Friday, July 13, 2012

The Heavenly Liturgy in Judaism, the New Testament and the Eucharistic Celebration (Podcast with notes and outline)

I'm currently teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses on Liturgical Theology and so I've been doing a lot of work in the study of worship. In the most recent podcast of "The Sacred Page" I thought I'd share some thoughts on the topic.

In the first Eucharistic Prayer of the Catholic Mass, the priest makes reference to an altar in heaven: "command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high."

What many do not realize is that the belief in a heavenly temple liturgy originates in the Old Testament and ancient Judaism. In fact, New Testament authors, clearly drawing on such beliefs, explain Christ's sacrifice in terms of a heavenly temple and liturgy.

In this episode we look at Jewish beliefs about liturgy and see how they form the background for the New Testament's view of Christ's sacrifice and Christian worship. For example, as we shall see, the Epistle to the Hebrews links the heavenly liturgy (leitourgia) to the ascension.

As we shall see, the New Testament reveals the surpassing ways Christ fulfills hopes regarding participation in the angelic worship of the heavenly temple.

Below "the fold" you'll find a .pdf with the outline and notes.

Listen on iTunes or click the link below.

As usual, I'd appreciate getting your comments in the comment box below. 

Heavenly Liturgy Podcast


Nick said...

The podcast isn't loading for me.

Nick said...

To clarify: When I click the Play button, it doesn't play.

Nick said...

Thank you for the media link :)

De Maria said...

At 30 minutes, you said we don't have a true understanding of Liturgy or the Ascension.

I agree with every thing which you mentioned. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't hear you mention one of the things which I thought Scott Hahn had taught. The idea that "liturgy" is the work of man.

In other words, we worship God with everything we do. If we do everything for the glory of God.

And the Jews seemingly understood this because they prayed seven times a day. In other words, all day long. (Psalm 119:164, 168).

And, I thought, this is why the Church advises that we pray continually, in order that we be always connected to the Liturgy of the hours, which in turn, is connected to the heavenly Liturgy.

That the Jews understood that we are always connected to the Heavenly Host, is also illustrated by Elisha:
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

And, this is why I thought that faith and works are so closely related and both necessary. Because we show our faith in our works. We participate in the worship of God, the Liturgy, in our works for the glory of God.

At 36 minutes, you repeated that Christ is the Liturgist. Which to me, is a very Sacramental statement. Because the Sacraments are the works of Christ and they are all accomplished at the Altar and are given to us because of His Sacrifice on the Cross.

Christ is the true Liturgist or worker, and we are His hands, His feet and we accomplish His works on earth.

Now, our aim is the imitation of Christ. And Christ was always connected to the Father and the Holy Spirit. And Mary is our example and she is said to have been united to the Holy Spirit from conception.

So, everything you said is true, but in my opinion does not go far enough. We are not to wait until the Mass nor worship only in the Mass. Nor is the Mass the only thing which is connected to the Heavenly Liturgy. We are connected to the Heavenly Liturgy when we are Baptized and enter onto Mt. Sion. But it is not just in the Liturgy that we are compassed about with the Heavenly Host. But we have a cloud of witnesses surrounding us at all times. When we are Baptized, we join the Heavenly Liturgy with every action we take, if we are conscious of the fact, that we can worship God with our works.


De Maria