- Preface to the New American Bible
- Preface to the Christian Book of Concord
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Acts of the Apostles, a work that is both historical and theological, and Revelation, an apocalyptic work, have no counterparts in the New Testament; the special Introductions prefixed to these books treat of the literary characteristics proper to each of them. The fourth gospel, John, often differs significantly from the synoptics in outline and approach.
The position of the Gospel according to Matthew as the first of the four gospels in the New Testament reflects both the view that it was the first to be written, a view that goes back to the late second century A.
Preface to the New American Bible
Although the majority of scholars now reject the opinion about the time of its composition, the high estimation of this work remains. The reason for that becomes clear upon study of the way in which Matthew presents his story of Jesus, the demands of Christian discipleship, and the breaking-in of the new and final age through the ministry but particularly through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The gospel begins with a narrative prologue Mt 1: The kingly ancestor who lived about a thousand years after Abraham is named first, for this is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the royal anointed one Mt 1: He is conceived of a virgin by the power of the Spirit of God Mt 1: The announcement of the birth of this newborn king of the Jews greatly troubles not only King Herod but all Jerusalem Mt 2: Thus his ultimate rejection by the mass of his own people and his acceptance by the Gentile nations is foreshadowed.
He must be taken to Egypt to escape the murderous plan of Herod. Galilee is the setting for most of his ministry; he leaves there for Judea only in Mt These are an important structure of the gospel. In large measure the material of these discourses came to Matthew from his tradition, but his work in modifying and adding to what he had received is abundantly evident. No other evangelist gives the teaching of Jesus with such elegance and order as he.
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The righteousness of his disciples must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees; otherwise, in spite of their alleged following of Jesus, they will not enter into the kingdom of heaven Mt 5: Righteousness means doing the will of the heavenly Father Mt 7: The antitheses of the Sermon Mt 5: What is meant by fulfillment of the law is not the demand to keep it exactly as it stood before the coming of Jesus, but rather his bringing the law to be a lasting expression of the will of God, and in that fulfillment there is much that will pass away.
While righteousness in the new age will continue to mean conduct that is in accordance with the law, it will be conduct in accordance with the law as expounded and interpreted by Jesus cf. Though Jesus speaks harshly about the Pharisees in the Sermon, his judgment is not solely a condemnation of them. The Pharisees are portrayed as a negative example for his disciples, and his condemnation of those who claim to belong to him while disobeying his word is no less severe Mt 7: The narrative section that follows the Sermon on the Mount Mt 8: The nature of the community that Jesus will establish is shown; it will always be under the protection of him whose power can deal with all dangers Mt 8: That episode of the narrative moves on two levels.
When the crowd sees the cure that testifies to the authority of Jesus, the Son of Man, to forgive sins Mt 9: The ecclesial character of this narrative section could hardly be more plainly indicated. Jesus is moved to pity at the sight of the crowds who are like sheep without a shepherd Mt 9: Their mission is limited to Israel Mt Again, the discourse moves on two levels: The narrative section of the third book Mt Hostility toward him has already been manifested Mt 8: But they are not alone in their rejection.
The whole section ends with his declaring that not even the most intimate blood relationship with him counts for anything; his only true relatives are those who do the will of his heavenly Father Mt The narrative of rejection leads up to the parable discourse Mt But, lest the impression be given that the church of Jesus is made up only of true disciples, the explanation of the parable of the weeds among the wheat Mt In the narrative that constitutes the first part of the fourth book of the gospel Mt The church of Jesus will be built on Peter Mt The metaphor of binding and loosing has a variety of meanings, among them that of giving authoritative teaching.
This promise is made to Peter directly after he has confessed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God Mt Directly after that confession Jesus begins to instruct his disciples about how he must go the way of suffering and death Mt Peter, who has been praised for his confession, protests against this and receives from Jesus the sharpest of rebukes for attempting to deflect Jesus from his God-appointed destiny.
Both he and the other disciples must know not only that Jesus will have to suffer and die but that they too will have to follow him on the way of the cross if they are truly to be his disciples Mt The discourse following this narrative Mt But there is also the obligation to correct the sinful fellow Christian and, should one refuse to be corrected, separation from the community is demanded Mt The narrative of the fifth book Mt In the course of their journey Jesus for the third time predicts the passion that awaits him at Jerusalem and also his resurrection Mt At his entrance into the city he is hailed as the Son of David by the crowds accompanying him Mt He cleanses the temple Mt In the discourse of the fifth book Mt The time of the latter is unknown Mt The coming of Jesus will bring with it the great judgment by which the everlasting destiny of all will be determined Mt The passion supremely exemplifies both meanings of that central Matthean word.
These two aspects are expressed by an Old Testament theme that occurs often in the narrative, i. To them he is constantly, though invisibly, present Mt The questions of authorship, sources, and the time of composition of this gospel have received many answers, none of which can claim more than a greater or lesser degree of probability. The one now favored by the majority of scholars is the following. The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew see Mt The attribution of the gospel to the disciple Matthew may have been due to his having been responsible for some of the traditions found in it, but that is far from certain.
The unknown author, whom we shall continue to call Matthew for the sake of convenience, drew not only upon the Gospel according to Mark but upon a large body of material principally, sayings of Jesus not found in Mark that corresponds, sometimes exactly, to material found also in the Gospel according to Luke.
Preface to the Christian Book of Concord
In addition to what Matthew drew from Mark and Q, his gospel contains material that is found only there. Since Mark was written shortly before or shortly after A. As for the place where the gospel was composed, a plausible suggestion is that it was Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria. That large and important city had a mixed population of Greek-speaking Gentiles and Jews. The church of Matthew, originally strongly Jewish Christian, had become one in which Gentile Christians were predominant.
The Book of Concord 19] As to the phrases and forms of expression which are employed in this Book of Concord, when we treat of the majesty of the human nature in the person of Christ, elevated and placed at the right hand of God, in order to remove all subtle suspicions and causes of offense which might arise from the different significations of the word abstract, as both the schools and the fathers have hitherto employed this term, our theologians in distinct and express words wish to testify that this majesty is in no way to be ascribed to the human nature of Christ outside of the personal union, neither are we to grant that the human nature possesses this majesty as its own or by itself even in the personal union essentially, formally, habitually, subjectively.
The schools like these terms, although they are not good Latin. For if we would adopt this method both of speaking and teaching, the divine and human natures with their properties would be confounded, and the human, with respect to its essence and properties, would be made equal to the divine, yea, indeed, would be altogether denied.
Therefore the theologians judge that we ought to believe that this occurs according to the method and economy of the hypostatic union, as learned antiquity has spoken cautiously concerning this subject, that it is a mystery so great as to exceed all the powers of our natural ability and understanding. Thus, as it is in no way our design and purpose to condemn those men who err from a certain simplicity of mind, but are not blasphemers against the truth of the heavenly doctrine, much less, indeed, entire churches, which are either under the Roman Empire of the German nation or elsewhere; nay, rather has it been our intention and disposition in this manner openly to censure and condemn only the fanatical opinions and their obstinate and blasphemous teachers, which, we judge, should in no way be tolerated in our dominions, churches, and schools, because these errors conflict with the express Word of God, and that, too, in such a way that they cannot be reconciled with it.
We have undertaken this also for this reason, viz. And assuredly, the duty is especially incumbent upon all the theologians and ministers of the Church, that with such moderation as is becoming they teach from the Word of God also those who either from a certain simplicity or ignorance have erred from the truth, concerning the peril of their salvation, and that they fortify them against corruptions lest perhaps, while the blind are leaders of the blind, all may perish.
Wherefore, by this writing of ours, we testify in the sight of Almighty God and before the entire Church that it has never been our purpose, by means of this godly formula for union to create trouble or danger to the godly who to-day are suffering persecution.
For, as we have already entered into the fellowship of grief with them, moved by Christian love, so we are shocked at the persecution and most grievous tyranny which with such severity is exercised against these poor men, and sincerely detest it. For in no way do we consent to the shedding of that innocent blood, which undoubtedly will be required with great severity from the persecutors at the awful judgment of the Lord and before the tribunal of Christ, and they will then certainly render a most strict account, and suffer fearful punishment.
Therefore before God and all mortals we once more declare and testify that in the declaration of the controverted articles, of which mention has already been made several times, we are not introducing a new confession, or one different from that which was presented in the year to Charles V, of happy memory, but that we wished indeed to lead our churches and schools, first of all, to the fountains of Holy Scripture, and to the Creeds, and then to the Augsburg Confession, of which we have before made mention.
We most earnestly exhort that especially the young men who are being educated for the holy ministry of the churches and schools be instructed in this faithfully and diligently, in order that the pure doctrine and profession of our faith may, by the help of the Holy Ghost, be preserved and propagated also to our posterity, until the glorious advent of Jesus Christ, our only Redeemer and Savior.
Since, therefore, such is the case, and being instructed from the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures, we are sure concerning our doctrine and confession, and by the grace of the Holy Ghost our minds and consciences have been confirmed to a greater degree, we have thought that this Book of Concord ought to be published. For the result of these things, at length, is that the pure doctrine is obscured and lost, and nothing is transmitted to posterity except academical opinions and suspensions of judgment.
To these considerations was also added this that, agreeably to the office committed to us by God, we understand that we owe our subjects this, viz. For from the beginning of this work of peaceful settlement, indeed, we have not been of the opinion, neither are we even now, that this work of concord, which is so salutary and exceedingly necessary, should be removed from the eyes of men, and altogether concealed, and that the light of heavenly truth should be placed under a bushel or table; wherefore we ought in no wise to defer its publication.
Nor do we doubt that all the godly who are lovers of the heavenly truth, and of concord pleasing to God, will approve, together with us, of this salutary, useful, godly, and very necessary undertaking, and that they will act so that nothing may be wanting in them, even to the greatest effort, whereby the glory of God and the common welfare in both temporal and eternal things may be promoted.
Conclusion 23] We indeed to repeat in conclusion what we have mentioned several times above have wished, in this work of concord, in no way to devise what is new, or to depart from the truth of the heavenly doctrine which our ancestors, renowned for their piety, as well as we ourselves, have acknowledged and professed. We mean that doctrine, which, having been derived from the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures, is contained in the three ancient Creeds, in the Augsburg Confession, presented in the year to the Emperor Charles V, of excellent memory, then in the Apology, which was added to this, in the Smalcald Articles, and lastly in both the Catechisms of that excellent man, Dr.
Then, also with the rest of the Electors, Princes, and Deputies of the Holy Roman Empire, and other kings, princes, and magnates of the Christian state, in accordance with the constitution of the Holy Empire, and the agreements which we have with them, we determined and desired to cultivate peace and harmony, and to render to each one, according to his rank, all duties belonging to us, together with the offices of friendship. We will also take pains, if either controversies already composed should be renewed, or new controversies concerning religion should arise, to remove and settle them betimes, for the purpose of avoiding offense, without long and dangerous digressions.
Augustus, Duke of Saxony, Elector. John George, Margrave of Brandenburg, Elector. John, Bishop of Meissen. Philip Louis, Count Palatine on the Rhine. George Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg. Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg. Otho, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Henry the Younger, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg. William the Younger, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg. Wolfgang, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg. Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg. Louis, Duke of Wuerttemberg. The guardians of Ernest and Jacob, Margraves of Baden. George Ernest, Count and Lord of Henneburg. Frederick, Count of Wuerttemberg and Moempelgard. John Gunther, Count of Schwartzburg.
William, Count of Schwartzburg. Albert, Count of Schwartzburg.
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Gottfried, Count of Oettingen. People may receive the Body of Christ either on the tongue or in the hand. The priest or other minister offers the Eucharist to each person saying, "The Body of Christ. The unity of voices echoes the unity the Eucharist brings. All may spend some time in silent prayer of thanksgiving as well.
The Communion Rite ends with the Prayer after Communion which asks that the benefits of the Eucharist will remain active in our daily lives. The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar. As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ.
The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar, the place of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward.
The Prayer over the Offerings concludes this preparation and disposes all for the Eucharistic Prayer. Additional Information on the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Bread for the Mass. By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or sponsoring organizations.
Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass.