Saturday, 28 February 2015

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 31.


Prayers to the Saints in Church services were copied from the Jewish Church at the time of Christ.
The New York Ghetto has many queer trades, one of them being the saying of the Kaddish for the repose of the souls of the dead. Sons or members of the family say them morning, afternoon and evening, every day for a year after the funeral, as long as a male member of the deceased lives. The Kaddish must be recited in a congregation of minyan "ten or more men" in synagogue, or house. If no male issue survives, a professional band of Kaddish prayers are paid to say the prayers.
Often Jews on their deathbed make provision by leaving money for "a Kaddish of their own," as Christians leave bequests for Masses for their souls. Usually a friend of the sick is appointed to see that these prayers are said, and he is specially remembered in the will. This provision for prayers for the repose of the soul is the pious wish of every Jew.
The professional Kaddish sayers, called "batlonim" are mostly beggar students of the Torah and Talmud, wishing to become Rabbis, law students or enter the learned professions, but who have not the money for their education, and take this means of continuing their studies of the Laws of Moses, their "dear bride."
There is no fixed stipend and they offer their services to the family not blessed with sons, during the time of mourning, and agree to pray the soul of the dead from purgatory into Paradise. These prayers have come down in Judaism from far beyond the days of Christ, and on them was founded the Masses, stipends and prayers for the repose of the dead.
Nov. 23, 1905, it seemed that almost the whole Jewish population of New York turned out in a vast procession through the streets of the east side, to mourn the massacres of their brethren in Russia. The streets for blocks around the headquarters in Grand Street were filled, fairly packed, with one mass of surging, pushing, gesticulating Hebrew humanity, as four men passed through bearing on their shoulders an empty coffin, covered with a black velvet silver embroidered pall, typifying the dead, as the catafalque does in our churches at a requiem Mass, when the body is not present. This is one of the oldest of the Jewish ceremonials coming down from Moses or the kings. These prayers lived side by side in both the Christian and Jewish faiths whose members were often hostile in the middle ages.


All branches of the Semitic race were well represented. Jews from Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Spain, and countries of the Orient were there, crowding sidewalks, massing in the middle of the streets, mounting steps of business and private dwellings—all united in heart and mind, as every tongue uttered the prayers for the repose of the souls of their murdered Russian brethren.
Patriarchs with velvet skull-caps, waist-long white beards, every hair of which was precious, shoved and talked with younger generations, with women with wigs and shawls showing their widowhood, with girls be-plumed, products of the sweatshops, and with young men born in freedom, who hardly showed the Jewish features.
But the bearing of the vast crowds was different, from that which usually turns out for a parade. There was no laughter, no jokes were heard, no good-natured nudging as they marched, headed by black flags, red union banners, each wearing black badges on their arms, or draped in deep mourning. They went four abreast, stretching along five blocks, moving like a vast human flood, soon swelling into a mighty stream, filling the streets as though they would mount the high walls of buildings, through which they passed as through a canyon.
In mournful music they sang the dirge of sorrow and prayers for the souls of the dead, accompanied by bands of music. As the sound of the band reached ahead, windows would go up, women with heads covered with black mourning prayer shawls would appear, hold up their hands with distorted faces, eyes filled with tears, and mingle their cries with the vast crowds in the streets. From the heart of every Israelite came the cry: El Male Rachnin, "God have mercy on their souls," repeated over and over again.


When they came to a synagogue, the whole procession stopped before the crowded steps. In the place reserved, the Rabbi, and lending men of the congregation, led in prayer for eternal rest for the departed, part song, part chant, part wail: "God have mercy on their souls:" "God have mercy on their souls:" "God have mercy on their souls." The band struck up the Kim Allel Eclun, "the mourning song of Solomon," and they began over again the touching prayers for the repose of the dead. They stopped for the longest time before the Beth Hamedrish, "The House of Prayer," the synagogue where the famous Rabbi Joseph used to preach, that leader in Israel most learned in the Talmud, whose funeral produced almost a riot against the Jews. There the men and women sang in separate ranks, for they do not think it seemly for the sexes to mingle in divine worship, even in our day. It was a weird chant the singing made. The differences in tone and pitch met in the middle, and made a half gruff, half shrill, wholly strange sound, that rose and fell, swelled and diminished in a cadence, as different from the Christian choir, as Arab singing. We have given this incident of our day, with customs of the ancient synagogue, to show that in all his history the Jew prayed for the repose of the souls of his dead, and that from him the Church fell heir to that doctrine, the human heart cry for the dead we loved in life, which has been, perhaps, the most attacked.
Now let us see the origin of our wedding customs and the nuptial Mass.
The Talmud forbade marriage in the case of a male under thirteen years and a day, and in the case of a girl under twelve years and a day. Wednesday was the day of the betrothal of a virgin, and Thursday of a widow. 1 Modern Jews appoint Wednesday and Friday for the former, and Thursday for the latter. The parents choose the wife for their son. Modern Jews often employ a matchmaker, a schachun who acts as a friend between the parties. 2
Consent of bride and parents having been obtained, the betrothal followed. This was not like our "engagement," but a very solemn and formal agreement ratified by presents to the bride called mohar, the word occurring thrice in the Hebrew Bible. 3 Her father gave her a dowry, which after the Captivity was bestowed by a written ketubah, "a writing," which dowry her husband controlled.


The betrothal, called by the Romans the espousal, was celebrated with a great feast, where the groom placed the wedding ring on her finger, as a token of fidelity and of adoption into his family. She was now regarded as a wife. 4 If she was unfaithful, among the Hebrews before her father's house she was stoned to death, 5 but the man could put her away by quietly getting rid of her, if he did not want to have her killed. This is what Joseph thought of doing when he found the Virgin with child. 6
The essence of marriage was in the removal of the bride to her future home. This was a great public ceremony. The bridegroom clothed himself in his festive dress and put on his head the handsome turban the prophet calls the peer 7 formed like a crown. 8 Myrrh and frankincense was offered before him, or he was incensed by a servant as the clergy are incensed at a high Mass. The bride prepared herself the day before with a bath, 9 robed herself in her bridal garments, and a little before the appointed time covered her whole person with the bridal veil called the tsa'iph; the Romans called it nubere, "to veil," whence covering not only her face, but her whole person 10 it was a sign of submission to her husband. The Greeks called the bridal veil exoysia, "authority." She bound up her waist with a costly sash called the kishshurim, "the attire," which Romans named zona. On her head she placed the callah, "bride," a crown of pure gold, or gilded if the family was rich, but of orange blossoms if the family was poor. After the destruction of the Temple under Titus, in A. D. 70, this gold crown was forbidden as a token of humiliation.
If the bride were a virgin, she wore her hair hanging down her back; 11 but a widow tied up her hair. The virgin's bridal robes were white, often embroidered with gold thread, a widow was dressed in colored garments and the ceremonial was short and simple.
When the hour fixed arrived, usually late in the evening, the bridegroom came to her house attended by his groomsmen, called in Hebrew mere'im, waited on by his paranymph, we now call his "best man," and preceded by a procession, surrounded by a band of musicians and singers, with men bearing torches, they went to the bride's home, who with her virgins waited for them. Bride, parents and friends, with the bridegroom formed a great procession, and with music and song they marched back to the groom's house, near which a party of virgins, ten with lighted lamps, met them in the street and all marched to the house. 12 At the house they held a great feast, all the friends of both families attending, each guest having on a white wedding garment. 13 If she was a virgin, parched wheat and grain was distributed, the origin of rice at our weddings, as a sign of prosperity and happiness for the couple. The festivities lasted for seven days sometimes for a fortnight, but in the case of a widow for only one night.


From the Hebrew wedding we copy the bishop's ring, for he is wedded to his diocese, the orange blossoms, the bridal veil, the nuptial Mass, the blessing of the bride. But the widow is not blessed at her second marriage. Among the Oriental Christians the bride and groom wear metal crowns during the wedding ceremonies.
The wedding feast was very elaborate in wealthy families, the ceremonial and etiquette being the same as at the feast of unleaven bread.
Moses made a covenant, the Old Testament, between God and the Israelites, who broke that covenant when they fell into idolatry under their Kings. But the prophet foretold that, "the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda. Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, the covenant which they made void," etc.14 Moses made the covenant with blood of animals, foretelling the New Testament, the covenant made with the blood of the Victim of Calvary, 15 "of the New and eternal Testament the mystery of faith." The Greek text says, diathekn,"in his blood." "And they shall not break bread to him that mourneth, to comfort him for the dead, neither shall they give them to drink of the cup to comfort them, for their father and mother." 16


"Thus saith the Lord, Behold I will profane my sanctuary the glory of your realm." 17 At Christ's death the Old Testament passed away, the New had begun. The synagogue was rejected, the Church was established on Pentecost.
The Lord broke the Eucharistic bread to the doubting disciples at Emmaus and only then they knew him. 18 The apostles went forth from house to house, breaking the Eucharistic bread of the Mass with prayers; 19 "continuing daily with one accord in the Temple and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart." 20 "On the first day of the week when we assembled to break bread," 21 "going up and breaking bread and fasting." The Greek words of the original, "eulogia" and "eucharistia" show that the breaking of bread was the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass. The first word, eulogia, "praise," shows that they began with the synagogue praise and prayers, following Christ's example at the Last Supper, and finished with the consecration and the distribution of the Eucharist. 22
Following the example of the Last Supper, the meetings were held in the evening, in the synagogues, on the Sabbath, and the instructions took up the time till after midnight. 23 Psalms and Prayers of the synagogue were sung, the members of the infant Church saluted each other with a holy kiss. 24 St. Paul mentions four times 25 the kiss of friendship and of love, a Hebrew custom continued in the Church, and was the origin of the ceremony of the "kiss of peace," the clergy give during Mass.'' 26
The apostles following the Lord's example went into the synagogues in all the lands where Jews were found, and preached first to the Hebrews. As the synagogue the Sabbath service on Saturday was the best attended, they preached that day, and in the evening said the Mass. The services were protracted into the night, and later Mass was said in the early morning hours of Sunday. Whence, in apostolic times, Sunday took the place of Saturday of the Jew's. When at last the Church broke with the synagogue, it was called the "Lord's day," in memory of the resurrection and of the corning of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Sunday. 27


Thousands of candles lighted the Temple courts, lights burned in synagogues during services, numerous lights you will find in the synagogue of today as candles illuminated the Cenacle during the Last Supper; "and there were a great number of lamps in the upper chamber where we were assembled," says the Acts. 28 Mass being said at night in the Apostles' day, candles burned on the altars. The candles burning on our altars came down, not from the catacombs, as some writers hold, but from Temple, synagogue and Last Supper.
This synagogue service—singing Psalms, reading the Law and the Prophecies before the Eucharistic Sacrifice, developed into the Matin-Lauds with their Psalms, Nocturns, "By night," prayers, versicles, responses, vespers and offices of our breviaries. The peculiar divisions and arrangements show they came down from the apostolic age. The Last Supper began with the synagogue services which Avere always said at night before beginning the Passover feast, and this is the reason of that ancient custom of saying the office, as far as Terce, before saying Mass.
Many were the disputes between Christians and Jews regarding the Crucified; at last the synagogue excluded the apostles, who then went to the homes of converts. They found that the synagogue service would not do for the Eucharistic sacrifice. New elements, the Divinity of Christ, the Real Presence, the sacramental system, and numerous other truths had been added to Judaism.
On the Liturgy of the Last Supper they founded new Rites—Liturgies of the Mass which were handed down by word of mouth till they were later written down. These were in the languages of the people. Oriental Christians claim that their Liturgies have come down to us unchanged from the apostles. Numerous Hebrew terms they incorporate into these Liturgies, as, "Amen;" "Let it be so;" Alleluia, "Praise Jehovah;" Hosanna, "Save, I beseech thee;" Sabaoth, "Hosts;" "The Lord be with thee," "Peace be to thee," etc.


We have shown how the Holy Ghost wrote a religious truth in every object and movement of Temple and Passover worship. The Passover Liturgy and ceremonial were loaded with type image and symbol of the Messiah, his Passion and of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. When the apostles founded the Liturgies of the Mass, they followed the lesson God gave in the Jewish ceremonial and worship. Every object, movement and ceremony of the Mass teaches the people truths hidden in the service, so that the Mass is a book written by God himself through the apostles. These rites and ceremonies we have explained in a former work. 29
The apostles carried out the synagogue services, read the Law and the Prophecies and then preached, exhorting the people to live good lives. The "Lord's Table" was prepared with candles, flowers, and ornaments. 30 The twelve priests with the apostle read the prayers of the Liturgy, and thus they celebrated the Eucharist. They took up a collection for the support of religion. 31 Sometimes these offerings were sent to the poor converts of Jerusalem. 32
The apostle remained with them instructing, making converts till a congregation was formed. Then he ordained twelve of them priests, called in Greek presbyters. He laid hands on one of them and anointed him a bishop, consecrating him with the holy oils as was the custom at the ordination of Rabbis and judges of Israel long before the time of Christ. Many works of the early Church mention these facts.
Thus the Clementine Homilies 33 says Peter founded a church in Tyre and set over it as bishop one of the presbyters and then departed for Sidon 34 where he did the same, 35 as at Bayrout and Laodicea. 36 "And having baptized them in the fountains which are near the sea, and having celebrated the Eucharist, and having appointed Maroones as their bishop, and having set apart twelve presbyters, and having designated deacons and arranged matters relating to widows, and having preached on the common good what was profitable for the ordering of the Church, and having counseled them to obey the bishop Maroones, three months being now fulfilled, he (Peter the apostle) bade those in Tripolis of Phoenicia farewell, and took his journey to Antioch of Syria, all the people accompanying him with due honor." 37


This curious work of antiquity states that they reclined at the table when eating, 38 and shows us that Peter vested like the bishops of our day. When Clement asked that he might go with him, Peter smilingly replied. "For who else shall take care of these many splendid tunics, with all my changes of rings and sandals.'' 39
The Apostolic Constitution says: 40 "Now concerning those bishops who have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:—James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord; 41 the second was Simeon the son of Cleophas, 42 after whom the third was Judas, the son of James. Of Caesarea of Palestine, the first was Zaccheus, 43 after whom was Cornelius and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch Evodius ordained by me Peter, and Ignatius by Paul of Alexandria, Annianus was the first ordained by Mark, the evangelist. Of the Church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, 44 and Clement after Linus' death, the second ordained by me Peter. Of Ephesus, Timothy ordained by Paul, and John by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first, 45 after whom Strateas son of Lois. 46 Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius by me. Of Athens, Dionysius.


Of Tripoli, Marathones, etc., These are the bishops who are intrusted by us with the dioceses in the Lord." 47
Saying, "Increase and multiply." 48 God blessed man and animals, that they might propagate their race. Following this example-the patriarch blessed his eldest son, making him heir of his property and priesthood, and on his deathbed he blessed all the members of his family. At the end of the Temple ceremonial the high priest blessed the multitudes, and the Rabbi dismissed the congregation with his blessing.
According to these ceremonies of the Jewish Church, when ascending into heaven, Christ blessed his disciples. "And lifting up his hands he blessed them. And it came to pass that whilst he blessed them, he departed up into heaven." 49 Following these examples, the celebrant blesses the congregation at the end of Mass. This ended Mass in the early Church, and later St. John's Gospel was added. Therefore when the people ask priest or bishop to bless them they follow the old custom of the Hebrew church. This blessing finds it highest form in the Apostolic Benediction of the Pope, which comes down from the days of Apostles and Patriarchs.
Now let us see the vestments Christ and the Apostles used at the Last Supper, for in them we will find the origin of Church vestments.

1 Mishna Ketub. i. sec. 1.

2 Gen. xxiv. 12.

3 Gen. xxiv. 10-22; Exod. xxii. 17; I. Kings xviii. 25.

4 Phil. De Spec. Leg, p. 788.

5 Deut. xxii. 23, 24.

6 Matt. i. 19.

7 Isaias Ixi. 10.

Cant. iii. 11.

9 Picart. i. 240.

10 Gen. xxiv. 65, xxxviii. 14,15.

11 Ketub, ii. Sec. 1.

12 Matt. xxv. 6.

13 Matt. xxii. 11.

14 Jeremias, xxxi. 31, 32.

15 Exod. xxiv. 8.

16 Jeremias, xvi. 7.

17 Ezech, xxiv. 21.

18 Luke, xxiv. 30, 35.

19 Acts. ii. 42.

20 Acts, ii. 46.

21 xx. 7.

22 I. Cor. ii. 20, 21, etc.; St. Ignatius, Epist ad Smyr., c. 4.; Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. VII. c. 19, Council of Carthage, Cann. XLI.

23 Acts xx. 7.

24 I. Cor. xvi. 20; II. Cor. xiii. 12.

25 Rom. xvi. 16: I. Cor. xvi. 20; II. Cor. xiii. 12; I. Thes. v.26; I. Peter V. 14.

26 Tertullian, De Orat. c. 14; Justin Martyr, M. Apol. 11; Migne, Cursus Comp. ii. 1348.

27 Acts ii,

28 Acts xx;. 6.

29 Teaching Truth by Signs and Ceremonies.

30 Acts xx. 7-11.

31 II Cor. ix. 1-15; Justin Martyr, Aplogo. I.

32 Ibidem.

33 This work is of doubtful authenticity, mentioned by Origen, Cap. 22 Philocalia and other writers as existing in the beginning of the third century.

34 Hom. VII. Cap. v.

35 Cap. VIII.

36 Cap. XXII.

37 Clementine Homilies. Hom. xi. Cap. xxxvi. See J. lahn ArchæoIogia Biblica De Liturgia Apostolica, etc.

38 Ibidem. Hom. x. Cap. xxvi.

39 Hom. xii. Cap. vi.

40 Some like, Whiston, Bunsen, etc., think that with a few corruptions these come from the apostolic age—others that they come from the second or third centuries. Book VII. Sec. iv.

41 He was his cousin who according to the Jewish custom was called his brother.

42 Cleophas was the brother of St. Joseph, the Virgin's spouse. He married Mary the Virgin's sister, by whom he had four sons and and two daughters. His eldest son was named Joseph, the second James called Alpheus, the third Judas Thaddeus, and the fourth Simon. His first daughter was called Mary after her mother; the second, Salome married Zebedei, by whom she had James and John the apostles. It was Cleophas who went with another disciple to Emmaus after the crucifixion, whom the Lord met on the way. See Dutripon, Concordantia S. Scripturæ, word Cleophas.

43 This was the rich publican of Jericho, a tax collector, "little of stature," Luke xix. 3-6, who climbed the sycamore tree to see the Lord, when he was passing through the city on his way up to Jerusalem to die. He entertained the Saviour that Thursday night, and to him Jesus said "This day is salvation come to this house." Luke xix. 9. Rabbinical writings mention a Zaccheus who lived in Jericho at this time who was once a publican.

44 Mentioned by St. Paul, II. Tim. iv. 21.

45 This is a mistake, for Polycarp was the first bishop of Smyrna.

46 She was Timothy's grandmother, II. Tim. i. 5.

47 Apost. Const. B. VII. Sec. iv., xlvi. We give this as a specimen of this peculiar ancient work, not vouching for its authenticity.

48 Gen, i. 22, viii. 17, ix. 1.

49 Luke xxiv. 50.