Of all things Catholic, there is nothing that is so familiar as the Mass. With its unchanging prayers, the Mass fits Catholics like their favorite clothes. Yet most Catholics sitting in the pews on Sundays fail to see the powerful supernatural drama that enfolds them. Pope John Paul II described the Mass as " Heaven on Earth," explaining that what "we celebrate on Earth is a mysterious participation in the heavenly liturgy."The Lamb's Supper reveals a long-lost secret of the Church: the early Christian's key to understanding the mysteries of the Mass was the New Testament's Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, its mystic visions of Heaven, and its end-of-time prophecies, Revelation mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Eucharist.
As with his earlier Rome Sweet Home, Hahn's The Lamb's Supper seeks to bring scriptural exegesis and Roman Catholic ritual tradition into fruitful dialogue. The central thrust of this piece is that Catholic liturgy offers the best interpretive paradigm for studying the Book of Revelation. Hahn divides his subject matter into three main sections, considering in turn Scripture in the canon of the Mass, various interpretive approaches to the Book of Revelation and the mutual illumination of the Catholic Mass and John's Apocalypse. Apart from vapid section titles (e.g., "Guided Missal," "Resisting a Rest" and "The Need to Heed the Creed"), which detract from the serious themes presented, Hahn treats the material quite competently, and he is candid in his enthusiasm for both biblical liturgics and liturgical exegesis. Hahn's work is a fine introduction to eucharistic theology for the Catholic layperson, offering a crash course in the history of sacrificial worship in ancient Israel. The book has an ecumenical appeal, especially for Lutherans and Anglicans desiring to better acquaint themselves with Catholic ritual and the New Testament. The only consideration noticeably absent from Hahn's liturgical review of Revelation is whether the doxological splendors of the Mass are marred or made manifest in the hastily prepared English translations of the Latin Rite issued in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 1998
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