Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Today's readings don't have a whole lot in common at first glance. We have a bit of King Solomon's prayer from the dedication of the Temple, and then the Gospel shows Jesus addressing the scribes with the Pharisees about how not to play games with God's law. (We're all tempted to, so we can't let ourselves off the hook: the examples Jesus gives were typical cases of rationalizing in order to wiggle out of a stated value in order to protect an unstated one.) But there is a word in the Gospel, given to us in Aramaic, no less, that links the Gospel with that snippet of 1 Kings: qorban.
In the ancient Syriac liturgies, "qorbana" referred to the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass. We could translate it "consecration" or "consecrated" or, as the NAB does in the Gospel, "dedicated." Dedicated, like the Temple, to God: belonging to God; set apart for God; of God, as if it were a "dwelling of God on earth."
What part of your daily routine is "qorban"? Isn't it easy, though, to use that "dedication" as an excuse not to rise to the occasion to serve God in another way? (Maybe that temptation comes more in religious life...) Jesus is clear: God always comes first, but the way he is to be served is not always, externally that is, qorban.

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