the encouragement of” the scriptures.  Patience is a virtue, for one thing, and encouragement “of” the scriptures?  “By”?

5 May the…

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Catch me later about this

[T]he sentence rendered by King James [Douai-Rheims] as But John forbad [stayed] him, saying: I ought to be baptised by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now, appears in the Jerusalem Bible as John tried to dissuade him. It is I who need baptism from you, he said, and yet you come to me! But Jesus replied, Leave it like this for the time being.

I am not making this up: Leave it like this for the time being is how this wretched travesty renders what ought to be memorable words, as though our Lord were a car salesman with a special offer, or a politician suggesting some murky compromise.

Blithe Spirit

Challoner's 1749 revision of the Rheims New Te...

Man in the U.K. Catholic Herald, William Oddie, contrasts the going version of Scripture read at mass in the U.K. (Jerusalem Bible) and it’s “ghastly, tone-deaf, flat-footed mediocrity” with the 400-year-old King James and yet older, later revised, Douay-Rheims versions.

As in last Sunday’s “This is my beloved son” passage, where Jesus asks John the Baptist to baptize him, John hesitates, and Jesus says go ahead, do it:

[T]he sentence rendered by King James [Douai-Rheims] as But John forbad [stayed] him, saying: I ought to be baptised by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now, appears in the Jerusalem Bible as John tried to dissuade him. It is I who need baptism from you, he said, and yet you come to me! But Jesus replied, Leave it like this for the time being.

I am not…

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Scripture at mass — punchy or not?

The Vatican 2 liturgy is to make every day a Scripture lesson, so as to make us more scripturally literate. But the same people are going to church for consolation, self-improvement, encouragement, and the like as before. Which is where soundbites come in. Why do newspapers have headlines? To get people to read the stories.

Blithe Spirit

"Saint John the Baptist" (c.1560) by...

Slim pickin’s today offered by the liturgy monkeys at the bishops’ conference, I don ‘t know why.  The Isaiah passage

The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

— is pretty generic.  I mean, admirable sentiments and at the heart of belief, but nothing to inspire most of us…

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Young Catholics sound off about today’s mass

Bad music — and bad singers leading the singing — was a frequent young Catholic complaint. One complainer, understanding how superficial that sounds, told me that bad music for him turns what’s supposed to be a sacred time into a cringing endurance test. It’s downright embarrassing when the cringeworthiness takes place at a Catholic funeral and he’s surrounded by non-Catholic friends. [italics mine]

Blithe Spirit

And guess what some find offers them bread not a stone:

One Catholic, who did not want to trash his parish, says he finds more sustenance these days sneaking off to the old Latin Mass. This isn’t because he’s a traditionalist, but because of its quiet and almost mystical aesthetic: lots of bells, lots of incense, no “awful” hymns badly sung but gorgeous Latin chants instead.

Bad music — and bad singers leading the singing — was a frequent young Catholic complaint. One complainer, understanding how superficial that sounds, told me that bad music for him turns what’s supposed to be a sacred time into a cringing endurance test. It’s downright embarrassing when the cringeworthiness takes place at a Catholic funeral and he’s surrounded by non-Catholic friends. [italics mine]

My position is, in addition to the almost guaranteed mediocrity as above, substituting “Amazing Grace” and “An Irish Lullaby”…

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