A reader sent a note about today’s Collect, Thursday in the 2nd Week of Easter, in the Ordinary Form.
Here is the Latin:
Deus, qui salute mundi sacrificum paschale effecisti,
propitiare supplicationibus populi tui,
ut interpellans pro nobis Christus Pontifix noster,
nos per id quod nostri est similis reconciliet,
per id quod tibi est aequalis absolvat.
This is a really interesting, though wordy, prayer. The construction, the parallels at the end, serves to illustrate, I think, the concept of Christ as Mediator, Pontifex. This prayer was in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary, but this way: Deus, qui pro salute mundi sacrificium paschale fecisti, propitiare supplicationibus nostris, ut, interpellans pro nobis, pontifex summus, quos per id quod nostri est similis, reconciliatur, per id quod tibi est aequalis absolvat Iesus Christus dominus noster….
So, we have Christ as our “Pontifex” in this prayer.
O God, who for the salvation of the world brought to pass the paschal sacrifice,
be appeased by the supplications of your people,
so that, Christ as our Bridge-Builder (Pontiff) interceding for us,
may reconcile us through that which is like to us,
and may absolve us by that which is equal to You.
CURRENT ICEL (2011):
O God, who for the salvation of the world
brought about the paschal sacrifice,
be favorable to the supplications of your people,
so that Christ our High Priest, interceding on our behalf,
may by his likeness to ourselves
bring us reconciliation,
and by his equality with you
free us from our sins.
OSOLETE ICEL (1973):
God of mercy
may the Easter mystery we celebrate
be effective throughout our lives.
But there’s more!
Today we have an instance of a change of prayers for this day. The Latin text I have above is from the 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum. The 1st edition of the Missale Romanum from 1969 has this for today:
Concede, misericors Deus,
ut, quod paschalibus exsequimur institutis,
fructiferum omni tempore sentiamus.
And this is what the obsolete ICEL renders.
I wonder how many other prayers were changed between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions!
Let’s go back to that image of the bridge-builder and the construction of the prayer with its parallels which, in sense, resemble the image they are speaking to.
In the sin of our First Parents, the whole human race sinned. We are all guilt of the Original Sin. In that Original Sin a gulf opened between man and God that no man was able to repair. And yet out justice man was obliged to repair it. The only one who could close the gulf was one who was both man and God, one Person with two perfect natures, divine and human. Christ is the great gulf-bridger. He is the Pontifex of all pontifices. He is Summus. There is, as we read in 1 Timothy 2:5, one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. He is the High Priest who is simultaneously the Perfect victim sacrifice which every other priest renews, rather than re-sacrifices.