Monday, July 14, 2008

Isaiah and the Call to Conversion

I love the prophets, as they gently and not so gently call us to a continued conversion of heart; from Hosea's call to 'come back to me' to Isaiah's prophecies of a suffering servant who takes upon himself the guilt of us all.

In today's first reading, we hear the beginning of the prophecies and call of Isaiah to the people of Isreal:

What care I for the number of your sacrifices?says the LORD.I have had enough of whole-burnt ramsand fat of fatlings;In the blood of calves, lambs and goatsI find no pleasure.

Strong stuff, and in it's context it comes to light. Written as the kingdom continued its decline and fall, eventually leading to the Babylonian Exile, the Sacrifices and practices of the Temple had continued, even though the worship of Baal and the Caananite fertility gods had crept into Israel. Isaiah challenge here is that the sacrifice and worship in the Temple had become empty and no longer served the purpose of calling the faithful to conversion.

In the liturgy wars that are threatening to break out anew, keep in mind that the purpose of liturgy is conversion of heart of the believer, both lay and cleric alike. It is not a musical performance, it is not a call to social action; it is a call and a fostering of relationship with God. Certainly I think that correct celebration of the Sacraments are important, vital even, but as the means to the end of conversion, not as ends themselves.


Adoro said...

"liturgy wars threatening to break out anew..."

Break out anew? They're ongoing! It's a regular civil war! (Which is why I didn't let it go there last night at work...)

Father Schnippel said...

I was trying to be nice!

Adoro te Devote said...