If having to choose one word to describe the life of Christ, the life of God incarnate, it would have to be “death.” The Son of Man was born to die, while the rest of humanity is born to live. Most seem to have forgotten the life of Christ on earth, a life leading up to His Crucifixion. Yes, it is the Resurrected Body of Christ that gives all life after death, but it is also the Body of Christ on the Cross that conquered a world of sin, that poured out every last drop of His Blood on earth fulfilling prophecies from the past. It is the example of sacrificial love for all to follow, as Christ mentioned in the Gospel of John, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This topic, as well as many others were discussed by His Excellency Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo in his beautiful talks on the History of Chaldean Liturgy.
Held at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, His Excellency has had two wonderful talks elaborating on how the Liturgy of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle is truly heaven on earth, beginning with the importance of the icon of Christ’s Body on the Cross. As mentioned above, Christ was born to die and visualizing His ultimate sacrifice reminds all baptized Christians of God’s love for humanity. His Excellency also went into detail of the Letters of St. Paul and how St. Paul continuously proclaims the death of Christ, as well as reading historical writings from Mar Addai and Mar Mari on the necessity of having the Body of Christ on the Cross. Unfortunately, not all Chaldean Catholic Churches throughout Michigan and most of Iraq understand the importance of witnessing Christ Crucified as they have completely removed the Body of Christ from the Cross, leaving two bear pieces of wood attached to one another.
Continuing through his talks, His Excellency Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo expressed the need for humility from all people and the importance of expressing this humility during Mass. As Christ’s death on the Cross allows all to overcome sin, it also unveiled the Holy of Holies to all who follow His truth. Yet, just as one would not enter their friend’s house without their permission, so must all ask permission to God in entering the Holy of Holies. As the Veil is closed and the people of the Mass proceed in front of the curtain, what better way to ask permission in entering the Holy of Holies where Jesus Christ resides than praying the prayer that He taught us in the Our Father? This beautiful procession in Liturgy leads the people of God to enter the Holy of Holies is performed during every high mass in the Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle.
As Heaven is truly brought down to earth during the Liturgy, His Excellency connected the Liturgy of the Mass to both the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Revelation. Both books foreshadow heaven, the eternal mass, and go into detail on how the angels and saints praise and glorify God as they cry out “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,” (Rev. 4:8) and “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3). What a wonderful and fitting way to glorify God by actually using visions of heaven from Holy Scripture. Yet, nevertheless, quite a few Chaldean Catholic Churches throughout Iraq have disregarded the prayers in heaven and have cut them out of what’s remaining in their Liturgy, a Liturgy that has been polluted with coffee tables as altars, Iraqi flags with the description of “Allahu Akbar” used as cloths for the altar while allowing Muslims to pray their prayers inside the Church during Mass.
As mentioned, these wonderful talks are being held at the Cathedral of St. Peter, on Wednesdays. The times, however, have changed as they will now be held starting from 5:30pm to 6:30pm; if unable to attend, live streaming will be available through kaldu.tv.