Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's for the kids!

Well, no it's not.

I attended a Mass this morning where, because it was fourth grader day or some such, the liturgy was given a once-over by the class to make it "kid-friendly", taking out such large words as salvation. What really bugged me, really really bugged me, though, was the number they did on the second reading. For the benefit of those not there:

Brothers and sisters:
The levitical priests were many
because they were prevented by death from remaining in office,
but Jesus, because he remains forever,
has a priesthood that does not pass away.
Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son,
who has been made perfect forever.

Heb 7:23-28

Their paraphrase, as I remember it: "Jesus serves as a priest for us before God. He can do this because he isn't like us sinners."

First comment: Wow, that's a lot shorter. I guess fourth graders don't understand priesthood, and we wouldn't want to make their heads explode . . . ??? I donno.

Second comment: I'm sure the alarm bells are going off in some people's heads by now. For the benefit of those of Hebraic persuasion in the audience, I'll put in a little segment of Paul here:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Heb 4:15

I'm no expert, but my understanding here is that Jesus is fundamentally like us, except without sin. Which would render the fourth graders' translation rather wrong. Which is why we don't let fourth graders write books of the Bible. And wrong in understanding the humanity of Christ, no small point to be proclaiming in front of a church full of adults not terribly well catechized themselves, I suspect.

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