Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ecclesia Sunday

"A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen." (NAB, from Dt 18:15-20).

"A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him" (NAB, from Mk 1:21-28).
And something that Joseph Ratzinger has written about this theme:
"because the dispersion of Israel continued on and slavery was reimposed, a qahal coming from God himself, a new gathering and foundation of the people, increasingly became the center of Jewish hope. The supplication for this gathering — for the appearance of the ecclesia — is a fixed component of late Jewish prayer.

It is thus clear what it means for the nascent Church to call herself ecclesia. By doing so, she says in effect: This petition is granted in us. Christ, who died and rose again, is the living Sinai; those who approach him are the final gathering of God's people" (Called to Communion, J. Ratzinger, Ignatius Press, 31). 

The passage above follows a section on "Jesus and the Church." Ratzinger quips that "the kingdom was promised, what came was Jesus [...] but Jesus is never alone" (23). The twelve symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel, while the 72 symbolize the nations, the gentiles — and notably, the Septuagint, translated into Greek by 72 scholars, is the form of the Hebrew scriptures which is adopted by the Christian Church. 
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