Friday, 23 January 2015

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 17.

Jewish writers, the Talmud and other works give most exaggerated descriptions and stories relating to this beast. According to them, he was the greatest of the four footed animals which God made in the beginning, male and female. He killed the female, preserved her flesh for the elect at the coming of the Messiah; the male still lives and will be slaughtered for the Hebrew race, when they rise from the dead at the end of the world. They have many wild dreams of that kind regarding this animal.


The Lord spoke to Job of the leviathan 1 called in Hebrew Ivyathan "great water animal," the whale or other marine animal, which Job could not catch with a hook. 2
The flesh meat and the fishes on the Passover table figured the elephant and whale, signifying to the Hebrews one Assyria, the other Egypt, both ancient enemies of their fathers. But a careful reading of Job 3 shows that not only are these countries meant, but the demons, enemies of the human race. Job with his terrible skin disease, and his patience in sufferings, did not conquer the demons, who brought on him in his innocence all these sufferings, but he points to Christ, his skin torn off in his flagellation, dead for mankind, for he was to conquer the demons represented by these great Scripture beasts. In this sense Isaias foretells that "The Lord with his hard and great sword shall visit Leviathan, the bar-serpent, and Leviathan, the crooked serpent, and shall slay the whale which is in the sea" 4 showing that even with his strength and wicked wiles with which he deceived mankind in the Eden-serpent, he would be overthrown by the Redeemer, that is, his power broken.
At the time of Christ every act, every rite, every object and each ceremony brighter and clearer brought before them their Messiah foretold to come and die to atone for the world's wickedness, and bring back our race to innocence lost in Eden. But beyond the crucifixion, while lives our race, the story was to be continued in the Mass with its elaborate rite and ceremonial.
Christ's Last Supper and his death the next day were to fulfil, end, seal up Passover, Temple, Old Testament and all they foretold. But the last of the Hebrew inspired seers had revealed the rejection of the Jewish Temple and sacrifices because the Jewish priesthood would reject Christ, then he passed to the calling of the heathens, the offerings of the Christian priesthood, the Mass among the nations.
"I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will not receive a gift from your hand. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation, for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts." 5


Now let us see what the celebrated Jewish historian says about the Passover.
Josephus writes as follows: "When God had signified, that with one more plague, he would compel the Egyptians to let the Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the people that they should have a sacrifice ready, and that they should prepare themselves on the tenth day of the month Xanthus against the fourteenth, which month is called by the Egyptians Pharmuth, and Nisan by the Hebrews, but the Macedonians call it Xanthicus; and that he should carry away the Hebrews with all they had. Accordingly, having got the Hebrews ready for their departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he kept them together in one place. But when the fourteenth was come, and all were ready to depart, they offered the sacrifice, and purified the houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop for that purpose, and when they had supped they burnt the remainder of the flesh as just ready to depart. Whence it is that we still offer this sacrifice in like manner to this day, and call this festival Pascha, which signifies the feast of the Passover, because on that day God passed over us, and sent the plagues upon the Egyptians. For the destruction of the first-born came on the Egyptians that night, so that many of the Egyptians, who lived near the king's palace, persuaded Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. 6
"In the month of Xanthus, which by us is called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, for it was in this month we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians, the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice, which I before told you we slew, when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover. And so we celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following.


The feast of unleaven bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleaven bread, on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram and seven lambs," etc. 7
"So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast, which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices from the ninth hour to the eleventh, but that the company be not less than ten belong to every sacrifice, for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves, and many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand, five hundred, which upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two millions, seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons, that were pure and holy. For as to those who have leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice, nor indeed for any foreigners neither, who come hither to worship." 8
Now we will see how the Hebrew, of our day celebrate the Passover.
Rebelling against the threatened tyranny of Solomon's son, Roboam, more than a thousand years before Christ, the Samaritans separated from the Jews and worshiped in a temple of their own they built on Mt. Gerizim, in Samaria. It rivaled the holy Temple at Jerusalem. Separated in creed and religious matters from the Jews, looked on by the latter as "lower than pigs," a mutual hostility existed between the two religions all down the centuries to the time of Christ, and even down to our day. Last year (in 1903) the last family of pure Samaritan blood died out, about 250 members of mixed blood remain. This is the way the Samaritans held the Passover in modern times. Visiting Nablous in 1861, George Grove writes:


"The lambs, they require six now for the community, are roasted all together by stuffing them vertically, head downwards into an oven, which is like a small well about three feet in diameter and four or five feet deep, roughly seamed, in which a fire has been kept up for several hours. After the lambs are thrust in, the top of the hole is covered with bushes and earth to continue the heat till they are done. Each lamb has a stake or spit run through him to draw him up by. To prevent the spit from tearing away through the roasted flesh, a cross-piece is put through the lower end of it." 9 The writer did not observe that the two sticks formed a cross. The cross-stick opened out the ribs as seen today in butcher-shops all over the world.
With King Edward VII., then Prince of Wales, in 1862, at the Passover, Dean Stanley came to Samaria. On the top of Gerizim had assembled 152 persons, last of the Samaritans. The women were shut up in tents, the men assembled near the summit of the rocky heights of their sacred mountain. Fifteen men and six youths, priests and Levites, were clothed in sacred vestments, the other men were dressed in holiday attire.
"Half an hour before sunset they all gathered about a long trench, assumed the oriental posture of prayer, and led by a priest began the devotions, reciting in loud voices the Passover service and the account of the Passover given in the Bible.
"The six young men mentioned before came driving six sheep into the assembly. When the sun had nearly set, the recitation became more violent, and the history of the Hebrews going out of Egypt, the slaying of the lamb as given in Exodus, were sung more rapidly, and in a higher key. As soon as the sun had touched the western hills, the youths paused, threw the sheep on their backs, and with sacrificial knives cut their throats. They dipped their fingers in the blood, put it on their own noses and foreheads, and on all the others, including the children. The wool was then taken off and the bodies of the lambs washed in boiling water, the recitation continuing all the time.
"They wrapped bitter herbs in strips of unleaven bread, and passed the morsels to each in the meeting. After a short prayer, the young men skinned the lambs, they took off the right fore legs, and with the entrails burned them. They put back the liver into the carcase.


Then down along the backbone they ran a stake, and with another stick opened out the ribs forming a cross. They carried the victims to an oven-like hole in the ground, in which a fire had been kindled, thrust the bodies of the lambs into this, sealed up the mouth with hurdles, sticks and wet earth, and left them for five hours to roast.
"Sometime before midnight, they assembled again for the feast. The hole being suddenly opened, a cloud of steam and smoke burst out, and they took out the roasted lambs each still impaled, each one on his cross. Rolling them in mats, they carried them to the first trench, between the two lines of Samaritans.
"The fifteen priests and youths clothed in vestments, now provided themselves with shoes, gird their waists with ropes for girdles, and hold staffs in their hands. Then all began the prayers. Suddenly they sat on the ground beside the trench, the roasted lambs between them. They tore away the flesh with their fingers, and rapidly and silently they consumed it, sending portions to the absent. In ten minutes the flesh was all eaten. Then they gathered the remains, all the bones and leavings, into the mats and burned them, searching carefully for every morsel. Then they returned to their dwellings."
Three thousand years ago Samaritans separated from Hebrew monarchy and religion and founded their own schismatic synagogue. Down these ages, mutual hatred between Jerusalem and Samaria was so deep they would hardly speak to each other. The woman at the well was surprised when Christ asked her for a drink of water. 10 From the Samaritan Passover we have described, although it seems grotesque and peculiar, we can judge how they celebrated it in the days of David and Solomon.
The place is chosen outside the gates. 11 Many were the sacrifices they offered outside the camp to foretell Christ crucified outside the walls of the city.
The men alone, the women excluded, offered the lambs, 12 for men only were to be ordained to the priesthood. 12 The time the lamb was killed was in the evening at the going down of the sun, 13 for at that time Christ died.


The Passover was held at night, before the midnight hour, then Christ celebrated the Last Supper, and just before midnight he was arrested. 14
They ate it with unleaven bread and bitter herbs the Hebrews call wild lettuce. 15 The way it was roasted, 16 the careful exclusion of foreigners and the women, 17 the haste with which the supper was eaten, 18 and the vestments, heads covered, staffs in their hands, the care to consume all, the burning of the leavings and bones that night, 19 the return to their dwellings before morning 20 show us how it was celebrated in days of Hebrew kings.
The Levites, the young men, sacrificed the lamb and gave the blood to the priests. 21 They skinned the animal, 22 the crucifixion of the lambs, the recitation of the Passover history in Exodus, prayers and liturgy—all show they come down from times before the separation of the Samaritans from the Hebrews.
In the square before the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on Holy Saturday in 1903, the writer sat, talking with an Englishman and his guide about their' journey down to Jericho and the Dead Sea. The guide remarked: "The Jews are going to celebrate their Passover to-night." "Yes, I will come for you at the Caza Nova about six." But he did not come. Engaging another "dragoman" we started for the store of an American born Jew, formerly an officer in our army, who had resigned and went to the land of his forefathers. "I know where he lives," said the guide. We started in a carriage out the Joppa Gate, down to the west, through new streets, where dwells nearly as large a population as that within the walls of Jerusalem; we found the American in the act of locking his house on his way to attend the feast.
"Yes, I will take you to see the Passover," he said after the introduction. "Why did I leave the States and come here? Well, there is something about this land that attracts me. The old associations. The history of my people is wonderful in my eyes. But I don't like the way they do things—the deep divisions, prejudices, religious hatred, which divide Jews and Gentiles. There is something I cannot understand.


A man crucified nearly 2,000 years ago has divided the religious world ever since. Here we find it in all its intensity. How one man could do that we cannot see. There is something mysterious in the whole thing. Come."
We hurried to the house of the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He did not live in a grand palace, as did Joseph Caiphas that fatal night when Jesus Christ was brought before him. His home was a hovel—it was a rookery in the Jewish quarters outside the walls. The Jews are poor and persecuted in the land of their fathers. All the glory of Israel has passed away as the prophets foretold.
But we forgot the surroundings, when we stood in the presence of this venerable personage. Tall, well-built, thin, of fine features, intellect written in every lineament, the blood of kings, prophets and seers of the chosen race flowing in his veins—he looked like another Abraham. With patriarchal welcome, he met us at the door clothed in flowing robes of light mauve, the exact cut and form of the Catholic priest's cassock. A kind and gentle dignity flowed from his form, lighted up by candles still burning on the table, as he told us in fine French that he had just finished the Passover. He would be pleased to let us see the feast, but it was now over, and all the guests had gone.
We went to another house. No, he would not let us see the Passover. He did not object himself, but his wife did. The table was all prepared, they were just going to sit down. We talked with his wife, offered any amount of money, used every argument. "No. The Christians of Port Said, Egypt, reported last year, that the Jews killed a Christian girl, and used her blood at the feast, and the story created a riot, in which Jews were killed, and she had made a vow that never would she allow a Christian at her table." We went to the Jerusalem Hotel kept by Jews and they refused.
It was getting late; the American Jew would not ride in the carriage, but walked along beside, for they will not ride on the Sabbath. After it got dark when the Sabbath ended, he got in, and we hurried back to the city, drove up the long David Street, by David's Tower, and stopped at the street leading between two houses, where on one corner St. James lived while bishop of Jerusalem, the other corner being the site of the house of St. Thomas the apostle.


Here we dismissed the carriage and went through the narrow street east about two blocks. We were on the top of Sion, not far from the Cenacle.
Mounting outside stone steps like those leading up to the Cenacle, we found ourselves in a large room about twenty by fifteen feet, with a long table in the center covered with a white table-cloth. The dish of roasted lamb, bitter herbs, three cakes of unfermented bread, and other things for the Passover were on the table.
"Yes," said the master in French after the introduction. "I like Americans. I have a brother in business on Broadway, New York. The Americans do not persecute the Hebrews. You are welcome. Keep on your hats. Come and sit at the table. You say you cannot take part in a religious feast, but as a guest of the house. You want to see the ceremonial Moses established —all right, we are glad you came."
He was a young man of about thirty-three or thirty-five years of age, and twelve Jews sat with him at the table. The American-born Jew sat at the writer's right hand instructing him while taking notes. The master of the house sat at the head of the table. At his right sat his wife next to him, then the writer with the ex-officer. The other guests took their places at both sides of the table. The men held the Liturgy of the Passover in their hands. While the master sung the words they followed him, repeating the words with him, as the priests when being ordained do when the bishop says the Mass of ordination.
On the table burned fifteen candles and lamps. Two vases held flowers, a plate with the three unleaven cakes was at the master's right hand, near by were two bottles of Palestine wine, one having white and the other red. At each guest's place was a glass-tumbler for the wine. In the middle of the table, but in front of the master, was a dish of roasted lamb and beef with little fishes. Other dishes had bitter herbs, vinegar mixed with salt, the chaggiah, cucumber, eggs and other dishes of the Passover.
Sitting at the table, each rested the left elbow on a little cushion in remembrance of the reclining position of the time of Christ.


While reading the Liturgy, they swayed their bodies back and forth, as customary with Jews during synagogue service. The feast began at 8.30 and lasted till 10.45, having three sections—that is, two intervals of rest, during which the conversation became general, the master smoking cigarettes and talking to the writer.
They first washed their hands, and then filled their glasses with wine, the women performing this function. The master sang the prayers of blessing over the wine while all held their glasses, after which they drank the first cup. Then the master blessed the lights. The master cuts the cucumber with blessing, dips the bitter herbs in the vinegar, and passes them to all the guests. Then they again wash their hands, and recite the prayer of blessing over the fruit of the earth.
Taking up the bread, the master says: "This is the bread of affliction our fathers ate in Egypt," etc. The words are shouted, as back and forth they sway, the words coming like an explosion, a sing-song of sounds, the last words of each sentence being prolonged.
"The Liturgy," said the Jew beside the writer, "comes down from the Second Temple, from the time of Zedekiah. 23 It is written in the old Hebrew of Esdras, as that of Moses was lost. But the ceremony goes back to the time of Moses."
At this part of the ceremony the master broke off a piece of the unfermented bread, rolled it around some bitter herbs, dipped the morsel in the vinegar, and handed it to the writer, saying, "Take this as a mark of friendship." This was always done when a stranger sat at the table, down from the time of Moses. This was the "sop" the Lord handed to Judas. When John asked, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped, and when he had dipped he gave it to Judas Iscariot." 24
When they read that part relating to the ten plagues God sent on the Egyptians, each guest dips his finger in the wine, and lets a drop fall on the floor. Then they drank the second cup of wine, the first section ends, and the conversation becomes general.


The first part of the second section begins by washing the hands, using the water from a flagon on the table. They bring on the dish of fishes. The master takes the cake from the plate before him, and breaks it into two equal parts, as the celebrant of the Mass breaks the Host, while the Jew says to the writer: "These cakes must be made of purest flour, ground of wheat sowed for that purpose, gathered during day-time, thrashed and ground by Jews with great care, and made into unleaven cakes."
Soup, with unleaven cakes broken into it, is now passed around, each guest having a plate of it placed before him, while from the Liturgy forming the Hallel they sing the Psalms. 25 The master then covered the cakes with a napkin, as the celebrant covers the patin with the purificator during Mass. He placed a prayer-shawl on the shoulders of the youngest guest, handed him the plate holding the broken half cake, and this young man held the plate with the bread covered with the end of the shawl till towards the end of the feast, when he brought it to the master as the subdeacon holds the paten covered with the benediction veil during a High Mass. This ended the second section.
The third section opened with the prayers of thanks. All begin the chant together, the master leading, the twelve Jews becoming more vociferous, all united in the one mighty thanksgiving unto God. At the end of this prayer, they all drank the third cup of wine. One went and opened the closed door, which remained opened the rest of the service. A Jew took a filled glass of wine and placed it on the threshold for Elias, the forerunner of the Messiah, 26 while the prayer for the coming of the Redeemer was recited. This cup of wine remained on the doorstep till the end. They did not know that John the Baptist, filled with the spirit of the foretold Elias, had already come as the forerunner of the Christ.
The swaying of the bodies, the singing of the prayers, the shouting of the words, become still more vehement as they together say the thanksgiving prayers of the Liturgy. Back and forth, from side to side, they move in a kind of movement imparted to the whole body, as they said, so that even their "bones might praise the Lord."


They sing, "We beseech Thee, O Lord, to save us,' like Hosanna, and "Bless Jerusalem," which word they pronounced as though spelled Barushlaym.
The master made a motion, took the cake hidden by the prayer-shawl on the shoulders of the young man, broke off and ate a part, and gave a portion to each guest. He drank some wine, handed his cup of wine to each at the table, "and they all drank from it." Then they sang the hymn mentioned in the Gospel sung by Christ and his Apostles. 27 This hymn, which will be found in the Passover Service, was more regular and musical than the other prayers. They seemed to throw their whole soul into it. The Hebrew, in which it is written, is as regular as a mathematical table. The master first intoned the hymn, following more regular musical notes, and the company responded in the nasal intonation peculiar to the Oriental, with rising and falling intonation. This closed the feast.
We rose, thanked them all, shook hands, and passed out into the night. Thoughts went back to that Last Supper in the upper chamber of the Cenacle, but a little distance from where we were then in this upper chamber of Sion, when the Lord and his Apostles celebrated the Passover according to this ceremonial, and changed this Jewish rite into the Mass. "And when they had sung a hymn, they went forth to the Mount of Olives." 28 We have given the ceremonial of the Passover as followed today in Samaria and Jerusalem, let us now see what that peculiar work, the Talmud, says of the feast at the time of Christ.

1 Job xl. 41.

Job. xl. 20.

3 chap. xl.

4 Isaias xxvii. 1.

5 Malachias i. 10-11.

6 Josephus, Antiq., B. ii,, chapter xiv. n. 6.

7 Josephus Antiq., B. iii., chapter x. n. 5; B. xiv., chapter ii. n. 2, etc.

8 Josephus, Wars, B. vi., chapter ix. n. 3.

9 Smith Dic. of Bible, Vol. III, p. 2344, note.

10 John iv. 9.

11 Levit. ix. 11, etc.

12 Deut. xvi. 16.

13 Deut. xvi. 6.

14 Deut. xii. 26-27.

15 Exod. xii. 8.

16 Exod. xii. 8-9.

17 Exod. xiii. 43.

18 Exod, xii. 11.

19 Exod. xii. 10.

20 Exod. xii. 22.

21 II. Par. xxx. 16.

22 II. Par. xxxv. 11.

23 Jeremy xxxviii.

24 John xiii. 25,26.

25 Psalms cxiii., cxiv., cxv., cxvii.

26 Malach. iv. 5.

27 Matt. xxvi. 30; Mark xiv. 26.

28 Mark xiv. 26.