Sunday, 21 October 2012

About dates and times, my friends, we need not write to you

"Sojourning" translates the Greek word paroikousa . Paroikein means "to sojourn, to live as an alien," as opposed to katoikein, "to have a permanent residence, to live as a citizen with full rights." The true residence of the Christian is heaven; the time of his earthly life is only a preparation for his permanent residence with Christ. Similarly, the Church will obtain its permanent residence only when the heavenly Jerusalem of which the Apocalypse speaks has come to pass. The same idea is felicitously expressed in Preface 1 for a Mass of the Dead in the Toman Missal; dissoluta terrestris huius incolatus domo aeterna in caelis habitatio comparatur [literally: "when the house in which they sojourn on earth has been destroyed, an eternal dwelling place awaits them in heaven"]... The paroikousa formula also occurs in the address of the Martyrdom of Polycarp.

The meaning of "to live as an alien" lies behind the use of paroikia [Latin: paroecia], "parish", to designate a group of Christians in a city or territory, with a religious leader at their head and with a place in which to gather for the worship of God. But the term parochus which the Code of Canon Law uses for "parish priest" has a different origin: the parochus is a "provider" one whose function is to distribute [Greek: parechein] spiritual goods to his flock.

The Eucharist of the Early Christians / Johanny / 1992

Paul reminds the Thessalonians, "About dates and times, my friends, we need not write to you, for you know perfectly well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. [1 Thess 5.1-2;262]. In this passage 'comes [erchetai]" is in the present tense, just as in the Gospels the messiah is called ho erchomenos, 'he who comes' - that is, he who never ceases to come. Having perfectly understood Paul's meaning, Walter Benjamin once wrote that 'every day, every instant, is the small gate through which the messiah enters.

The Church & The Kingdom / Agamben

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