The Cohen/official is not someone who died two plus millennia ago. Times are dark and gloomy. “Upon you, the NAME shines and over you appears his weight. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you.” The sacrament calls us to be happy people with happy leaders. We complain about how our nation has a lack of leaders. In our recent election, we did, in fact, elect a distorted cross between Nero and Caligula. There is plenty of room for doom and gloom.
Back in the ‘60s we had a song, “One Tin Soldier.” It went something like “Listen people to a story that was written long ago, ’bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folks below. On the mountain was a treasure hidden deep beneath a stone, and the valley people swore they’d have it for their very own.
“Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of heaven, You can justify it in the end. there won’t be any trumpets blowing, come the judgment day, on the bloody morning after One tin soldier rides away.
“Now the valley cried with anger, ‘Mount your horses, draw your swords and they killed the mountain people, So they won their just rewards Now they stood before the treasure on the mountain dark and red turned the stone and looked beneath it peace on earth, was all it said.”
It does say a bit more to us Christians. “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world, is full of trickery. Let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of God, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
The mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his dedicated apostles and Navy by the Spirit: that the crowds are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. We have elected a version of Nero mixed with Caligula for president. Times are dark. The world is a sham full of drudgery and broken dreams. Still, we must keep our focus. The valley folk below are after our wealth, but our wealth is, or at least ought to be offered to the world free. Our wealth is Jesus Christ, and we need to Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, we need to be on good terms with all persons. We need offer our prize placidly. St. Francis, the Patron Saint of our Franciscans also taught us to go placidly, to preach the gospel, and if necessary to use words.
Remember, our Gospel for the Feast of the Epiphany is the story of the wise men. They come to Jerusalem and meet the conservative politicians of their time. They meet the king, the president of their time. He sends them off to find his replacement. It would not take an Einstein to figure out where they are in the pecking order of things.
There are many like us, liberals, who search for the truth. We look in natural law, the laws of science, the ways things are, and from that search to find the eternal truths of God. We know that the conservatives start with dogma, and then strive to make reality meet those truths. We know they put themselves in the position of God, deciding what will be true and what will not be true. We listen to the Desiderata’s truth and that of the Gospel, “Many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.” “I have been most zealous for the NAME, the God of the procession of heaven, but the Israelites have forsaken your Brit. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets by the sword. I alone remain, and they seek to take my life.” “I will spare seven thousand in Israel—every knee that has not bent to Baal, every mouth that has not kissed him.” Elijah thinks he is the only one, but there are seven thousand others.
They listen to the advice of the Desiderata. ‘Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. Let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love.” They know of Herod’s trickery. They also know about the trickery of Herod’s prophets, the Pharisees. Let us also listen to their trickery. Jesus is found in the House of Bread in the country of Judah/Eucharist and is found in a feeding trough. He is found in the Mass.
They also know of the virtues of the shepherds, in the humility of Mary and Joseph who go placidly amidst all of the petty politics, or the princes and of the nobles/the business owners. They find the beauty of the world in the infant Jesus in a feeding trough. There are many of us. The task at hand is to assemble, to go placidly, and to bring our reward to the world. There is no room for saying there are no leaders. Be the leader. Be the ripple in the world. Find the twenty-year-olds of the world, develop them in our colleges and universities to be the seven thousand, the future political, economic, and religious leaders. Then go out to heal and transform the world.
“Put/Shemo My name/Shemi upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” This passage relates to leadership, first to the leadership of the Cohen/official, and then to the specific official we call the priest. When Leonard Nimoy felt the need to come up with the Vulcan Salute, he fell back on his Jewish heritage. The Vulcan Salute is the Hebrew Shin, and it stands for “El Shaddai,” or God of the Lump, as in mountain, “God of the Heights.” “When they put my name on them when I brand them with my name.” It also stands for Shalom/Tranquility, and for Shekinah, the Holy Spirit who comes with the Priestly Blessing. The picture of Leonard Nimoy links to the video.
Those also who fell asleep received the seal of the Son of God. “Before a man bears the name of the Son of God he is dead, but when he receives the seal he lays aside his deadness, and obtains life. The seal, then, is the water: they descend into the water dead, and they arise alive. And to them, accordingly, was this seal preached, and they made use of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God.” Shepherd of Hermes: Similitudes 9: Chapter 16 The seal is about life, not rules.
In all of our fights we must show concern for the Sheep because they belong to God and not to us.
τὴν σφραγῖδα is a stamp like the Roman military used to brand its troops.
“Now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two masters–God and Cæsar.”Tertullian: On Idolatry: Chapter 19, On Military Service.
On the subject of the sacrament, which he receives…the signs of divine things are things visible, but that the invisible things themselves are also honored in them. On Catechizing the Uninstructed: Chapter 26
“God the Father sealed Him.” What is to seal, but to put some particular mark? To seal is to impress some mark, not confounded with the rest. To seal is to put a mark on a thing. When you put a mark on anything, you do so lest it might be confused with other things, and you should not be able to recognize it. Lectures on the Gospel of S. John Lecture 25 Chapter 11.
In Numbers 6, the stamp, the τὴν σφραγῖδα, is the name of God and the Cohen places it on the people with a blessing. The sacramental sign, the sacramental seal, is a blessing. Read the first part of Numbers 6.
“When either man or woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the NAME, he shall abstain from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar of wine or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried…. All the days of his being a Nazarene dedicated he is to the NAME… this is the law of the Nazarene. When the days of his consecration are fulfilled…: he shall present his offering unto the NAME, one he-lamb… for a burnt-offering, and one ewe-lamb… for a sin-offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings.”
At the end of being a Nazarene, the person brings a sin offering. What is his sin, if he did it all according to the program? A Jewish source points out how the key phrase is that the man or the woman utters the vow. Leviticus 10 tells the story of Nadab and Abihu who offered sacrifices not commanded. “Nadab” means to offer willingly. “Abihu” means “He is my Father.” They are not trying to rebel, but are overzealous in their giving.
In the story of Adam and Eve we read God’s command, “The NAME God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of what is satisfying and what is rotten.” Eve tells the snake of the command. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘you shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’”
Notice the addition about touching. There is a Midrash to the effect that the snake grabbed Eve and pushed her into the tree. “There, now you have touched it.” God knows our limits. He does not give commands that surpass them. When we try to surpass them, we become bitter and when we become bitter as leaders, we treat our charges bitterly. God’s way is toward life and blessing. Our baptism, our mark is to be toward life and blessing, not rules and rot. The sin of the Nazarene is that he goes beyond what God requires; he is more pious than God desires him to be. God is the God of Life, not of rules. He wants each of us to live. God wants us to be better leaders, not bitter ones.
As a point of reference, Spock was the Star Trek peacenik. When we are joy-filled, we are peaceful people. When we are bitter, we sub-consciously try to resolve the conflict, and that means hurting other people. Jerusalem means, “City of Peace.” “David,” means “Beloved.” If we are going to live in the city of peace, we must be beloved, like David, and Jesus. The star translates, “I am to my beloved/David and David/my beloved is to me.” Shin refers to peace, the peace of completion. Shalom translates as completion, and therefore, as peace. We truly are only complete when we are happy, not bitter, when we are at peace with ourselves.
Read the Gospel for this Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. “Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his Kiddushin, who was with child.” The proper translation of the Hebrew for “Kiddushin,” is married. As presented in recent blogs, Jewish marriage has two stages, Kiddushin, and Nassau. The only difference is that in Nassau marriage, the bride has moved in with the groom and has conjugal rights.
The purpose for this rule, as the rabbis relate, is to focus upon what Catholics refer to as S.P.I.C.E. Spiritually sharing of life between bride and groom through praying together and meditation. It included Physical closeness with plenty of hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, and such. It also included Intellectual stimulations, the need to bounce ideas off one another. It included the need to be Communicative/Creative, and to Express feelings, desires, and joke together.
Marriage is a sacrament having invisible and visible parts. The invisible part is that it reflects the divine dance of the three persons of the Trinity as they with each other, and indwell in us. Leonard Nimoy correctly pointed out how in our First Reading, when the Cohen ends the blessing, the Shekinah, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells among us. He does so through S.P.I.C.E. This means having fun, living life to its fullest, John 10:10.
St. Paul relates this in our Second Reading, “We receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are a son and if a son then an heir, through God.” We are not servants to be hired and fired, tormented and let go. We are fellow children who have to live with each other for the rest of our lives, eternity. Mary does not keep these things in her head. “She kept these things in her heart,” as our Gospel, tells us.
Luke has the shepherds find Jesus. John 10 is about the Good Shepherd. Shepherds are the leaders of the community. “Pastor” is a fancy German word for a Shepherd. Shepherds/ Pastors went in haste to Bethlehem Beth Lechem/House of Bread, which is in the land of Judah/ Thanksgiving/Eucharist and found Mary/Aramaic for Leader and Joseph, Hebrew for Heal, and the infant lying in the manger/a feeding trough. When they saw this, they made known the message told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.
The invisible aspect of this sacrament is that we find Jesus in a feeding trough, in the house of bread, in the Eucharist. Shepherds, humble people, find him. Future readings this month will focus on how dark things are. They are dark. We did just elect a sadistic, woman and minority hater who wants to go against God’s will by cutting services for the poor, supporting a nuclear war and building a wall to keep minorities out of our land of immigrants.
This also relates to the importance of our Mass. Shekinah, the Presence of God comes in the Eucharist. It is not to be taken lightly.
Our readings are for the leadership. He will tell us, “See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples.” We must see this if we are going to be effective leaders, but in the midst of all of this doom and gloom, he will also tell us, “Upon you the NAME shines and over you appears his weight. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.”
This is the Semitic you. “The NAME, our God, cut a Brit with us at Horeb; not with our Fathers did the NAME cut this Brit, but with us, all of us, alive here, this day.” Deuteronomy 5. The Semitic “You,” in this passage is not the audience who originally read this passage, but you, the reader, alive, here, today.
The Cohen/official is not someone who died two plus millennia ago. Times are dark and gloomy. “Upon you, the NAME shines and over you appears his weight. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you.” The sacrament calls us to be happy people with happy leaders. We complain about how our nation has a lack of leaders. In our recent election, we did, in fact, elect a distorted cross between Nero and Caligula. There is plenty of room for doom and gloom. There is a leader in every home. The secret is not in being pious or overly devout. The secret is in being family. If you cannot find the leader in your home, you are it, bless the people! Help bring Shekinah! Remember, Christianity beat Nero and Caligula once. It took 300 years, but we accomplished the task, starting with one man who realized he was the leader in his home, the small outcast village of Nazareth. The message of Advent is not doom and gloom, but hope for the future. We beat him once; we can beat him again. Live long and prosper.
 Schaff, Philip. Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2 – Enhanced Version (Early Church Fathers) (Kindle Locations 2529-2532). Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Kindle Edition.
 Augustine, Saint. The Complete Works of Saint Augustine: The Confessions, On Grace and Free Will, The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, Expositions on the Book Of Psalms, … (50 Books With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 137465-137466). . Kindle Edition.
 Augustine, Saint. The Complete Works of Saint Augustine: The Confessions, On Grace and Free Will, The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, Expositions on the Book Of Psalms, … (50 Books With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 121637-121640). . Kindle Edition.
So begins the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Omer. The Omer is with God. God is the Omer.” The current theory is that John was a Samaritan. He wrote in Greek, but he probably thought in Aramaic, sister tongue to Hebrew. It is like comparing French and Spanish. It is possible for a Spanish speaker to sit down and read French. The Spanish speaker, if he chooses to, can fill in the blanks where the two languages differ. Semitic languages like Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew do not properly speaking have past tenses. Everything is either perfect or imperfect in present time. “Omer” means two things in Hebrew. First, it means “Word.” Second, it means “Lamb.”
All of what God made is upon his hand and there is not a Deborah/synonym of Omer, which he did not make without him.
בּוֹ נִמְצָא חַיִּים וְהַחַיִּים הֵם אוֹר הָאָדָם
In him is life and the life is the Oar/Omer without the “M,” of man. The letter “M” stands for water in Hebrew. The ancient letter was a line commemorating the shore, with a “W” on top to represent waves.
Hebrew has a construct case and uses the same word for faith as it uses for truth. “He is the light of faith which comes into the cosmos to witness to the light to all men.” Another perfectly proper translation is, “He is the true light…”
Since the Torahּ came in the hand of Moses. Chesed/grace/kindness and Amen/faith/truth comes out from the interior of the womb of Jesus Messiah.
The lamb/the one sacrificing himself is the word. He is the flesh and the Good News. He is the Omer who is the Oar. The missing letter, “M” calls to mind our baptism in the water. He is the light who is the life/Chiam. This is supposed to be a powerful statement of Christian ethics. It is all about life. Life is more than Bashar/flesh and Dam/blood. Life is the Bashar, the Good News for all people. If you are not about life, you have not the Good New/the flesh of God, within you. We are called to be Christian, meaning Christ-like, sacrificing ourselves for God and for each other.
Jesus gives us the power to become sons of God. That means being a family. If we are family, how can we stand by while we watch our sisters be talked about as if they are things, for errant boys to grab their kittens? If we voted for someone who talked like this, we need to go to confession. How can we stand by while we see people not able to fulfil their lives, their potential, in this world? If we voted for someone in the past election who plans to cut social services for those in need, we need to go to confession. If we voted that people who are dark complexioned, or speak funny/Hispanic or who think funny/Muslims are not a part of us, we need to go to confession.
To have the power to become Sons of God means to have the power to see all people are related to us. How can we allow family to be mistreated? If we do not treat all people as family, it means either God never gave us that power, or we are not using it. If we are not using it, we are not sons of God. We have not become Sons of God, and the choice is ours.
God gives us grace/kindness and truth/faith. Faith means being in contact with the “Aleph,” the leadership of God indwelling within us. It means having the Mem/the water of regeneration within us. Last, it means having the Tov, the cross of Christ within us. If Christ indwells within us, we are part of the Bride of Christ.
John speaks strongly of this indwelling in his Gospel. This is marriage language. According to Torah law, marriage is a two-step process. The first stage is “Kiddushin,” and the second step is “Nassau.” The two-stage marriage is expressive of the uniqueness of a Judeo/Christian marriage. Marriage is more than two people who choose to share their lives with each other; it is the fusion of two souls, or to be more precise, two halves of one soul, which was severed in two before being catapulted from its heavenly abode into the bodies of a man and woman.
During Kiddushin the couple is married, except they cannot physically express their union. So in the absence of tangible connection, their soulful connection binds the two. Only after the connection of the souls has manifested itself during Kiddushin, laying the foundation for soulful marriage, can the couple proceed with Nassau, the physical aspect of their relationship.
Catholic tradition relates to this as S.P.I.C.E. Spiritually sharing of life between bride and groom through praying together and meditation. It included Physical closeness with plenty of hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, and such. It also included Intellectual stimulations, the need to bounce ideas off one another. It included the need to be Communicative/Creative, and to Express feelings, desires, and joke together.
Mezonot: To provide food and support for his wife “according to his wealth.” Clothing: To ensure that his wife has suitable clothes; this includes household items, bed linen, and dwelling place. Refu’ah: To pay his wife’s medical expenses, should she become ill. Burial: To cover his wife’s burial expenses. Should he predecease her, that she be provided for from his estate and be enabled to continue to reside in the marital home after his death as long as she remains a widow. To have her children by him inherit her ketubah, in addition to what they inherit along with others.
The Husband’s Entitlements from His Wife
Her handiwork: the wife is obliged to perform those household duties that are normally carried out for the family and the home (e.g., laundry, cooking, cleaning, nursing babies, raising his children, etc.); in addition, any income that the wife earns from her labors belongs to the husband. Found objects: items that the wife finds belong to her husband. Usufruct: the income from the wife’s assets belongs to her husband. Inheritance: the husband inherits his wife.
In addition, Nassau adds as the duties of the husband to his spouse, conjugal relations: To have sexual relations with her on a regular basis. The husband does not have that right from his spouse. She has that right from him. None of these rights include the right to abuse his/or her spouse in any way. Therefore, society does not have the right to abuse its citizens, or its guests, in any way.
The groom/God’s job is to provide for his spouse, the Bride of Christ. In exchange, the bride cares for his house and all who are in her home. This would include all of his children, including children that are not hers. How do we love God, as required in Shema? We respect his property, and in particular what God made in his image.
Judaism and Christianity state that man is a social animal, forever part of a family, a natio-. We promote not just justice, but concord, a musical term. We are one with the cosmos. Our harmonies intertwine in the great divine dance with God in perichoresis, a Greek term with foundations in Kiddushin. How can we be one with the cosmos, or one with God, if we are not one with each other if we do not promote the General Welfare? The general welfare is like general seafaring. It is a common faring/journey of all of us to God, nothing less.
Jesus comes through S.P.I.C.E., not our physical wants and desires. Remember, the shepherds found Jesus in Beth Lechem/the House of Bread, in the land of Judah/Eucharist, laying in a feeding trough. He was not found in a place of opulence and pleasure. Jesus has something to say about that when he speaks of the people going out to see John the Baptist. “You are the salt/Molech of the earth. But if salt/Molech loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13 The Hebrew word for a messenger and therefore an angel and a king is also Molech. Being a king, messenger, salt of the world is about far more than supplying basic needs. It is about this S.P.I.C.E. for all people. It is about helping all people live life to its fullest. John 10:10.
Kiddushin means making sure everyone else has Mezonot: To provide food and to support each other according to wealth. Clothing: To ensure that everyone has suitable clothes; this includes household items, bed linen, and dwelling place. Refu’ah: To pay each other’s medical expenses, should we become ill. Burial: To cover each other’s burial expenses.
Basis right and wrong is more; it is tied to S.P.I.C.E. It is making sure all people have the elements of S.P.I.C.E. . Spiritually sharing of life between bride and groom through praying together and meditation. It included Physical closeness with plenty of hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, and such. It also included Intellectual stimulations, the need to bounce ideas off one another. It included the need to be Communicative/Creative, and to Express feelings, desires, and joke together. John tells us that Jesus goes to prepare a place for us. This means preparing for Nassau marriage.
In John 14:1-3 Jesus tells us that he goes to prepare a place for us. This is Nassau language, marriage language. We are currently in Kiddusin marriage with God as the bride of Christ. If we do not fulfill the elements of Kiddushin marriage, why should the groom return to bring us to Nassua/upraised marriage? If we do not fulfill the aspects of Kiddushin, does God really indwell within us? Are we ready for Nassau marriage that comes with the Second Coming? If not, why should he come to get us?
This Christmas, as we celebrate the Vigil Mass, let us think of the most important question of our age. “What is the basic difference between right and wrong?” The Catholic tradition begins with the most important. Shema/hear Israel/those who struggle with God, God is Almighty; God is One. Love God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.” How do we love God? What do we give someone who already has everything, literally? First, we guard and keep, Genesis 2, his garden. Second, we guard and keep what God made in his image, each other.
Then we find two strains of moral tradition in the Judeo-Christian tradition. American tradition, up until a third of a century ago, plus three years, and Catholic/Christian moral tradition agreed on these latter two strains. Catholic moral tradition finds the first strain in Deuteronomy 30:11-19. This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it… I have set before you, life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life!”
This finds echoes in what had been our Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The first tradition focuses upon life, Life lived to its fullest for all people, with liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, where that pursuit presupposes a reasonable chance of success.
In his “I Have a Dream Speech, when Martin Luther King JR. spoke of the “Fierce Urgency of Now,” he also spoke of a check a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” He goes on to speak of how America has defaulted on that check. The sad commentary is that our last election was about that same check. We still default on that check. If we want to know what the issues were in ’63, all we have to do is ask what they are now. M.L.K. J.R. could give the same speech today, not change a word, except changing the beginning to “Seven Score and Thirteen Years ago,” and all the words would ring as true today as they did when Brother Martin gave his speech.
A rabbi once pointed the meaning of Deuteronomy 30:19 out to me. Using Catholic moral tradition/Natural Law Theory, he pointed out that all life is in a process of becoming. Aristotle also spoke of this. St. Augustine followed Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron of our parish, followed St. Augustine. All life is life in potential. “Choose Life,” “Boker Chaim,” therefore means promoting the potential in all human beings, and animals for that matter. That means ending abortion, yes, but it also means promoting the potentiality of life for the mother, and the father as he works in the factory, on the farm or in an office. It means helping all people to be all that they can be. That includes African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists.
This brings us to the third thread of what had been a third of a century and a few years ago, American moral tradition, and what has always been Catholic moral tradition. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…
The key word is “Welfare.” Another word for this is the common journey. Seafarers are on the common journey from port to port.
I remember being in a Catholic Bible study at Little Flower Church when someone asked me what we would call ourselves when we became, “My Delight.” I could not answer that question that day, but I will now.
“No more shall people call you “Forsaken/Eight zoo Bah,” or your land “Desolate/Shem Ma Mah,” but you shall be called “My Delight/Calf see Bo,” and your land “Espoused/ Baalah.” For the NAME delights/Calf eights see in you and he makes your land his spouse/Baal. As a young man Baal/chooses a young lady/Bitola, your Builder/Ben/son marries/Baal you. As the joy of the bride and the groom, so shall your God rejoice in you.”
The key word in this passage is “Baal.” Unlike English, Hebrew has several words for marriage. One of these is Baal. New Advent describes Baal as he who “gives “bread, water, wool, flax, oil, and drink” (Hosea 2:7); he is the male principle of life and reproduction in nature, and such is sometimes honored by acts of the foulest sensuality.”
The Hebrew for Hosea reads, “I will not have compassion upon her children; for they are children of harlotry. Their mother played the harlot; she that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, which give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”
This is the Baal form of marriage. The bridegroom is the great provider for the bride, and for it, there is the spousal duty. The prophets condemned worship/finding worth in the Baalim because this finding worth in this idol meant telling the world there another provider other than God. Today that provider is Mercury, Mars, and Moneto Juno, or the markets, military, and money. This finding worth meant identifying with, becoming one with/adultery with, this trinity.
“When his mother Mary was Kiddushin to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a Tzaddik, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” One can only divorce someone after they are married.
According to Torah law, marriage is a two-step process. The first stage is “Kiddushin,” and the second step is “Nassau.” The two-stage marriage is expressive of the uniqueness of a Judeo/Christian marriage. Marriage is more than two people who choose to share their lives with each other; it is the fusion of two souls, or to be more precise, two halves of one soul, which was severed in two before being catapulted from its heavenly abode into the bodies of a man and woman.
It is interesting that the rabbis ruled that Kiddusin must last one year. Counselors now strongly suggest that engagement lasts at least a year. As a result, Church teaching strongly recommends engagement to last at least one year.
During Kiddushin the couple is married, except they cannot physically express their union. So in the absence of tangible connection, their soulful connection binds the two . Only after the connection of the souls has manifested itself during Kiddushin, laying the foundation for soulful marriage, can the couple proceed with Nassau, the physical aspect of their relationship.
Catholic tradition relates to this as S.P.I.C.E. Spiritually sharing of life between bride and groom through praying together and meditation. It included Physical closeness with plenty of hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, and such. It also included Intellectualstimulations, the need to bounce ideas off one another. It included the need to be Communicative/Creative, and to Express feelings, desires, and joke together.
Mezonot: To provide food and support for his wife “according to his wealth.” Clothing: To ensure that his wife has suitable clothes; this includes household items, bed linen, and dwelling place. Refu’ah: To pay his wife’s medical expenses, should she become ill. Burial: To cover his wife’s burial expenses. Should he predecease her, that she be provided for from his estate and be enabled to continue to reside in the marital home after his death as long as she remains a widow. To have her children by him inherit her ketubah, in addition to what they inherit along with others.
The Husband’s Entitlements from His Wife
Her handiwork: the wife is obliged to perform those household duties that are normally carried out for the family and the home (e.g., laundry, cooking, cleaning, nursing babies, etc.); in addition, any income that the wife earns from her labors belongs to the husband. Found objects: items that the wife finds belong to her husband. Usufruct: the income from the wife’s assets belongs to her husband. Inheritance: the husband inherits his wife.
In addition, Nassau adds as the duties of the husband to his spouse, Familial relations: To have sexual relations with her on a regular basis. The husband does not have that right from his spouse. She has that right from him. None of these rights include the right to abuse his/or her spouse in any way. Therefore, society does not have the right to abuse its citizens, or its guests, in any way.
The groom/God’s job is to provide for his spouse, the Bride of Christ. In exchange, the bride cares for his house and all who are in her home.How do we love God, as required in Shema? We respect his property, and in particular what God made in his image.
Judaism and Christianity state that man is a social animal, forever part of a family, a natio-. We promote not just justice, but concord, a musical term. We are one with the cosmos. Our harmonies intertwine in the great divine dance with God in perichoresis, a Greek term with foundations in Kiddushin. The general welfare is like general seafaring. It is a common faring/journey of all of us to God, nothing less.
That is why our common seating area in the church is the nave/Latin for a ship. That is why the sacristy is raised. On ships, the quarterdeck is the forecastle, upraised section behind the body of the nave, the ship. The earliest churches were built to look like ships. It reminds us of our common faring, our journey to toward God.
“The theme of Our Blessed Virgin Mary’s wedding is to surround. A veil surrounded our Blessed Virgin. She encircled her groom/Joseph. The chupah surrounded them both. The ring, too,was perfectly round. The circle represented the encompassing light that frames their reality, and ours; the supra-natural, manifestations of divine light. For two individuals to become one flesh is to violate all the laws of ego and identity, to overcome the basic existential rule that one and one makes two. Marriage thus requires the activation of the encompassing powers of all those involved.” “All those involved,” means everyone at the wedding. The wedding involves the whole community. That is why in our Catholic tradition, private weddings are not permitted. Then it means, God, Bride, and Groom.
The act of betrothal is kiddushin — sanctification — signifying the uniqueness of marriage where God Himself dwells in the home and the relationship is elevated to a new level of holiness. The transcendent divine dimension symbolized by the sacristy permeates every moment of their lives from this moment on.
The wedding band symbolizes The Transcendent Light’s permeation of the couple’s marriage. It is the permeation of the Transcendent life through all of our lives, as individuals and as a community. It is realizing we are each a majority of the whole, and we are each a minority of one. We are all sailors trying to sail from conception to the grave, and ultimately to God in one piece. The ring is round, signifying the encompassing light.
Marriage, therefore, has metaphysical and very physical aspects. Marriage has the concealed, the divine light, and the revealed, how we live out our lives. The metaphysical aspect is the spiritual bonding . The physical aspect in Kiddushin marriage is not making children. It is running the house. It is doing the dishes, washing the clothes, watching after each other, cooking, cleaning, and in general, caring for the house, the planet.
We are the bride of Christ. Mary is Kiddushin to Joseph. Our Gospel and our first reading speak strongly to the essence of Judeo-Christian morality. Morality is more than making sure that I get mine. It is not promoting life where life is basic sustenance and no more. Morality is about more than providing for the general welfare. It is seeing ourselves in a marriage, parts of the Bride of Christ. The wedding is more than Bride/Groom, and God. It involves the whole community in love. Jesus comes through Kiddushin, not Nassau.
Jesus comes through S.P.I.C.E., not our physical wants and desires. Remember, the shepherds found Jesus in Beth Lechem/the House of Bread, in the land of Judah/Eucharist, laying in a feeding trough. He was not found in a place of opulence and pleasure. Jesus has something to say about that when he speaks of the people going out to see John the Baptist.
Basis right and wrong is therefore tied to S.P.I.C.E. and not justice where justice is giving every man his undefined due. Augustine and Cicero will correct Aristotle by relating that due to music.
St. Augustine, quoting Cicero in his Republic, tells us of the idea society, “As among the different sounds which proceed from lyres, flutes, and the human voice, there must be maintained a certain harmony which a cultivated ear cannot endure to hear disturbed or jarring. This may be elicited in full and absolute concord by the modulation even of voices very unlike one another. Where reason is allowed to modulate the diverse elements of the state, there is obtained a perfect concord from the upper, lower, and middle classes as from various sounds; and what musicians call harmony in singing, is concord in matters of state. This is the strictest bond and best security of any republic, and which by no ingenuity can be retained where justice has become extinct… The people he defines as being not every assemblage or mob, but an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law, and by a community of interests. Then he shows the use of definition in debate; and from definitions of his own he gathers that a republic, or good of the people, then exists only when it is well and justly governed.”
“We the people of the United States of American, in order to form a more perfect union…” I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the Republic…” The people he defines as being not every assemblage or mob, but an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law and by a community of interests… a republic, or good of the people, then exists only when it is well and justly governed.”
This concord corresponds to the Transcendent Light of the Jewish marriage. Augustine ties justice with music. The reason the Jewish count of the Ten Commandments differs from ours is that Augustine tied the Ten Commandments with the strings of the lyre. For a society to be just, the Transcendent Light of God, which Shekinah/dwells in each of us, Deuteronomy 30:11 must serve as a model of human behavior.
Our word, “Nation,” and our word, “Nativity,” have the same Latin root. A nation is a group of people who are born together of the same mother, by birth, by the location of birth, or by shared national heritage. A nation is a group of people who participate in this concord, this light. They provide for the common welfare of all. This means they make sure all people have Life/life lived to its fullest, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The correct definition of basic good and evil is that good means promoting life and participating in this divine light, this concord, this promotion of the general welfare or common journey of all people toward God. It means seeing ourselves in a marriage with every person we meet. It is seeing ourselves in our neighbor and acting to promote the potentiality of life in each person we see. This means a strong social welfare net, strong education, focusing not on the so-called three “R”s, but upon music and art, so we can make contact with that Transcendent Light. It means providing an education that promotes culture, and the class for which the Kennedy’s were so famous. It means helping all people to feel that divine light, that concord God gives us all. Evil is everything else.
Of course, we have recently elected a President who is in his third marriage. He cheated on his first wife by dating his second one. He cheated on his second one by dating his third. While married to his third he bragged about affairs with others. His wife was a model, who posed for magazines very similar to Playboy. Each of the first three people this man put forward as prospective members of his cabinet are in their third marriages.This man’s first choice for working on Global Warming is someone who professes not to believe in Global Warming. He is a person who relishes in not having class.
Through this, he shows he does not understand what marriage is, and by extension, what a people or a republic is. He brags about using nuclear weapons and violence as a natural recourse to solving problems. He supports all people having access to the means to violence/guns and the death penalty. He supports abusing our guests in this land, even if those guests are in our prisons for transgressions. These are all violations of this concord, this transcendent light. These are all violations of both of the latter two threads of basic right and wrong, promoting the general welfare and promoting the potentiality of life. Why did we vote for this man?
Paul, servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel/Bashar of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh/Bashar, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness/dedication/Kiddush through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord through whom we have received the kindness of being sent out to bring about the hearing of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy/Kiddush.
In the original Greek, the above is the first sentence in Romans. The paragraph ends, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Master Jesus Messiah.” We also miss the pun St. Paul almost certainly meant as he wrote, “Set apart for the Gospel/Bashar,” and “Descended from David according to the flesh/Bashar.” The Greeks, in particular, Plato, spoke of the forms, which hold the world together. The Jewish community referred to Torah as one of these forms. When St. Paul speaks of Gospel, he also speaks of the new form, the Bashar, which is Jesus Christ, who comes in the flesh, Bashar. Holiness, Kiddush, also appears
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was Kiddush to Joseph, but before they lived together/bonded as Nassau, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a Tzaddic, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”
One only divorces someone to whom they are married. In Jewish tradition, a bride in Kiddush marriage was married in every way to her husband. The handiwork of the bride is for her spouse. The bride must perform those household duties normally carried out for her family and her home. She did the laundry of her Fiancé, cooked his meals, cleaned his home, and nursed any of his children. Any income she earned belonged to her Fiancé. Any items she found belonged to him, as did any income from interest. His obligation to her was to provide her Mezonot food and support, Lavash, suitable clothes, including household items, bed linen and a dwelling place, which is not to be his home. He must also pay for Refu’ah, medical expenses, should the bride become ill.
The purpose of this was to promote what Catholic tradition calls S.P.I.C.E. or Spirituallysharing of life between bride and groom through praying together and meditation. It included Physical closeness with plenty of hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, and such. It also included Intellectual stimulations, the need to bounce ideas off one another. It included the need to be Communicative/Creative, and to Express feelings, desires, and joke together. Marriage must be bound together with these forces, and not with sexual attraction. The later lasts only a short while. The former lasts a lifetime. When the couple is not able to build their lives on sexual attraction, as they live apart, what remains is the former. They live and work close together. She does his laundry, his cooking, cleans his home, and cares for anyone else living in his house. He proves the materials to do so.
In Jewish tradition, and in ours, this way of looking at the world has cosmic implications. Israel is the bride of God, and the Church is the Bride of Christ. As with the first-century Jewish groom who would often go off to prepare a separate new home for his bride, Jesus Goes off to prepare a new place for his bride in John’s Gospel.
This is a long way from our society where we knowing elect bullies and philanderers to the highest office in the land. Where the bullied of the world face lawsuits and imprisonment if they resist the abuse. Our nation just told the world that bullying in the workplace, and in the home, is perfectly normal and acceptable behavior.
Ahaz tells Isaiah, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Kyrie!” Can we say the same?
St. Paul greets his followers with, “Kindness to you and peace/Shalom. Shalom means tranquility that comes from living together and loving each other. This is a long way from knowingly electing people to the highest office in the land who brag about using nuclear weapons to steal the rock oil from under the dirt of other people’s feet. Yet, this is what we have done, and we have done it in the name of pro-life. Now is the time to sit in sackcloth and ashes. Now is the time to ask ourselves, “What have we done?” Now that the abused of the world know that the American people say that bullying, violence, and death in the name of pro-life are OK, what will they do? Will they roll over and die for our bullies, or will they stand up and fight? I am sure some will do both. We now need to prepare ourselves for the consequences of our actions. We have shown we are not worthy of calling ourselves the Bride of Christ. We are not worthy of the harmony that comes with a well cared for home. We are worthy of the chaos we are going to get.
As we read the Gospel for this Third Sunday of Advent, we need to notice the order that Jesus tells his followers to tell John. First, notice the ending. “Evangelized,” is the Greek word and it is in the present, passive, indicative third person plural. The passage does not say Jesus is doing the evangelizing. It does not say who is doing the evangelizing.
First, it is important to notice, the blind regain their sight. The Hebrew/Aramaic word for “blind” is עִוְרִים. עִוְרִים can both mean awakened and blind. The awakened meet/come into contact with something. They consider and reason about something. The blind meet, come into contact with something they did not see before. The lame walk. The Hebrew word for lame is “Pesach.” Word’s grammar checker does not question this word, and for a reason. Pesach is Passover, from which we derive our Eucharist. The Last Supper was at Pesach. Those who truly experience Pesach, the Eucharist are no longer lame. They no longer have lame excuses for not acting. They now see, something, and they act on it. If you do not see, and if you do not act on what you see, it is proof that you have not truly experienced Passover/the Eucharist.
The Hebrew word used for “lepers/מְצרָעִים,” is the same as the Hebrew word for “Egypt.” Egypt is the oppressive place. “Moses called to all Israel, and told them, Hear, Israel, the customs and the precedents, I speak in your ears, this day, to learn them, and guard to do them. The NAME our God cut a covenant with us in Horeb. The NAME did not cut this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, all of us, alive, here, this day. The NAME spoke with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire.” Notice the candles to the right and to the left of the lectern at Mass, fires. I am the NAME your God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt/מִצְרַיִם, out of the house of bondage.”
The Hebrew/Aramaic in our Gospel then tells us of how the closed up hear and the dead rise up. When we truly experience the Eucharist/Passover, we are closed up no longer. We are now open to the world.
David, (The Jewish community has an amulet for weddings, Ani le Dodi V Dodi Li/I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me. I am to my David/beloved and he is to me.) Let us love one another as love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way, the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him… we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior/Joshua/Jesus/Salvation of the world. Whoever allows that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and him in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us… God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the Day of Judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect/Shalom love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. I John 7-18
Jewish marriage comes in two stages, kiddushin, and Nassau. Kiddish is the Hebrew word for Holy, dedicated, sacred, or consecrated. In the first stage of marriage, the couple is married in every way except the bride has not moved in with the groom. The groom supports the bride, and the bride does the cooking, cleaning, and everything a wife normally does. In Matthew 1, when Matthew says the Mary is betrothed to Joseph, this is what Matthew has in mind. If the groom has the funds, he goes and prepares a new home for himself and his bride.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house, there are many salaries. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare an affectionate joining place for you? If go and prepare an affectionate joining place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” John 14:2-3
John’s Gospel has a couple of different possible meanings. The word usually translated as “Mansion,” can also translate as “Rebellions,” “Perverted “Places,” or “Crooked Places.” “In my Father’s House, there are many perversions. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare an affectionate joining place for you?” Perversion in the house of God is nothing new. As to the second part of the passage, there is a clear reference to Nassau marriage. Nassau marriage means upraised marriage. This is when the bride moves in with the groom, at the Second Coming. The metaphor continues.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip told him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus told him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who indwells/Shekinahs (The Hebrew word for the Holy Spirit is Shekinah and refers to the tent of meeting Joshua lived in, in the desert) in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be made important in the Son.
Until the Second Coming, the reference is clear. We are the Bride of Christ. We are in Kiddishin marriage. Remember, that is a marriage where the wife/Bride of Christ, does all the housework. Being a total family, the Hebrew word for a place when he refers to an affectionate joining place can also refer to customs and nations, God calls for us to recognize how there are different customs in his big dwelling place. When Joshua Ben Nun/Joshua Son of the Fish went to the tent of meeting, there were twelve tribes, twelve different ways of viewing the world. Still, God prepares a room for all of them and all of us, with differing cultures, in his big tent of meeting.
Jesus then says, “אִם־אֲהַבְתֶּם אֹתִי אֶת־מְִֹצתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ. If you love me, guard my Mitzvah.” We, therefore, keep coming back to the same concept. If God heals us, he moves us from blindness, not seeing the humanity in each other, to walking, as in walking to those who need help. This comes through Passover, the Eucharist. It comes through seeing the oppression of others and doing something. If you voted for a candidate who was married several times, and who had a reputation for harassing others, in particular women, entering their changing rooms, bragging about sexual conquests, and how that candidate bragging he could kill someone in Central Park and get away with it, the Eucharist has not moved you. You badly need confession.
God calls us to be pro-life. He calls us to bring the dead in each person we see, to life. He calls us to help all people live life and live it to its fullest. When Jesus speaks of the poor being evangelized to, he is not speaking about himself, but to his followers, us. He calls us to bring all people into Kiddushin marriage, to bring all people to the tent of meeting, to become part of his great extended family. He calls us to guard and care for his planet. That means doing something about Global Warming. Are we doing our chores? The groom is coming, and if not…
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea, “Teshuvah, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken: A voice of one Isaac. In the desert prepare the way of the NAME, make straight his paths. Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent
Greek and Hebrew has no punctuation. Hebrew has no vowels. We speak of the Word proclaimed.
While reading, his (Ambrose’s) eyes glanced over the pages, and his heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were silent. Often, when we had come (for no one was forbidden to enter, nor was it his custom that the arrival of those who came should be announced to him), we saw him thus reading to himself, and never otherwise.” Confessions Book 6: Chapter 3 St. Ambrose came up with the idea of silent reading. Before that point, everything was chanted.
The masses flock to the churches. There we see their chaste acts of celebration, and a seemly separation of the sexes is observed. This is where they learn how they may so spend this earthly life, as to merit a blessed eternity hereafter; where Holy Scripture and instruction in righteousness are from a raised platform in the presence of all, that both they who do the word may hear to their salvation, and they who do it not may hear to judgment. There the precepts of the true God are recommended, His miracles narrated, His gifts praised, or His benefits implored. City of God Book 2, Chapter 28 Most people did not know how to read. The Word was read to them by their elders.
Within the Hebrew texts, there are two similar, yet unique systems of cantillation symbols. The first system is associated with the literary portions of the Bible and the second system with the Psalm manuscripts, the book of Job and Proverbs. There are also two schools of thought regarding these systems. The traditional premise is that the symbols of both cantillation systems represent specific vocal articulations that are used to intone the texts over traditional melodies, the execution of which varies from religious community-to-religious community. The second school of thought is that the cantillation symbols found within the Psalm manuscripts represent specific fixed pitches on which the texts were sung.
When we speak of proclaiming the word, we speak of how these texts were sung. There was no punctuation. The only way to know where the punctuation should be was to hear it sung at Mass, or for the Jews, in Synagogue. “Synagogue,” is a Greek term for the Jewish Beth Knesset or house of study. The general music notation for the reading for the Second Sunday of Advent is “A voice of one Isaac, in the desert prepare the way of the NAME. The linked site has a link allowing the reader to hear the chant, with the correct pause.
With this in mind, we read the first reading. “The spirit of the NAME shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of Ben/building up of others/understanding, a spirit of counsel/tree and of strength, a spirit of knowledge/ assemblage of facts and of fear of the NAME, and his delight shall be the fear of the NAME. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide…”
The Hebrew word for Spirit also translates breath. It also translates, “Smell.” Hebrew scholars have taken this to mean, The aroma of the NAME shall rest upon him: an aroma of clearly knowing what one learned from experience, and of building up (of others) an aroma of being like a tree, soft on the outside, strong on the inside, an aroma of strength. He will have an aroma of knowledge, and an aroma of fear/rayah of the Name. His delight will be in the fear/rayah of the Name. Rayah also translates as seeing and as shepherding. This is a looking to God as being members of his flock.
Hebrew scholars then look at the next section. “Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearing shall he decide.” Messiah decides by smell. Jesus tells us in Mark 4:24, “Βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε.” “See what you hear.” It means the same thing. Jesus uses a mixed metaphor to make the same point. Messiah sees with what he hears. He goes by a sense of smell. He touches people nobody else would touch. He uses all of his senses at one and calls us to do likewise.
This brings us to the cantillation of our passage. “In the desert prepare the way of God.” This intense use of the senses takes time and practice. This is why Jesus goes out to pray. Prayer, in Greek and in Hebrew is reflexive. The Hebrew base is judgment. It is sitting down and reflecting along with God, on how to make our lives better, and our community better. It is sitting down with God and deciding what his will is. It is giving us (not me, but us) our daily bread. That means reflecting with God on how all will have enough to eat. The Greek τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον literally translates the bread of the over being, the spiritual bread. Insofar as it is bread, it is for all. Then comes the call to forgive one another, followed by leading each other into temptation. Deliver us from rot/ ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ, means helping us to all live healthy/vibrant lives. We do this by first seeing each other with all of our senses.
Mark 7 has the healing of the deaf man. Jesus does nothing to fix his speech problem. His hearing problem is solved, and with it, his speech problem. If we do not hear, we cannot speak properly. What we say is gibberish. Mark drives home the point a chapter later in the healing of the blind man in the fishing village/Bethsaida. First, the blind man sees people as walking trees. The Hebrew word for tree, again, is the same as that for a counselor. He sees walking counselors, stodgy old men with no personality. This is how we see our professional people today. They are to go entirely by the rules. They are to be cogs in the machine. They are to put all personality out of their decisions and go by the letter.
Jesus has none of this. The second time Jesus heals the man, he sees. He does not see as we see. He does not see as “professionals” see. He sees the way God wants us to see. Professional comes from how we profess our faith. That means using all of our senses, at once. It judging with the sense of smell, smelling the aroma of all that is around us, in particular, the aroma of God in all people. It means seeing what we hear. It means being just that sensitive. Then the lion in us will be able to rest with the lamb in others.
You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation/ Joshua is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. Second Reading for the First Sunday of Advent.
Our last election saw candidates from two angry branches of the electorate competing against each other through their chosen candidates. Tom Hanks, in a Saturday Night Live skit, captured that difference through the game of Black Jeopardy. He played the white contestant, and competed strongly, as his answers were the same as the minority contestant answers, until the final round. “What lives Matter.” One identified with minorities, the other with citizens of European descent. Their commonality, they both identify as poor, working class. If we do not fix our problem, Germany of the 30’s gives us fair warning. In the meantime, the one thing that is clear is that in half a century we have learned nothing. If we want to know what the issues of the day are, just ask what they were 50 years ago. The only difference is that they have festered for two quarters of a century.
Another great American wrote most of the words that follow. Another great American wrote a song, “Cats in the Cradle.” The song was about how one generation insists on making the same mistakes as the last one. They are the same issues. We know not when Christ will come in the clouds. In Hebrew the word for cloud used in Matthew 26:64 is עַנ. The Hebrew word for “poor” used in Matthew 5:3 is .עֲנִ Now, listen to the words of that first great American and ask what is different, if anything, because now is the time.
Advent comes to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. Now is not the time to settle for second best, because the opposition is even worse than who or what we choose to lead us. Now is not the time to argue for non-negotiables on the one side against some supposed disagreement between those who argue for solutions, which do not work, against other solutions which our own pope has already told us, has never worked in world history. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of income inequality to the sunlit path of justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
Seven Score and thirteen years ago, a great American, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In a sense, Advent comes to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That is where the pursuit of Happiness presumes a reasonable chance of success. America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her poorest citizens are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the poorest of Americans a bad check, a check, which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. Advent comes to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the poorest American is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality, as we count the number of unarmed Americans killed by the hands of those paid to protect them. We can never be satisfied as long as maids, and janitors, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities in which they work. We cannot be satisfied as long as basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity.
We cannot be satisfied as long as our poorest citizens cannot vote because they do not have a plastic card or a birth certificate, and a citizen in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. We face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, the thickness of their wallet or the size of their market portfolio, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!
I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
This is our hope. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, as St. Augustine says in Book 2, chapter 21 of his City of God. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
If America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
Not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Put on the armor (ox’s hoof) of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. Christ did not have ox’s hooves on his body. He had the cross. He did not have wealth. He had is poverty, and the ability to heal. Putting on Christ/being Christian/Christ like, means caring for all of those Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about. It is not settling for second best.
Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.
Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace– based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions–on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace–no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process–a way of solving problems. With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations.
So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives–as many of you who are graduating today will have a unique opportunity to do. But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete.
The field of Catholic Action is extremely vast. In itself, it does not exclude anything, in any manner, direct or indirect, which pertains to the divine mission of the Church. Accordingly one can plainly see how necessary it is for everyone to cooperate in such an important work, not only for the sanctification of his own soul, but also for the extension and increase of the Kingdom of God in individuals, families, and society; each one working according to his energy for the good of his neighbor by the propagation of revealed truth, by the exercise of Christian virtues, by the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
This concession places a duty on all Catholics to prepare themselves prudently and seriously for political life in case they may be called to it. Hence it is of the utmost importance that the same activity… be extended to a suitable preparation and organization for political life. Above all else he must remember to be and to act in every circumstance as a true Catholic, accepting and fulfilling public offices with the firm and constant resolution of promoting by every means the social and economic welfare of the country and particularly of the people, according to the maxims of a truly Christian civilization, and at the same time defending the supreme interests of the Church, which are those of religion and justice.
This all means not starting to plan for the next election as we did the last one, the February before the election. The time to plan for the 2036 election is today. Now is the time. The first speech above spoke of, “We cannot be satisfied as long as our poorest citizens cannot vote because they do not have a plastic card or a birth certificate, and a citizen in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.” The same problem exists today. Now is the time to start resolving the problem by looking for the young people Pope Pius X spoke of and preparing them for public office and then helping them run for public office.
We must find candidates willing to support all of Catholic Social teaching. He currently does not sit in the halls of power. He sits in a classroom at one of our 283 Catholic colleges and Universities, a Political Science Major. Maybe he is a recent graduate, looking for a job, or a student having completed his academic load, now looking to fulfill his practicum. Now is the time to look to find him. It means following the teachings of Catholic Action, now, looking for candidates now! It means looking for secular leaders and church leaders willing to carry the load, Now!
The rulers sneered at Jesus, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him, there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Christ the King Sunday
A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt. He told his people, “See! The Israelite people have multiplied and become more numerous than we are! Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase; otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies to fight against us, and so leave the land.” Exodus 1:8-10
“Come, let us deal shrewdly with them,” I remember forty-two years ago, and many times since when this question came up. How did Pharaoh deal shrewdly with the Hebrews? What did he tell them? Exodus does not say, directly. But it is implied.
Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called: Jacob! Jacob! He answered, “Here I am.” Then he said: I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. I will go down to Egypt with you and I will also bring you back here after Joseph has closed your eyes. So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba, and the sons of Israel put their father and their wives and children on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. They took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and all his descendants came to Egypt.” Genesis 46:1-7
The first thing Pharoah said in the name of being shrewd was, “You chose to be here. That the one true God called them, vocare, vocationed them to enter Egypt was simply left out. Pharaoh did not believe in the God anyway. Likewise, in the case of Jesus, God called Jesus to be on that cross, to save us all. Likewise, God calls each person on our planet to live where they live, and to do what they do for a living. People today call the poorest of the poor to save themselves. When they leave their places of poverty, in particular when it is south of the border, they then tell them they are not welcome here, to go back.
‘We, your servants, like our ancestors, have been owners of livestock from our youth until now,’ in order that you may stay in the region of Goshen since all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”
They are the wrong vocation, the wrong vocation. They are not C.P.A.s and they do not have M.B.As. Many do not have high school diplomas. They are janitors and file clerks and are therefore not welcome in the proper community. They are liberals, not good conservatives because they want help digging out of their poverty. They come asking for help, just as Joseph and his brothers did. We also read of Goshen, Delta land. Delta is about the last place one wants to put herds of sheep. They will trample the ground and the ground will not recover. Pharaoh can then say, “See, we gave them the best of the land, and look what they did to it. They do not deserve any more. Let them die in poverty.”
Last, comes Genesis 47:1-26. This long section tells of how Joseph swindled the Egyptian people out of their land and gave it to Pharaoh, and to foreigners living in their land. Pharaoh can say, “You did it to us first.”
We then read Exodus 13:18 and chapter 14. God, in essence, says, “Hold on Moses; I want to give this clown swimming lessons.” We read in these chapters of how Pharaoh has sclerosis of the heart. “Sclerosis,” is the Greek term the Septuagint uses to describe Pharaoh’s heart. The warning is clear. Eat your vegetables and stay away from the alcohol, grease, and meat that will give you sclerosis. Be compassionate and kind, not carnivores of others.
St. Paul writes in this regard, “In him, all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him, all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
For St. Paul, if Christ is really at our head, there is no room for any of Pharoah’s excuses. We also read in Luke 13:1-17 “At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He replied, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!…
“He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. A woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. The leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, replied to the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” Kyrie replied, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated, and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.”
Why 18? Why not, “Almost twenty.” We have Roman numbers. “I” is 1, “C” is a hundred. “V” is five, and “L” is fifty. Hebrew does the same thing. “I” is ten and “CH” is eight. Chai spells eighteen and it also spells, “Life.” This is our first clue as to what Luke tries to tell us in this passage. Life comes before everything else except God, who is Life. Again, we read about bad choices. The Pharisees come complaining about the bad choices of others and Jesus, in essence, says, “It was not their choice, but if you do not straighten up and get your act straight, you are next.” There is only room for seeing Christ as the head of his Church, and that he calls us to see each other as differing pieces of his body. In relation to that, there is no room for excuses. If one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.
St. Paul speaks of perichoresis, the word from which we derive our words, choir, chorus, and choreography. There is only the one divine dance of the Godhead, Father/Son/and Holy Spirit. Within that, we dance as the bride of Christ. There is simply no room for finding the faults of others within this dance. There is only room for helping others to have the full potentiality of life. Le Chaim!
“In days to come, The Mountain of the NAME’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it. Many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the NAME’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the NAME from Jerusalem.
“He shall judge between the nations and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” Isaiah 2:2-4
Our Bible has a love/hate relationship with secular authority and the concept of society in general. On the one hand, we read how God calls nations, not individuals to his mountain. Mathew 25:31-46 is an address to nations, not individuals. The Greek word for nation is, “Ethnos,” from which we get our word, Ethnic. That is people born together, by heritage if not blood or place of birth. Our word, nation, comes from the same root as nativity, people born together, through shared heritage. With this in mind, we read the Gospel reading for the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time.
“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Gospel Reading for the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
First, we read about how false Messiah’s, saviors, will arise. The German word for a healer, and therefore a savior is “Heil.” “Heil Hitler” means “Healer Hitler,” or “Savior Hitler.” There is only one healer and that is God. Like all false messiahs, Hitler went pointing to false enemies. He told people of wars and insurrections. He told the German people nations would rise up against his nation and Reichs against his Reichs. He told them of all the quakes that would come in his world, of the famines of war, and the plagues that would come from place to place. We will hear of wars and rumors of wars, and his warriors, the Hitlers of the world will tell us of those wars. When people warn us about the enemies coming to get us, whether they be the bad Hombres coming from south of the border, or from the Middle East, rest assured, the false messiah warns us of this war because he plans to cause this war.
Jesus gives us a powerful message here. When people come telling us they will make this nation great again, Hitler said that. If you want to see the results of that, look at Dresden in ’45, or Hamburg, or Berlin.
The Torah tells us the same thing, “A king is not saved by a great army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength. Useless is the horse for safety; despite its great strength, it cannot be saved. Behold, the eye of the NAME is upon those who fear him, upon those who count on his mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through famine. Psalm 33:16-19
Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save. Who breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing. Blessed the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the NAME, his God. Psalm 146:3-5
Better to take refuge in the NAME than to put one’s trust in mortals. Better to take refuge in the NAME than to put one’s trust in princes. Psalm 118:8-9
They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead you to give testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. Gospel for the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Jesus is not talking about High Christology. You find that in John’s Gospel. Jesus speaks of a far more basic message. “He shall judge between the nations and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” Our message is one of non-violence.
There is no man who does not wish to be joyful, neither is there anyone who does not wish to have peace. For even they who make war desire nothing but victory—desire, that is to say, to attain to peace with glory. For what else is victory than the conquest of those who resist us? When this is done there is peace. It is therefore with the desire for peace that wars are waged, even by those who take pleasure in exercising their warlike nature in command and battle. Peace is the end sought for by war. For every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. For even they who intentionally interrupt the peace in which they are living have no hatred of peace, but only wish it changed into a peace that suits them better. St. Augustine City of God Book 19 chapter 12
Our message is in not about raising legitimate love of our ethnic group, America, to the level of idolatry, putting the secular ruler first. It is not about having peace on our terms. We must love our ethnic group, America, but not at the expense of other ethnic groups. God will judge the other ethnic groups. The Hebrew term is “AM,” and means mother, as in motherland, people born of the same mother heritage. We must be people of non-violence. The patriots will hate us, accuse us of not being patriotic if we do not support every conflict fearless leader puts us in conflict with. They will lead us to kings, presidents, governors, and judges to explain our lack of patriotism.
This is what gives us the chance to give testimony, not to the abstractions of Trinity, but to the idea that God is One, God comes first, and his property comes second. That is the environment and everything in the environment, in particular, what God makes in his image, each other.
Where do the wars and where do, the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You desire but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Do you suppose that the scripture speaks without meaning when it says, “The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy”? He bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:1-6
Their land is full of silver and gold, there is no end to their treasures; their land is full of horses, there is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the works of their hands, what their fingers have made… People will go into caves in the rocks and into holes in the earth, at the terror of the NAME and the splendor of his majesty, as he rises to overawe the earth. Isaiah 2:19
We also read of what happens to those who those trusting in false treasure in Isaiah 2:19. Revelation 6 gives the same warning for the end of the age.
The kings of the earth, the nobles, the military officers, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in caves and among mountain crags. They cried out to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. Revelation 6:15-16
If the candidate for public office speaks of massive amounts of military spending, listen to what the above quotes say about that military spending. They do not save. Huge military expenditures do not save the king, and they do not save you. The need for those expenditures should also cause us to look at our value system. Do we worship, a fancy German word meaning give worth to gold and silver, the work of human hands, or do we give value to God? In particular, we read that in Torah, in Isaiah 2:19 today.