What glory means and how it relates to our Easter Season


 

Gloria“Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified/Doxa, and God is glorified/doxa in him. If God is glorified/doca in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once  As I have loved you, so you love one another.”

This is what Jesus tells us this Fifth Sunday of Easter. The Greek word used for “glorify,” is the same word from which we get “Doxology.” It literally means an opinion, any opinion, but as in any doxology, it is an opinion of someone who is good. The Latin word the Vulgate uses is “Clarify,” to make clear. The Hebrew word is different and is used in Kaddish.

kaddishMay His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Cong: Amen.) in the world that He created as He willed. (Our Father, who are in Heaven, hallowed by your name) May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days, (Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.) and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel, swiftly and soon. Now say: (Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever). Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One Blessed is He beyond any blessing and song, praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now say: Amen

The word Kaddish uses for “Glorified,” is the word the Aramaic Pashittah uses to translate “Doxa.” One dictionary defines this Aramaic term as, “To improve, raise in value, to make a profit. Therefore, the definition continues, it means to praise and therefore to sing. From this comes the idea of spreading and germinating. It means to speak with pride of or to commend. We thank someone for doing great things for us. We praise them for being the kind of person who does such things. We do not directly raise God’s value. We do proclaim his value when we praise him. When we say, “I praise you God,” we mean, we speak of him with honor and we are offended when his name is spoken in vain, and say so. The Aramaic word, not Greek or Latin, is the word we understand for “Glorify.” 

We need to be careful. The Jewish faith and the Catholic faith are sister faiths. Rabbinic teaching was just getting started when Jesus was alive. Both of the two great schools of Judaism, including that of Rabbi Hillel whose grandson was Gamaliel, was the Jewish St. Francis and a great influence on early Christianity. Jesus quotes him early and often. The similarities between Kaddish and the Our Father are striking. It is as likely that they both come from a common source, Torah, prophets, and writings, as that one copied the other. Coming from a common source, a Semitic source, we can use the understanding coming from one, the Jewish source, to help us understand the Semitic Jesus.

weightyA related term is “Kabod,” and translates as “Glory.” The difference is that the root idea of “Kabod,” is “Weight,” and therefore, “Importance.” When we glorify God, we speak of his importance. Luke 22:27 is interesting. “Who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves.” The problem is that Greek has no punctuation, therefore no question. Another valid translation is, “Who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? It is not the one seated at table! I am among you as the one who serves.”

There is an interesting pun in Hebrew. Abba means Father, as most know. Ha Bah is the one who is to come to create a perfect world, Jesus, and God, as our Second Reading tells us. A Ha Bah is love. It is welcoming each person we meet into our very selves. Jesus gives us a new commandment; love one another. That is, be a community. Jesus has just stripped and washed his followers’ feet. Only slaves strip. That is the degree to which Jesus commands us to love. Kaddish is most generally called the Mourner’s Kaddish for a reason. Jews most generally recite it at funerals to remind them of “Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,” and in the meantime we focus upon our purpose in life, to love and serve God. Jesus washes the disciples feet in preparation of his death, funeral, and resurrection. True glory is on the battlefield, when guts are spilled on the ground and blood squirts everywhere. True glory is being willing to undergo this for others, not in standing upon the podium afterward, waving a fancy piece of brass.

During the Last Supper, everyone reclines, as is the Jewish custom. The reason is that slaves do not recline. All are free and all are equal. We are all slaves to each other, and that makes us all free. As we prepare for the Eucharist, we no longer recline according to the Jewish custom. The question is, “Do we truly love one another? Do we know the true meaning of the Our Father? Do we spread the Gospel, not by what we say, but by what we do? Do we take time out to say our Catholic Kaddish, the Our Father, and in the process, remember God is in charge? Do we remember our call to bring healing to our world, to guard and keep our world, the Garden of Eden?

 

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