Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Misunderstanding the Pharisees

I have participated in many an online discussion on liturgical anamolies.  It always amuses me when folks start playing the Pharisee card when others, like the undersigned, point out that these liturgical oddities should not be happening during the Mass.  Before we start comparing folks to this group or accusing them of acting in a pharisaical manner, it's best to know a little bit about who these individuals were.

The Pharisees had their start during the Babylonian Exile. They understood that Ancient Israel was in such bad straits was because she kept violating the Mosaic law time and time again and ignoring the prophetic warnings. All we have to do is listen to the readings at daily Mass for this week.

Their solution was to impose a hedge around the law to help keep Ancient Israel from violating it. They also decided to adopt the priestly practices and impose them on the people. While they had the best of intentions, they did not have the best idea.

What Jesus opposed was their adaptation. Jesus never had any issues whatsoever with the cultic worship of Ancient Israel because these norms were dictated directly by God, Himself and they foreshadowed Jesus' own sacrifice, which was its fulfillment.  When he saw liturgical abuse, as in the money changers and vendors turning the Court of the Gentiles (an area of prayer in the temple) into a marketplace, Jesus cleared everyone out.

So, when we accuse people of acting like the Pharisees we need to know a little bit about the group before we start engaging in name-calling.

No comments:

Post a Comment