Thursday, July 18, 2013


Your scrabble word for the day.

In the first reading today we get the announcement of God's answer to the question, what is his name? The answer in English "I am who am" may miss the point. Most English speakers hear that and think of existence. Something either is or isn't.

In Hebrew what it is communicating is not existence but presence. God is not assuring Moses he exists, but that he is present with him, has been with them, and will be with them.

The mass greeting as we know it now in English is
The Lord be with you.
And with your Spirit

In Portuguese they say
The Lord be with you
He is in the middle of us

As to the name of God, the four consonants that represent the name of God are referred to in Greek as the Tetragrammaton, usually transliterated YHVH. Because it is understood to be God's name no Jew will pronounce it and until the modern era no Christian, out of the same respect that would have kept me from ever dreaming of calling my parents John or Marcia.

To this day I cannot imagine walking into the kitchen and saying, "Hi Marcia" to my mother.

Some claim the name of God is pronounced Yaweh, some Jehovah. They are all guessing. Most bibles follow the Jewish tradition and substitute Lord.

Some Catholics thought it silly when the Vatican in 2008 went back to the tradition and forbad the use of Yaweh. I supported it for two reasons:
1) we have no idea if it is the correct pronunciation and few things are as insulting as constantly mispronouncing someone's name.
2) signs of respect are important. Even now I would not say of my parents "John and Marcia were good people." I would say my mother and father or more likely my mom and dad.

Our Christian relationship with God is another both/and. One the one side absolutely intimidate. God is constantly with us. On the other hand respectful. We call him Lord, or God, or if we want to call God by his name we call him Jesus.