Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Minchah--Grain Offering: Bible Commentary on Leviticus 2 with poem by Madeleine L'Engle, O Hilaritas

Daily Readings
Job 30, Exodus 20:1-7, Leviticus 2, I Corinthians 8

Daily Text: Leviticus 2

The Minchah—Grain Offering
The Minchah carries overtones for the Christian that strike very close to home. For us, the sacrifice of the mass is provision for the poor as well as those who could afford something more substantial. While the grain offering could be uncooked grain, it could also be baked, fried or pan cooked unleavened bread. Especially, that offering cooked on a griddle and broken into pieces reminds us of Eucharistic bread, and it too was a most holy portion to be consumed within the sacred precincts of the altar. Because the grain offering followed the pattern of animal sacrifice and was, in a sense, a substitute for it, the implications were there, as in Eucharistic sacrifice, of the offering of a life for a life.

The reference to the covenant of salt in vs. 13 has an ancient referent. In antiquity pacts were ratified by a formal meal. For the participants to take salt together was symbolic of seasoning their agreement for a palatable future. “The Bible therefore describes a solemn covenant as a covenant of salt” [185:763]. A fanciful midrash in the Haggadah understands the verse to mean ‘the covenant your God made about salt.’ “At creation, God separated the waters above the expanse of heaven from those below it (Gen. 1:7); and the waters relegated to the lower level grieved at being so far from God’s abode. So God comforted them with the promise that their briny oceans would one day provide the salt to be used on His altar” [185:764].

O Hilaritas
Madeleine L’Engle

According to Newton
the intrinsic property of matter on which weight depends is
But mass and weight vary according to gravity
(It is not a laughing matter).
On earth a mass of 6 kilograms has a weight of 6 kilograms.
On the moon a mass of 6 kilograms has a weight of 1 kilogram.
An object’s inertia (the force required to accelerate it)
depends entirely on its mass.
And so with me.
I depend entirely on a crumb of bread
a sip of wine;
it is the mass that matters
that makes matter.
In free fall, like the earth around the sun,
I am weightless
and so move only if I have mass.
Thanks be to the creator
who has given himself
that we may be.

Collect for the Day
Just as a grain of wheat must die in the earth in order to bring forth a rich harvest, so your Son died on the cross to bring a rich harvest of love. Just as the harvest of wheat must be ground into flour to make bread, so the suffering of your Son brings us the bread of life. Just as bread gives our bodies strength for our daily work, so the risen body of your Son gives us strength to obey your laws. [489:146 Thomas Münzer, c. 1490-1525]


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