Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


επισυναγωγης - This nifty little word was one of the major foci of my homily today.

But, it didn't become the focus until I had first highlighted the fact that Saint Paul tells us not to be "alarmed" or "shaken out of your mind" by various people preaching false gospels or false traditions. "We can benefit from Saint Paul's words today," said I (okay, this is a paraphrase), "especially when we hear popular people, sometimes popular politicians making odd claims that do not resonate with the traditions handed down to us. Indeed, the Church may have differed on when the soul enters the body of the baby within the mother's womb, but it has always decried abortion of the growing baby from the moment of conception." Of course, the word "conception" may not have always been used, but the substance of the teaching would be the same. A helpful little note on this whole issue can be read here by His Excellency Archbishop Charles Chaput (and his auxiliary bishop James Conley). BTW (ugh, I hate those shortened... whatever you call them; By the way), the good Archbishop has a new book out which is apparently receiving quite the praise and is quite worthwhile: Render Unto Caesar.

Anyhow, so on with the homily. That Greek word at the beginning is pronounced: ep-ee-soon-a-go-gace. Translated, it is "assembly." Usually, it is used not only in reference to a group of people who happen to be gathered, but Biblically refers specifically to the elect of God being gathered for liturgical ceremony. For us, this is the Mass. Oddly, Saint Paul in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians (from which we read today) implies that when Christ comes again at his final, second coming, we shall be "assembled" (επισυναγωγης) with him. It shall be liturgy; it shall be the Mass.

This is a fairly popular belief in the history of our Church that heaven will be the Mass, lived for eternity. Anyhow. So, I talked about this word "assembly," "qahal" from Hebrew. I talked about Moses and the "assembly" of the people when he came down from Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments. They held an assembly, made sacrifice, and then Moses sprinkled the people with blood to ratify the covenant thus offered by the LORD. We, too, are assembled and sprinkled with blood as we come to Mass and receive the Lord's very own body and his blood. We are sprinkled and our interior man is cleansed, "the inside of the cup is washed." We prepare ourselves at every Mass and we anticipate that final coming of Christ when we shall be finally cleansed and gathered with him, as his assembly.

Well, apparently I spoke too much about the assembly and the people who gather. Afterwards in the sacristy, a good priest friend (whose empty rectory at his second parish I'm staying at) derided me, "Oh, you know what I'm going to be singing all day! 'Gather your people, O Lord.' and 'Gather us in, the lost and forsaken. Gather us in, the blind and the lame...'" If you didn't read it or don't remember, these songs (the former by Bob Hurd and the latter by Marty Haugen) have received their just desert from our very own Dcn. Tyler.


Adoro te Devote said...

Well, maybe I have a remedy to the show-tunes that so bother you:


I'm actually planning a Holy Week Mass that incorporates "Macavity" hi-ligthting Judas the betrayar (Iscariot, Iscariot, there's no one like Iscariot. He's a fiend in human shape, the monster of depravity..."

So just consider how bad it could be! You could be humming "Gather Us In" from Haugen's Mass on Broadway, or "I'm so Pretty" from...Broadway on the Mass!

(Or you could just ban me from posting....)

Deacon Gregory. said...

Hey Adoro, if you have song-writing talent, I hope you are taking seriously the request I implicitly made here and the U.S. Bishops, as well as the Vatican, have made explicitly here and here. Namely, that in the work of implementing the new Mass Translation, adequate musical settings be devised such that the new translation may "bear abundant fruit in the vibrant and authentic worship of the Church."

If you don't have the ability, perhaps the occasional commenter Quantitative Metathesis does!

Seriously, though, we are in need of good, sacred music which does not, as even Thomas Merton once said and Fr. John Neuhaus quotes in his Catholic Matters (which I can only paraphrase from memory since I'm away from my books), "expose our passions to the blades of cheap thrill."

Deacon Gregory. said...

oops. That should be Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

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