Monday, 23 February 2015

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 28.


Before the Babylonian Captivity the people of Palestine spoke the pure Hebrew called Leshon Hakkodesh, "Holy Language, or Leshon Chakamim," "Language, of the Learned." But during the seventy years of exile they mixed Hebrew with Babylonian words, and when they returned, the common people spoke the Syro-Chaldaic, which some writers call the Aramean language.1 After the Greek conquest, many Greek words Avere adopted. When the Romans came they introduced numerous Latin terms, so that at the time of Christ a mixture of languages prevailed, especially in Galilee, meaning "The Circle of the Gentiles," from Gelil, "Circle," and Haggoyin, "Gentiles." This part of Palestine was so rich that it was called "the udder of the land," and many Gentile families who had settled there broke down the isolation of the Jew. Hence Christ converted many Galileans and chose his apostles from them, Judas, Caiphas' nephew, being the only strict Jew among them. 2
The sermons of these ancient preachers come down to us under the name of the Targums and Midrashes. But they made no change in the ancient Hebrew of Moses and Temple, and synagogue services even to our day remain in the pure Hebrew, which only the learned Jews now understand. People who find fault because Mass is said in Latin, Greek, and tongues the people do not understand, do not realize that Christ worshiped in the synagogues where the services were in a dead language. 3
Within the sanctuary, before the ark containing the holy Scrolls, hung an ever-burning lamp, fed with olive oil, reminding them of the Shekina, "a cloud by day and a fire by night," in the tabernacle and first Temple. This lamp is now seen in our sanctuary lamp before the Blessed Sacrament. Along the two sides of the sanctuary were seats for the officers who carried out the services for the kneseth, "the congregation." These seats are seen in the seats and stalls of our churches. In wealthy synagogues these seats were very finely carved and ornamented, as are the stalls of cathedrals, and the large churches of Europe. Let us give the following from the Babylonian Talmud:
"Who has not seen the diplostoa, 'double portico,' of Alexandria in Egypt, has not seen the glory of Israel. It was said it was a great Basilica, 'palace with colonnades,' and the palace could contain twice the number of men who went out from Egypt.


There were seventy-one cathedras, 'armchairs with footstools,' for the seventy-one sages of the Great Sanhedrin, and each cathedra was made of no less than twenty-one myriads of talents of gold. And a wooden Bema was in the middle of the palace, were the hassan or sexton of the congregation stood with a flag in his hand, and when the time came in the prayer to respond 'Amen,' he raised the flag, and the whole people said 'Amen.' And they did not sit promiscuously, but separately. The golden chairs were separate, and silver chairs were separate, smiths sat separately, carpenters separately and all of the different trades sat separately, and when a poor man went in, he recognized who his fellow-tradesmen were and went to them, and thus got work for the support of himself and his family. 4 The account says that Alexander of Macedon killed all of them, because they broke the command, 5 which forbade the Israelites to return to Egypt.
"The court of the women was formerly without a balcony, but they surrounded it with a balcony, and ordained that the women should sit above, and the men below. Formerly the women sat in inward chambers, and the men in outer ones, but thereby was produced much levity, and it was ordained that the men should sit inwardly, and the women outwardly. But still levity arose, and therefore it ordained that the women should sit above and the men below." 6
The account then treats of the two Messiahs they thought the prophets foretold, one to be born of Joseph's tribe, who would be the suffering Messiah, quoting prophecies of his sufferings and death relating to Christ, and the other the glorious Messiah, born of David's family, who was to come in triumph and establish his kingdom over all the earth, ending with these words "And the Lord showed me four carpenters. 7 Who are the four carpenters? The Messiah son of David, and the Messiah son of Joseph, Elias, and the Priest Zedec." 8
The word "carpenters" in the original Hebrew in the Douay version is "smiths," but in the King James version it is "carpenters." Thus it was handed down in these Jewish traditions that the Messiah would be a carpenter. The Gospels and writings of that time tell us that Christ worked as a carpenter before he began his public life.


A railing, copied from the golden lamps forming a balustrade between the priests' Court and Holies of the Temple, separated the sanctuary of the synagogue from the nave occupied by the people. This was the origin of the altar railing in our churches.
On your right within the sanctuary, was a great candlestick with seven lamps, modeled after the famous one of gold in the Temple, called the Tsemath, "The Branch." It reminded them of the "Branch" of David's family, the Messiah, "The Anointed," "The Christ," foretold to come filled with the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Ghost, 9 and fill the world with heavenly truth, effulgent rays, the teachings of his Gospel. They thought he was to found a matchless kingdom extending over all the earth. The Scribes, Pharisees and Rabbis thought that only the Jews would be rulers in this kingdom.
From the days of Moses, they kept in the Temple the Yachas, "genealogies," birth and marriage records of Aaron's family, which they consulted when electing the high priest and inferior clergy. 10 Following this in each, synagogue they kept careful records of births, marriages, deaths and confirmations of boys. The local Sanhedrin or court, found wherever 120 families lived, kept these records. Sts. Matthew and Luke could have therefore found Christ's genealogy, recorded in their Gospels, in the synagogues of Bethlehem and Nazareth. Whence come down in parish churches, records of births, deaths, confirmations, funerals, etc.
The synagogue teacher, the Darshan, was called Rabbi, Rabban, or Rabboni. The word rab in the Babylonian language means "lord" or "master." Thus Nabuzardan is called rab tabachim, "master of the army." 11 Assuerus placed a rab or "master" to preside over each table at his great feast. 12 Asphenez was rab 13 of the eunuchs. A rab of the saganim, "satrap," was the ruler of each province, and a rab of the chartiunim was "chief of those who interpreted dreams." 14


The first to be called Rabbi was a son of that Hillel who was so famous as the founder of the Beth Hillel, "School of Hillel." This son was, according to some, that holy Simeon, who took the Child Jesus in his hands when presented in the Temple. The title Rabbi was not generally used before Herod the Great. 15
The president of a school or college was a cacham,  "sage" or "doctor." When he became famous as a teacher he was a cabar rabbin "companion of masters," who decided disputes about the Law, 16 married people, granted divorces, lectured, presided over large synagogues, punished the wicked and could excommunicate. 17
These learned Rabbis went around the country preaching and gathering disciples to the number of twelve, as the high priest was served by twelve priests in his Temple ministry, in memory of the twelve sons of Jacob, fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. This custom Christ followed when lie traveled over Judea with his twelve apostles.
John the Baptist from the day he was confirmed at twelve till he was thirty, lived in the desert. Then following the customs of the Rabbis, he gathered disciples round him—many of them followed Christ after John had pointed him out to them as the "Lamb of God" who was to take away the sins of the world. 18
Besides the twelve immediate followers, these Rabbis had seventy-two followers, images of Noe's grandsons, fathers and founders of the nations. 19 Often wealthy ladies followed these Rabbis to learn the Law and wait on them. 20 Bands of Jews, each led by a Rabbi, used to come up to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, thus great crowds followed Jesus to the Temple on Palm Sunday.


Christ was known by names applied to these Rabbis. The Greek of the Gospels shows us the names they called him. He or calls himself—didaskalos: "teacher," Matt. x. 24, xxvi. 18; kathegetes: "leader," "guide," in the sense of Rabbi, Matt, xxiii. 8-10; grammateus, "scribe," "learned," "a lawyer," Matt, xiii. 52. He is called—didaskalos: "master-teacher," Matt. viii. 19, ix. 11, xii. 38, xvii. 23, xxii. 24; rabbi: "great man," "teacher," Matt. xxvi. 25-49; Mark xiv. 45, ix. 4, xi. 21; John i. 38-49. iii. 2, 26, iv. 31, vi. 25-92; rabboni: "my rabbi," "my lord," Mark x. 51; John xx. 16. Rabbi, "my Master," or "my Lord," was first given to religious teachers in the time of Herod the Great, 21 when Rabbis got the most extravagant ideas of their importance.22 In his Gospel St. Luke uses the Greek Didaskalos as the equivalent of Rab or Rabbi, "My Lord," applied many times to Christ. The lowest order of the Rabbis was the Rab, then the Rabbi, and the highest the Rabboni, titles coming down in the Church as Rev., Very Rev., and Rt. Rev., applied to spiritual rulers. The English is "My Lord," the French Monseigneur, the Italian Monsignor, etc., a title applied to bishops in Europe. It is the equivalent of the title they addressed to Christ in these days, when it was not respectful to call a teacher by his own name. 23
The Pharisees, Scribes and Rabbis liked to be called "Father" as priests are addressed today. But they had so exaggerated their own importance, and abused the title, that Christ told his apostles to call "God their Father in heaven, and Christ their Father on earth." 24 The custom of calling a priest or bishop "Father" comes down from this title our Lord applied to himself.
No one would listen to a Rabbi before he was ordained with the laying on of the hands of the Rabbis in his thirtieth year. If he began to preach before that time all would laugh at him. That is the reason Jesus lived in private, working as a carpenter at Nazareth after Joseph's death, supporting his widowed Mother till he was in his thirtieth year.


Then he called members of the band of John the Baptist and fishermen of Galilee to be his followers, selecting from these his twelve apostles. For more than three years they wandered over Judea like many bands led by the Rabbis of that time.
On the hillsides and valleys, in the streets of villages, where night overtook them they said the Temple and synagogue prayers, after which they spread the two blankets and straw each carried in a basket, and with a stone for a pillow like Jacob 25 they slept beside the sacred form of Jesus Christ.
Why did the Lord spend his public life wandering from place to place? He wanted to train his apostles like soldiers, accustom them to hardships, drill them by a severe novitiate, harden their muscles, strengthen their wills, that they might be prepared later to travel through the nations while preaching his Gospel, and to enable them to stand all kinds of trials and hardships, even martyrdom destined for them all, except St. John. 26
Judea was then densely populated, and the Rabbis with their bands used to pass through country and city followed by crowds of people. When they entered a town the whole population turned out. In country districts the Rabbi often sat on a high rock, or on the top of a hill or mountain, as Christ did when he delivered the sermon on the mount. The Rabbi placed his most advanced scholars at his feet, surrounding him like the apostles around Christ, the hearers less advanced below them, like the seventy-two disciples below the apostles and the people lower down sitting on mats or on the ground.
Great honor the children offered the teacher Rabbi of the Beth-ham-Midrasch, "School House." He whispered his words, which an advanced scholar spoke so that all the scholars could hear. 27 The Jews of that time told their children, "Rub yourselves in the dust of the feet of your teachers." Children used to wash the feet of their teachers as a mark of love and veneration. To show them his love, Christ reversed the custom when he washed the apostles' feet at the Last Supper.


The Jews claim thirteen classes of Rabbis—teachers,— Moses, Josue, Eleazar, llie Seventy men Moses chose to aid him in the government, the Judges, the members of the Sanhedrin of that epoch, the Prophets, the twenty-six great teachers after the Captivity, the Thanaim mentioned in the Talmudic Mishna, the Amoraims who commented on the Mishna, the Giours "Excellent Doctors," the Seboreens, "Doubters," and lastly the Gaons, teachers of our day.
The Rabbis, called Maggid, went through the country teaching in the synagogues, each followed by his band of disciples. "Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all diseases and infirmities among the people." 28
"And when he was departed from thence, he came into the synagogue." 29 "And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues." 30 "And on the Sabbath day going into the synagogue he taught them." 31 Eight other texts of the Gospels say he went into the synagogues, taught and performed miracles before the assembled Jews. His sermon relating to eating his Body and drinking his Blood was preached in a synagogue of Capharnaum, 32 "village of the prophet Nalium," the word meaning "the comforter."
One Rabbi presided over a small synagogue. But large flourishing congregations were ruled by a college of twelve Rabbis, 33 called in Hebrew parnasim and in Greek presbyteri: "aged men." The presbyters, first mentioned in Esdras, 34 are found twenty-four times in the Bible, translated as "elders" in the King James Bible and as "ancients" in the Douay version. The ruler or chairman of this senate the Greeks called the archisynagogos "ruler of the synagogue." He governed the congregation, took care of the building and property, and could punish unruly members with the pain of Kareth "cut off," "excommunication." This senate was an image of the high priest with his twelve priests, who carried out the Temple ceremonial.
Christ acted as a Rabbi during his public life, twelve times this name is applied to him in the Gospel, and when he chose his twelve apostles, he followed Temple and synagogue custom. The apostles founded dioceses, "residence" or "administration," among the nations, as Judea was divided into districts with a synagogue in each, with these twelve rulers at its head.


In every city they ordained twelve priests, called presbyters, over whom they placed a bishop, "superintendent," to rule the church with its senate of twelve priests, similar to the constitution of the Jewish Church. In the early Church we find only the diocese. The parish took its rise in Rome, when the city was divided into districts in the days of Peter. Alexandria soon followed, the other cities copied, but the country parishes with a priest as pastor over each were not founded till the twelfth century.
In the days of Christ the archisynagogos was always an ordained Rabbi, as were the members of the senate, or parnasim. But in later times a layman might occupy the position and now he is called the "president of the congregation," or the rich-hac-ceneseth, "ruler-of-the-meeting-house." He called the members to meet, presided at all meetings, sat in the Bema during the services, invited preachers, called up the seven men to read the Law, and looked after business matters. The Rabbi had little to say in the finances, but looked after the doctrines of Judaism. 35
An important official of the synagogue was the sheliach in Hebrew, or apostolos in Greek, meaning "to be sent." The apostle carried the collections taken up in Babylonia and Jewish colonies of the Roman empire to Jerusalem for the support of the Temple, with the half shekels each Jew was obliged to give every year for the expenses of religion—the Temple and its sacrifices. 36
The Temple priests also sent each year apostles from Jerusalem to the different synagogues of the world to bring greetings from their brethren in Judea, and to see that the synagogue worship was rightly observed in these distant lands. 37 When therefore Christ's followers went forth from Jerusalem into the nations to preach the Gospel to the heathens they were called apostles, both name and mission being well known in Judaism long before Christ.


Each synagogue had a committee of seven "standing men," who used to fast sometimes four times a Aveek, from Monday till Thursday inclusive. On Sabbath the standing men read the Bible sections commencing: "In the beginning God created," etc; 38 on Monday they read, "Let there be a; firmament," etc.; on Tuesday, "Let the waters," etc. 39 ; on Wednesday, "Let there be lights," etc 40 ; on Thursday, "Let the earth bring forth, etc., 41 and on Friday, "Thus were finished," etc. 42
"The long section was read by two persons, and the short by one, this was done however during the morning, and during the additional prayers, but in the afternoon they entered the synagogue, and recited the sections by heart, as the Shema is recited. On Friday they did not go to the synagogue at all in honor of the Sabbath." 43
These men were called up into the Bema or sanctuary of the synagogue to read the sections of the Scripture. It is called reading the Scrolls of the Law. In synagogues of our day, on Passover and holidays they read five, on Passover before feast and on Sabbath seven lessons from the Law, and one from the Prophets. The Rabbi and Hassan also each read one section making nine lessons. This was the origin of the nine lessons of the Matins. The lessons of Holy Week like those of the Jews have no "Command, Lord bless," etc., as the lessons of the ordinary offices. 44
The seven men who read the Law were the leading members of the congregation, and sometimes they looked after widows, orphans and the poor. When the apostles selected and ordained the seven deacons, they followed the ancient custom of the synagogue. 45 The reader was called the Maphtir 46 and was classed with Moses, the patriarchs and prophets.
Temple priests and Levites were born of Aaron's and Levi's family, but anyone could become a Rabbi. Therefore Christ chose his apostles and disciples not from among the Temple priests but among the Galileans without doing violence to custom. The Rabbi when a boy attended the school of his native place, and went up to Jerusalem to finish his studies. The conditions and talents were the same as St. Paul lays down for the selection of a bishop.' Before they ordained him he had to be learned, active, father of a family, apt to teach, a good singer, and not engaged in business. These are still required for Rabbis of our day.

1 Migne, Cursus Comp. ii. 1346; Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 10, 130.

2 Edersheim, Sketches, 40.

3 See Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ, i. 529 to 600, etc.

4 Babyl.Talmud, Tract Succah, c.v.

Deut. xvii. 16.

6 Talmud Babyl. Succah, 78. See Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 58 to 64.

Zach. i. 20.

8 Succah, 79 to 82.

9 Isaias ii. 1. 2. 3: Zach. iii. 8. 9, vi. 12

10 Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 9; Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 51.

11 IV. Kings xxv. 8.

12 Esther i. 3.

13 Dan. i. 3.

14 Dan. i. 2.

15 Geikie, Life Christ, i. 6, 26, 77, 169, 170, 215 to 248, etc.

16 Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ, iii. 1189.

17 Geikie, Life of Christ, ii., p 178. See Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 11.

18 John i. 29,

19 Gen. 10. See Edersheim, Life of Christ, ii. 135 to 142.

20 Luke xxiii, 27.

21 See Palestine in the Time of Christ, 305.

22 Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 69-70-; ii. 19, 20,161; ii. 585, etc.; Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ iii. 1189,

23 Nork. 192.

24 Matt, xxiii. 9, 10.

25 Gen. xxviii. 18.

26 John xxi. 22.

27 See Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 231 to 235.

28 Matt. ix. 35.

29 Matt. xii. 9.

30 Matt. xiii. 54.

31 Mark i 21..

32 John vi. 60.

33 See Geikie, Life of Christ, ii. 595.

34 I. Esdras vi. 8.

35 Mark v. 22, 35, 36, 38; Luke viii. 41, xiii. 14; Acts xviii. 8-17; Edersheim, L C, i. 63.

36 Migne, Cursus Comp. S .Scripturæ, ii. 1328.

37 Migne, Cursus Comp. S .Scripturæ, iii. 828, 829.

38 Gen. i. 1 to 5.

39 Gen. i. 6.

40 i. 14.

41 i. 24.

42 ii. 1 to 4.

43 Talmud, Taanith, cap. iv. 79-81, 62, 63, etc.

44 See Babylonian Talmud, Cap. iv. for regulations regarding "Standing men." The Babylonian Talmud, Megilla, "Book of Esther," gives minute directions regarding the ceremonies of reading the Sacred Books.

45 Acts 6.

46 See Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ. iii. 967.