Friday, December 22, 2006

Temple, not just synagogoue

Granted, it isn't very "Christmasy" nor does it have anything to do with Advent, but hey, the Liturgy is the Liturgy, and frankly it's something I'm pretty much always thinking about. What with that whole "source, center, summit" thing and all. From The Spirit of the Liturgy:

In modern theological discussion, the exclusive model for the liturgy of the New Covenant has been thought to be the synagogue - in strict opposition to the Temple, which is regarded as an expression of the law and therefore as an utterly obsolete "stage" in religion. The effects of this theory have been disastrous. Priesthood and sacrifice are no longer intelligible. The comprehensive "fulfillment" of pre-Christian salvation history and the inner unity of the two Testaments disappear from view. Deeper understanding of the matter is bound to recognize that the Temple, as well as the synagogue, entered into Christian liturgy.

The reason it probably strikes me more than perhaps some others is that I not that long ago finished reading Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper which talks quite extensively about the Eucharist and the Liturgy as relates to the ancient Temple sacrifices. I think if you read both books close in time you get much more out of each of them. This fact pretty much parallels the thought in the Pope's writing above, that you get more out of understanding the Liturgy by viewing it in light of both synagogue and Temple than either of them in isolation. But then, that would make sense for God, since He doesn't waste anything he has created.

You know, now that I think about it, just maybe this is a little "Christmasy". After all, Jesus was born into this world for only one reason, and it wasn't to know what it feels like to have dirt on your feet or to strike a nail with a hammer - no, He was born into this world for our salvation, to bring us into that union with the Father to which we have been called from outside of time. And if one of the greatest gifts He left us was the Eucharist, and if that Eucharist is given us inside the Liturgy, and if that gift was a central part of why He was born in the first place, then perhaps this really is about Christmas in some way after all.