Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Grammarian, V

The Old Testament for this morning's mass is another instance of the superiority of the KJV (from whose subservience Fr Petersen reportedly remains on the lam). The Aaronic Blessing reads, "The Lord bless thee and keep thee, etc." Thee, not you. A little lesson in King's English grammar reminds us that "ye" and "you" are plural, while "thee" and "thou" are singular, and there are no exceptions to this rule. Modern translations all blur this distinction, because, of course, modern English in general has abandoned the distinctions between singular and plural in the second person. The pericope from Deuteronomy indicates that these words are to be spoken to the children of Israel; nevertheless it is "thee" not "you."

So the question arises: why?

And the answer is: Israel is addressed as one here, the son of Isaac. One nation, one people, one person. Ultimately for the people of Christ, upon whom the ends of the ages has come, this means that we who are many are one body in Christ, indeed one body of Christ.

Especially is this manifest to us who have just partaken in the Body of Christ at the altar. Hence, the Aaronic benediction is reserved only for mass, and not for prayer offices. It hearkens first to the solidarity of Israel as one son of Isaac, who is the only-begotten son of promise (Ishmael doesn't count, remember); and it hearkens ultimately to the fulfillment of this in Christ the only-begotten Son of God.

At Mass, the body of Christ feeds on the Body of Christ: Holy things for holy people, as the Greeks traditionally say.

All this is succinctly put in the grammatical singular: The Lord bless thee.


Not Alone +++ PAS said...

Fr. Eckardt,

I’ve never spent any time on your blog before, but today I have been exhilarated by what I have been reading. Thank you for the insights that you (and other commentators) have shared here. You all have opened a floodgate of treasures.

What you have shared regarding the oneness of the body in connection with the grammar of the benediction and also with the gift of the keys is quite marvelous. As I read and reflected upon this, especially as I read and studied the Matthew 16 text, I noticed that this connection is even more wondrous and comprehensive than what you have indicated.

The singularity of oneness is something that seems to be lost to a large degree among most “Christians” today. Yet what you are bringing forth in this matter of the benediction and the keys demonstrates that the singularity is the foundation of the Christian faith.

Now consider what has been said regarding the keys given to Peter. You are absolutely right in saying that it was given only to Peter and also that it was given only to one man. However, if we consider the text in context we see that the keys were not given to Simon the son of Jonah. Like Jacob, Simon was buried and given a new name. Jacob became Israel and Simon became Peter, solely by declaration Yahweh, the Word. Jesus, the Word, declaration Yahweh, renamed the man of faith. In the Old Testament he was named “prevails with God,” Israel. In the New Testament He was named “Rock” or “Foundation,” Peter.

Peter is not the individual who confessed what the Father gave. Peter is the new man of Baptism and true faith. Peter is the body of Christ, raised from the death of sinful unbelief. This is further demonstrated when Jesus addresses Simon’s blasphemous rejection of the preaching of Christ crucified, naming all who do such, “Satan.” Two opposing men are named. One man is the regenerated Son of God. The other man is the murderous son of rebellion and deception.

The keys were promised to only one man to be used in the office given to that one man. That man is Christ Jesus, who builds His Church by means of this office of the keys. The name Peter does not refer to Simon but to Jesus, into whom Simon was incorporated by the regeneration of faith through Baptism into Christ. This is the confession that Peter made, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus is Peter, and through faith Simon is regenerated and renamed to be Peter, too. Here Jesus names all who live by faith, Peter, for this is not revealed by flesh and blood, but by My Father who is in heaven. Whose Father? Ten chapters earlier Jesus tells His disciples that He is their Father so that as one man they should pray, “Our Father.” And so the many individual members are one, in Peter. Thus the keys are given to Peter and in Christ all are Peter and what belongs to Peter belongs to all.

As usual I don’t know when to shut up. Nevertheless, what do you think?

Not Alone +++ PAS said...

One more little thought...

When Peter rejected the preaching of Christ crucified, he stopped being Peter and became Satan. Ealier I said that the blasphemous rejection was Simon's, but Matthew records that Peter did this, and then Jesus no longer refers to him as either Peter or Simon, but Satan.

No wonder St. Paul writes:

Phil 2:12
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

In all things we are to be certain to whom we are joined as one.

No wonder St. Paul also admonished regarding the Holy Communion that we be certain to discern or judge the body (closed communion).

Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

Fr. Eckardt,
I wonder if Paul Mccain will criticize "notalone+++pas" for praising you.

I'm glad to see that others see what I see. Your insights are worth listening to so often that I cannot but say, "Please, keep them coming."

Take today's for example: I, for one, hadn't considered that the Aaronic blessing is directed toward "one" person. i.e., that it is in the singular. The reference you made to the ONE body of Christ, and the particular appropriateness of this blessing after Holy Communion once again deepen my respect for the received liturgy. The wealth of wisdom contained therein is astounding.

Anyway, thank you.

In Christ,
Fr. Daniel

Lawrence said...

I having another one of those "Ah Ha" moments from reading this blog.

Thanks Fr. Eckardt

Father Eckardt said...

OK all you guys, be sure to let McCain and the IRS know how much I paid you . . .

Jenn said...

Fr. Eckardt,

Heard about you enough on Loopers! Finally managed to get to your blog and see what they're talking about!!! WOW! Thanks, my Dh will be so thrilled that I found another wonderful source of information online to feed my computer addiction! :)

You've put into words so well why I miss the KJV in services! ;) Of course, not being enough of a linguist I never knew why! I'd say I "felt" I was right but Pr Kavouras would get mad for using the word! ;) :)

Blessings in Christ
Jenn - very much a lay woman!