What a great article!
…However, let’s stop for a moment and ask whether Jesus would recognize Catholic worship. The assumption is that Jesus is a simple, wandering preacher–a rustic carpenter from Nazareth. Jesus is the equivalent of Pastor Bob from the Backwoods Bible Church who has studied for two years at Buckboard Bible College and then set up his church.
The view of Jesus as the simple country preacher does have some connection with the real Jesus, but we also have to remember that Jesus was a first century Jew. He would have been familiar with, and shared in the rituals and traditions of synagogue worship as well as the worship of the temple. What was this worship like? First of all, the synagogue worship was formal and liturgical. They used set prayers and established readings as Catholics do with their liturgy and tables of readings. Furthermore, the worship of the ‘domestic church’ for Jews was structured around seasons and feasts. Throughout the year, as Catholics do, they celebrated certain feast days and fast days. For the feasts they had structured, ceremonial meals that they shared together. These ceremonial meals consisted of set, written prayers and psalms and Scripture readings.