Kissing the Altar

Kings, The First and Second books of - The two historical books of the Old Testament that immediately follow upon 1 and 2 Samuel; in the Latin Vulgate, and in translations made from it, these four books are listed as 1-4 Kings.  Written, with a decided influence by the Deuteronomistic history, probably by several authors, who display a distinctive bias for the southern kingdom (as revealed in their condemnation of every king of Israel for maintaining the separate shrines of Dan and Bethel in competition with on Temple in Jerusalem), with a final redaction in the late sixth century, 1 and 2 Kings cover the span of four hundred years.  In 1 Kings, the history of David, begun in 1 and 2 Samuel, is completed.  There follows the monarchy of Solomon and the history of the kings of Judah and Israel up to Ahab.  In 2 Kings, both kingdoms are treated up to the fall of Samaria in 721 B.C.  The books of Kings record primarily Godís plan for His chosen People from the true worship of Yahweh in Solomonís Temple, through their disintegration in the time of exile, to the preparation of the pious remnant, anawim, who would remain faithful to their covenant with God.  The kings themselves are evaluated on the basis of the fidelity of the people under their kingship and their own efforts to remove the pagan shrines, as final holdovers from their Canaanite ancestors.  Of all the kings David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah are viewed positively and praised for their achievements. 
© Fireside New American Bible


Kissing the Altar - The kiss is seen as a sign of love and respect.  The practice of kissing the altar developed since the altar is regarded as a symbol of Christ abiding permanently with His Church in the unending sacrifice pleasing to the Father.  The altar where the sacrifice is celebrated is a symbol of the sacrifice.  Present directives prescribe that the priest presiding at the Mass reverence the altar with a kiss at the beginning and conclusion of the liturgy. 
© Fireside New American Bible


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