Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thoughts on Paul: III

[From the collection, "Pensieri su Paolo" by Benedict XVI.]

Strangers become friends; beyond every boundary, we recognize brothers. With this is brought to fulfillment the mission of St. Paul, who knew himself to be "a liturgy of Jesus Christ among the gentiles ... a pleasing oblation, sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:16). The scope of the mission is a humanity that has itself become a living glorification of God, the true worship which God desires: this is the deepest sense of catholicity -- a catholicity that has already been given to us, and towards which we continue to walk, ever new. (Homily, June 29, 2005.)

In translating that passage from Romans, I have remained faithful to the Italian text. This is an especially rich passage in the Greek -- eis to einai me leitourgon Christou, which most English translations render as "minister" or "official" of Christ. I don't know if the Holy Father used a standard Italian translation, or translated "leitourgon" literally to emphasize the living of one's whole life as "liturgy" of Christ. Here is Rom 15:16 in its entirety the NAB: "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit."

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