In today's Gospel
Jesus is presenting us the parable of the talents. It challenges us to ask the
question of what we are doing with our lives that God has given us as a talent,
a treasure. But we can see many other parallels and similarities between this
parable and our life. We are constantly getting so many talents and treasures, we
are showered by God with so many graces and gifts that sometimes we don't even
recognize them as a grace, we rather see them as our rights and privileges.
Let us take for
example of a wonderful gift of the Eucharist. Do
I realize that it is a GIFT, a TALENT, and a TREASUREgiven to us by
God for our salvation? What do I do with this treasure, what do I do
with the gift of the Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ?
How often do I rather prefer to HIDE THIS TREASURE? How often do our faithful
Catholics are like the last one among the servants coming to the King, burying
the treasure of the Eucharist, the gift of the Sunday Mass in the worries and
preoccupations of every day’s life?
Even the present
renewal of the English Missal could be -for us- a treasure, a wonderful
opportunity of a deeper and more
profound understanding of the Gift of the Eucharist, or we can miss once
more this opportunity and burry the treasure in the ground, pretending that we
didn't get anything special, that it is our right, our entitlement and take it
are two possible methods or tactics of approaching the new translation
of the English Missal and the renewal of our postures and gestures during the
1.I can pretend that it is a worthless
and absolutely unnecessary or even useless going backward to the so called
"pre-Vatican" theology, I can be frustrated or disappointed, I can
try to resist or to disagree, OR
2.I can try to understand, to deepen and
develop my understanding and my knowledge of the Eucharist, the precious gift,
the talent given to the Church for the salvation of her members.
Let us take for
example the new wording of the Consecration
of the Blood of Christ. Why this "new"
which is absolutely not new (!!!), so called exclusive language.
for "many" and not for "all"?
the priest says:
is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting
covenant. It will be shed for you and FOR ALL
so that sins may be forgiven.”
Nov. 27 he will say:
this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal
covenant, which will be poured out for you and FOR MANY
for the forgiveness of sins”
In the Sacred
Liturgy, there is no moment more important or more filled with grace than when
the priest repeats Christ’s words, first spoken at the Last
Supper, and the bread and wine become Christ’s Body and Blood.
For the past 40
years, English-speaking Catholics have heard those words of consecration, when
spoken over the cup, translated as: “Take this, allof
you, and drink from it: This is the cup of my blood, the blood of
the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for allso that sins may be forgiven. Do
this in memory of me.”
Most of those
changes won’t raise any eyebrows. Chalice, rather than cup (cup is too
vernacular it is the mug, the goblet, etc.) the poured, rather than shed.
Eternal, rather than everlasting. Each has its significance, and
together they give a more reverent tone to the prayer, but none are
controversial or puzzling. The same can’t be said, however, of the phrase, “for
you and for MANY.”
At first hearing,
it sounds as if the Church is saying that Christ didn’t die for everyone,
that there’s some special class of individuals who aren’t of “salvation-grade
quality”. But that can’t be what the Church actually means. Or is it?
The answer is no
... and yes. Christ did die for everyone. He offers
salvation to all. He invites ALL.
But not everyone accepts what he offers. Not everyone accepts the
invitation. That’s what the phrase “for you and for MANY” reminds us. Jesus Christ is proposing His redemptive death
and resurrection to all, but because of the human freedom He is not forcing
anybody to accept His proposal, and so … He is dying only for those who in
their freedom accepted this sacrifice.
Otherwise how He
can die for those who a stubbornly rejecting, neglecting or denying Him and His
redemptive death? Is it not against the fundamental gift freedom? Why by using
the human translation which is “more inclusive” namely “ALL” we are
forcing those who won’t like to be included into the Redemptive Sacrifice of
Christ? The atheists like:
Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are irritated and frustrated by this
kind of “all including catholic terrorism”. And that’s what the
original Latin says: PRO MULTIS and not FOR
In Latin, the
phrase used is "QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS", which literally
means “for you and for many,” or “for you and the many.” “The many” can mean
the same thing as “all,” but traditionally that’s not how the phrase has been
interpreted, not by Catholics and not by Protestants who continue to use the
words “for many” in their own communion services.
In part, “for
many” because the passage is a translation of the words Jesus
spoke at the Last Supper, words which refer to a passage from Isaiah
53about the suffering servant who would make manyrighteous.
(Mt 26,28: Mk
(24και ειπεν αυτοις τουτο εστιν το αιμα μου το της καινης διαθηκης το περι
Kai eipen autois
touto estin to aima mon to tes kainos diathekes to peri pollon ekshunomenon
24“This is my
blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,”he said to them".
Do we pretend
that Jesus didn’t know what He was saying using the word: “peri pollon” - for many and not for ALL?
It’s also been
translated as “many” rather than “all,” because of Jesus’ own words about
heaven and hell in Matthew 7:14: “How narrow the gate and constricted
the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
On a spring day
outside Jerusalem, the Second Person of the Trinity saved every member of the
human race, potentially. It’s ‘potentially’because not everyone will be saved.
The Lord says that in the Gospel. Again, however, that’s not to say that
Jesus doesn’t want to save everyone. He does. But, in order to receive
salvation, something on our part needs to happen. We don’t earn our
salvation, but we need to embrace it and live it.
Our decisions have
consequences. Our crucifixes have Christ’s arms spread wide to show that
salvation is for the many. But if we eliminate human choice, then
morality has no meaning or content, i.e., one can do whatever one
pleases and just presume God will forgive all offenses without repentance. But
that’s not how it works, and presumption is a sin against the Holy Spirit.”
By returning to
the traditional “FOR YOU AND FOR MANY,” the
Church asks us to remember that:
·The words remind us, that there
is no such thing as automatic salvation. Just because someone poured
water on your head 50 or even 70 years ago doesn’t mean you’re saved!
·The language, these words, also force
us to confront our own sins which are the real sins causing the death of
Christ on the cross,
·They’re meant to be a call to an
examination of conscience. At every given celebration of the Mass,
they’re an invitation to ask, ‘Where do I stand? I recognize Christ has died,
so what have I done to accept it?’
·What did I do with the gift, the
treasure of Christ's Blood?
God is constantly
giving us some talents, but it's up to us to use these talents, to accept them
as a precious gift and not as our rights and privileges. It is up to each one
of us individually to accept or to reject the Talent of the Eucharist, which is
poured for all, but unhappily not all are accepting this gift. And this is why
Jesus used the words:
"… this is
the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal
covenant, which will be poured out for you and FOR MANY
for the forgiveness of sins".