Monday, December 5, 2022
St. Thomas News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani
By Frank Dado :: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 :: 108993 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Opinion and Editorials

Every Christian has spoken Aramaic (aka, Chaldean, Sourath, etc…), most just don’t know it.  Many Chaldeans are often asked what language they speak.  Inevitably the discussion will turn to Jesus speaking Aramaic.  The bible is littered with Chaldean history and culture, but no clues are more available than the Aramaic language.  Language is important to understanding ones culture, community, and faith. 

Aramaic has been known since the beginning of human history and was the lingua franca of the early Semitic empires. Today Aramaic and it varying dialects continue to serve Chaldeans with a deeper understanding of their culture and Catholic faith.   That meaningful fulfillment is driving a large number of Chaldeans to make the time to strengthen and nurture their roots by learning their native language. 

Aramaic was the language used by the conquering Assyrians for administration and communication.  Following them, Aramaic was the official language used by Chaldeans and Persian empires, which ruled from India to Ethiopia.  During that time, Aramaic was the dominant language, similar to English today. It was used and written upon walls, clay tablets, and on numerous papyri of the region during that period.

Aramaic displaced Hebrew for many purposes among the Jews, a fact reflected in the Bible, where portions of Ezra and Daniel are in Aramaic. Some of the best known stories in biblical literature, including that of Belshazzar’s feast with the famous "handwriting on the wall" are in Aramaic.

So much of the Chaldean faith is tied directly to Aramaic.  Especially the biblical passage, “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani” which is left preserved in its native form.  Why did Jesus cry out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"

In Matthew 27:45-46, it says, "Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"  If Jesus is God, why would He say this?

First of all, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 which begins with, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?".  Jesus quoted this Psalm in order to draw attention to it and the fact that He was fulfilling it there on the cross.  

Consider verses 11-18 in Psalm 22:

“Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.  Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.  They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion.  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;   My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."

The term 'dogs' was used by the Jews to refer to Gentiles (cf. Matt. 15:21-28).  His heart has melted within Him (v. 14).   During the crucifixion process, the blood loss causes the heart to beat harder and harder and become extremely fatigued.  Dehydration occurs (v. 15).  Verses 16 -18, speak of piercing His hands and feet and dividing his clothing by casting lots.   This is exactly what happens as described in Matt. 27:35.

Psalm 22 was written about 600 years before Christ was born.  At that time, crucifixion had not yet been invented.  Actually, the Phoenicians developed it and Rome borrowed the agonizing means of execution from them.   So, when Rome ruled over Israel, it became the Roman means of capital punishment imposed upon the Jews whose biblical means of execution was stoning.  Nevertheless, Jesus is pointing to the scriptures to substantiate His messianic mission.

A further comment:

2 Cor. 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  It is possible that at some moment on the cross, when Jesus became sin on our behalf, that God the Father, in a sense, turned His back upon the Son. 

It says in Hab. 1:13 that God is too pure to look upon evil.  Therefore, it is possible that when Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), that the Father, spiritually, turned away.  At that time, the Son may have cried out.

One thing is for sure.  We have no capacity to appreciate the utterly horrific experience of having the sins of the world put upon the Lord Jesus as He hung, in excruciating pain, from that cross.  The physical pain was immense.   The spiritual one must have been even greater.

That shows us clearly how much God loves us. 

Chaldeans who read or are reminded of that passage “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani” should be humbled by the continued existence of their native language, preserved in the most important collection of documents on the face of this world.  More importantly, we should be humbled by the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, our Christ (King), our God has modeled for us.  

Rating
St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.