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.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ritual Information: Bible Commentary on Leviticus 7 with poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty

Daily Readings
Job 36:1-23, Exodus 25:1-26:30, Leviticus 7, I Corinthians 12

Daily Text: Leviticus 7

Ritual Information
With Leviticus 7 we see the conclusion of the formal presentation of the ritual requirements of the offering of sacrifices. Two matters of interest will be noted: the first having to do with the sacrifice of well-being as unique to Israel, and the second with the days on which a sacrifice of well-being might be consumed. It probably is true that other peoples in the ancient world offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to their gods, but evidently no other peoples had a special category for these offerings [cf. Plaut 185:784-789]. Three kinds of offerings were spelled out: thanksgiving, thanksgiving for a vow come to fruition and a free-will offering of well-being. Only, the second, that of the votive offering or the vow, had special characteristics. That vow was freely offered, but once the vow was declared and the intention created to make the sacrifice if the vow were honored, then the offerer was obligated to carry it out. The thanksgiving and the free-will offerings did not create this obligation.

There was a difference also between the offering of well-being or thanksgiving and the other two as to when the offering could be eaten. The first had to be eaten on the day it was sacrificed. The other two could be eaten on that day and the one following. However, the third day was verboten. It became an occasion for sin to eat of it on the third day rather than to burn and so destroy whatever was left over. And this occasion for sin had a number of consequences one of which was that if the original offerer sinned in this way he lost his original forgiveness! Another consequence was that those consuming illegitimately became unclean and failing the offering of a chatat or sin offering were ‘cut off’ from their kin. This is not spelled out, but generally was thought to be an act of God which would end in childlessness, ostracism and perhaps even early death, not a kind of guilt one would desire to incur.

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

1844-1898

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout
that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced-fold,
fallow, and plow;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and
trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him.
407:371

Collect for the Day
Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more—a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise. [407:361 George Herbert]

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