The Catholic Parish of
Blessed John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Language.

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Isn't language a wonderful means of communication? Without it we would be left with a series of grunts, or perhaps hand movements, much like stone age man is depicted. But when you look at the number of different languages spoken on our small planet not to mention the number of regional dialects, we may sometimes think it would be much easier if we all spoke the same.

English is the predominant language spoken in most European countries, but even they have their own regional dialects and wouldn't it be a bit boring if we all spoke the same and had the same customs as each other. Going abroad for our holidays would lose some of the excitement of stepping outside our hotel and making genuine contact with the local people and practising the few words we had managed to learn with the help of a phrase book prior to the commencement of our holiday.

But what of the many difficulties faced by our missionaries trying to translate the word of God and the scriptures into so many different languages and customs. For instance, how do you translate the phrase, "Whiter than snow,” in a country where snow never falls? Or referring to “The Lamb of God in a country where the only four legged animals ever seen are pigs and rats. They have never seen a sheep or a shepherd, so what does the story of the “Good shepherd” mean to them? Bread is not the staple diet in many parts of the world, so for instance a Catholic Eskimo saying the Lord’s Prayer, for it to make any sense would have to say, “Give us this
day our daily fish.” Surely, the actual words are not so important as the meaning behind them, for example in Nicaragua, the Miskito Indian tribe have a beautiful phrase for “forgiveness” which translates as, “Taking a man’s fault out of our hearts.”

Surely, the “Good News” taken to any part of the world and in any language will always be the same message given by Jesus to us all, “Love one another, even as I have loved you.”


“We express our life through our work and our interests. Our lives are snapshots, lived moment by moment and who we are, only becomes clearer through what we create.”



Published Fri 14th Nov 2014 17:00:31

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