Christ the King Sunday, Choice, and Le Chaim

Jess theses statement in LukeThe 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.

refugeeIsrael 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.”

558194_10152070618540191_1924808260_nWe 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 themdo 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!…

Returning to where we started
The great escape in Deuteronomy, Finding Mt. Horeb.

“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.

flamesSt. 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!

Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, watching out for false leaders

Jess theses statement in Luke“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

courtesy Dor Smeltzer Beacon 3Our 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

A founding principle of our republic is about heritage, not personality cults.

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.


Dresden, zerstörtes Stadtzentrum
Dresden ’45

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

detroitBetter 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

Irish bragadeTheir 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.


Marriage and All Saints Day

Jess theses statement in Luke“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 dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” Thomas told him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Gospel Reading for the Feast of All Souls.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18 Gospel Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

The sign from heaven is not up there, but down here.Jewish marriage comes in two parts. They call the first Kiddushin, or Holy things. It was customary to wait for about a year between the ceremony of kiddushin and that of Nassau, the second stage of marriage. Kiddushin was carried out “according to the laws of Moses and Israel.”

This is similar to cannon law. There were three ways to establish kiddushin marriage. In the words of the Mishnah: “A woman is acquired in three ways … through money (kesef), through a document (shetar) and through sexual relations (bi’ah)” (Mishnah, Kiddushin 1:1). There was no such thing as pre-marital sex. Sexual relations consummated a marriage. If you did it, you were married. I Corinthians reflects this. “Anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.” I Corinthians 6:16. A chapter later, it says in verse 7-8, ‘To the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a beautiful thing for them to remain as they are, if they cannot exercise self-control they marry; it is better to marry than to remain on fire.” Corinthians 7:36 has, ‘If anyone thinks, he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, and if a critical moment has come and so it has to be, let him do as he wishes. He is committing no deviation; they are in the act of marrying.”

Gerard van Honthorst Anbetung der HirtenMatthew 19 reads, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? They are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate…” Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. Whoever divorces his wife except on account of nakedness and marries another commits adultery.”

Marriage is more than two people sharing their lives; it is the fusion of animate forces. In Trinitarian language is it peri-choresis, or reflecting the divine dance in our lives. During kiddushin the couple is married, but the couple may not express that union physically. Catholic tradition has what we call S.P.I.C.E.

S represents Spiritual sharing, expressed through praying together or meditation.
P represents the Physical, expressed through closeness such as just being close to one another without genital contact.

I represents the Intellectual, expressed through sharing a project, a book or new learning.
C represents the Communicative/Creative and is expressed through an increase in written or verbal communication or other shared activities.

E represents the Emotional and can be expressed through sharing feelings, desires and humor.

Seder plate small

Only after we grow together using S.P.I.C.E. during kiddushin, laying the foundation for a soulful marriage, can we proceed with the Nassau, the physical aspect of marriage. As Catholics, we also believe marriage requires up to a year wait between announcing engagement Kiddushin Marriage, and Nassau Marriage. Counseling also states a year wait is advantageous. We must make sure we have S.P.I.C.E. or we will fall back on the physical aspect of marriage, and marriages built on the latter, generally fail.

What we experience in this earthly realm reflects a higher super-reality. Marriage between man and woman follows the model of a cosmic marriage between God, the groom, and Israel/the Church, the Bride of Christ. This wedding also consists of the same two stages. In the first stage, bride and groom do not live together. Rather, the groom goes and prepares a place for his bride.

In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? This is Kiddushin language. The groom goes to prepare the house, and the bride herself. We prepare ourselves by practicing S.P.I.C.E in our lives with everyone on the planet? Through his death and resurrection, Jesus gives the ultimate wedding gift. His ring for the bride is the Passion. He then goes to prepare the new home for his bride.

Jesus turns the water into wine, at a wedding

God descended on Mount Sinai and gave us Torah and Mitzvah. He took His most precious and treasured possession, his Torah, and used it as a wedding band. From that moment onwards, we are His and He is ours. Jesus told him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is Torah incarnate. Jesus does not say the only way to get to heaven is by being in the right earthly club, the church. Rather, he says that he is the way, the truth/Emeth/ and the light. The way to heaven is through his death and resurrection. The fruits of this are S.P.I.C.E with every person on this planet, and with the planet itself. The way is following Torah, which starts with remembering our rescue and who it is that rescued us. That is the prologue to the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy states the prologue as relating, “It is not to your fathers that I gave these Mitzvah/Commandments. It is to you, standing here, this day.” Each generation relives the escape from Egypt in present time, for the first time, each time they celebrate Passover. Our Passover commemorated in the Gospel reading for All Saints, is the Eucharist. We relive the Passion in present time, for the first time, each time we celebrate Eucharist. It is our ticket to the divine dance. Let us live that way.



The Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jess theses statement in LukeThey are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘THE NAME,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Gospel for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Hebrew has what they call the construct case. “Elohim Chaim” can translate as both, “Living God,” and “God of Life.” God is not the God of death, war, famine, disease, and destruction, but of life. He made us in his image. We are to be gods, little g, of life, living examples of who made us. He calls us to life, and to promote life in all of creation. That is why Jesus invokes the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

The God of Abraham. That is the God of E Pluribus Unum, from the many one. God loves our diversity and calls us to keep our various manifestations of ethnic heritage. If we do not become autonomous selves, different from everybody else, we are not fully human.  God calls us to be majorities of the whole, and minorities of one.

Statue of Liberty 3We read that God is the God of Isaac. לִזעוֹק Isaac, means to cry. לִצְחוֹק, Isaac means to laugh. The two words spell slightly different, but pronounce the same. Life is all about both laughing and crying. This only comes from fully living life.

“Jacob” means “the heel.” We need to understand that we are not the first. One tradition states that God created man on the sixth day to teach us that he thought of the gnats and the flies before he thought of us. We come last. מָה-אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי-תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ וּבֶן-אָדָם כִּי תִפְקְדֶנּוּ “What is man that you remember him, the son of man that you think of him.” וַתְּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְּעַט מֵאֱלֹהִים “You have made him as a little less than the messengers.” We remember that we came last in God’s creation. We are humble, yet we somehow, in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves supplant. That is how we are like Jacob.

The disciples approached Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child/peidos over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children/peidos, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Matthew 18:1-5

children looking out the windowWe all have heard of pediatrics. This is the field of medicine that deals with children. It comes from the Greek root that also means being a servant. We do not cease being peidos/children when we complete grade school, and the physical changes that come with it. “They are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” We do not cease being peidos when we turn 18 or 21. We are peidos all of our lives. Where did we get the crazy idea that when we turn 12, or 18, or 21 boys become better than girls, or vice versa? We are all God’s children. Where did we get the crazy idea that if people have more, or less, melanin in their skin, they are more or less human, or adult? We are all God’s children. Where did we get the crazy idea that if we have more money than the other guy, we are more human, so are entitled to more? Do we not know that is the peidos, the children, who rise, and not the adults who rise. If we are not like children, seeing each other as equals in the great game of life, we are not going to heaven.

God set mankind into the garden to guard it and keep it as it says in Genesis 2:15. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to love God with all of our hearts, animate being, and measure. How do we love God? What do we give someone who literally already owns everything? We guard and keep, treasure what is his. We respect his property, in particular what is made in his image, including ourselves and each other.

Deuteronomy 30 goes on to tell us that the law is not far from us. It is within us. It then commands us to choose life. God is the God of Life and he is the living God. Life is all about finding the potential in all people, from conception to the grave. It is then helping that person to be all they can be. That is what being people of life is all about. We speak of our Catholic tradition of promoting the General Welfare, of the Natural Law, The Law of Nature. This idea ultimately comes from Deuteronomy 30. It goes through Aristotle, then through Cicero with his “Republic,” and then finds its place in Augustine’s City of God. From there it finds its way into our parish’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas.

St. Thomas Aquinas

The great thinkers of later centuries, including John Locke/Second Treaty on Government, Montesquieu/The Spirit of the Laws, David Hume/Leviathan, all assume this Catholic tradition of Natural Law. Deuteronomy then points to Divine Law as the place from which it comes. It all comes down to promoting life, where life means  life lived to its fullest for all people. It imbeds itself in Catholic tradition, in Greek tradition, and finally in our Declaration of Independence where we state all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. It finds itself in our Constitution in the Preamble, and in Article 2 Section 8. “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare.”


As we meditate on who we are as Catholics and as Americans, preparing to vote in this election, let us remember the ultimate commandment. It is guarding and keeping the garden. It is loving God by loving what is his, in particular each other. It is being servants of Abraham, seeing ourselves in our diversity. It is being sons of Isaac, living life, with all of its pleasures and pains. It is remembering that we are the heel, created last, but being first in the eyes of God. It is remembering that we are all children, servants, doing what our parents told us to do when we were small, “Play nice.”

The republican and the tax collector

Jess theses statement in LukeThe reading for the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time again presents with Judaism’s Baal Teshuvah/The Master of Repentance. The Gospel focuses upon the Pharisee, a Hebrew word meaning the Separate One. He is of the middle class. In the first century, he was the craftsman who had time to study Torah and learn all of its intricate details. He took great pride in knowing the wisdom of the fathers. They had adequate food, clothing, shelter, and transportation and they looked down on those who did not. They were part of the great flight from the inner cities and villages to their own enclaves. They were much like our middle class with the great white flight out of the inner cities.

Being separate from the masses, he says, “I am not like the rest of humanity.” Not like the rest of humanity, he says. “Faith” comes from the letters, “Aleph,” the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “Mem,” the middle letter, and “Tav,” the last letter. “Aleph,” stands for leadership. “Mem,” is in the shape of waves and stands for Baptism, and “Tav,” is in the shape of a cross. It stands for not being separate, but part of total reality.

The Pharisee brags that he is not grasping, uncharitable, or adulterous.  He is like the great mass of, all too often churchgoers, who brag about the 1.5% of their income they give to charity. They brag that they have more than 2,500 local agencies that serve 10 million people annually. Their 18,000 parishes spent an average of $200,000 on the needy every year beyond what they contribute to any of these charitable organizations. Their affiliated charity amounted to 17 percent of the funds spent by nonprofits on social services.

PovertyThe homeless, the poor, the tax collectors who felt compelled to go elsewhere for a living than to their established brothers and sisters for a living are the Baalim Teshuvah. They are the masters of repentance who are constantly trying to find their way back into established community. As individuals, they cannot brag about the billions of dollars they give every year. Many have nothing to give at all. They are the ones who stand with the tax collector begging for repentance for the money they could not give, because they did not have it.

They are the ones who say with St. Paul, “At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf. Everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! The NAME stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the nations might hear it.” Unlike the Pharisee who separates himself from the common masses, the Baal Teshuvah comes from the common masses and knows he cannot escape from them. The Baal Teshuvah cannot help but follow Jesus’ command in Luke 7:44, “Simon, do you see this woman? He cannot help but see her, because, all too often, he is her.

Mark 7 tells us, ““Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot make common/vulgar, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” “What comes out of a person, that is what makes common/vulgar. From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All this rot comes from within and makes common/vulgar.”

1911 portrait of mill workers from Lawrence, Massachusetts. Taken four months before a massive strike swept the city.Read a couple of more passages to understand how God sees things. The first is our first reading for this Sunday. “Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. The NAME is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint. The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the NAME will not delay.

Of our leaders it says, “You may set over you a king whom the NAME, your God, will choose. Someone from among your own kindred you may set over you as king; you may not set over you a foreigner, who is no kin of yours. He shall not have a great number of horses; nor shall he make his people go back again to Egypt to acquire many horses, for the NAME told you, Do not go back that way again. Neither shall he have a great number of wives, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he accumulate a vast amount of silver and gold.” Deuteronomy 17:15-17

There are no excuses. We have an obligation to pick leaders at the local level who will move on to the state and federal levels who are part of us. They are rich. If they are rich, that disqualifies them from public office. They are not like us. They are not to have multiple wives, as one of our candidates for public office has. He has three. God does not recognize his divorces unless the wives are unfaithful. He was the unfaithful one, not his first two wives. Both candidates for public office are rich. Both are disqualified under this rule.

384309_549304955086309_357628736_nOur definition of the proper role of government is found in Psalm 72. This begins, “Le Solomon/to Salomon. It ends, “The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.” This is King David’s definition of the proper role of secular leaders. It includes looking to the needs of the oppressed, defending the oppressed, saving the children of the poor and crushing the oppressor, he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help. He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor. From extortion and violence, he redeems them, for precious is their blood in his sight.

The king does these things, not because he is merciful to those not like him, but because he knows that he is part of them. He is Amen. He is faith incarnate. He is Emeth, faith, seeing God as the great leader, remembering his baptism, and looking to the cross and his resurrection in the Eucharist. The same applies to presidents, congressman, senators, assemblymen, C.E.O.s and Union Chiefs. It also applies to priests and Bishops. God calls us all to be Baal Teshuvah, remembering our own faults and that we are human, from humus. On Ash Wednesday we put humus on our foreheads and remind ourselves, “From dust you came, and to dust you will return.” We all have our faults. We all need to see ourselves as Baal Teshuvah. We are all just a few steps from living the life of the homeless. Let us strive to save the homeless from their fate. God does feel free to give refresher lessons.

Reading for the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Jess theses statement in LukeHear Israel/You who Struggle with God, God is Almighty, God is One. Love God with all of your hearts, with all of your Animate Being, and with all of your Measure. The issues, I command you, this day, will be upon your hearts. You will speak them distinctly (The root word means to sharpen) to your children. You will talk of them when sitting in your house, when on the road, when you lay down for the night, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 The Shemasaints love

This Mitzvah (this is the Jewish word used in the passage) I command thee this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, (the great flow of things/out there) that thou should say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Nor, is it beyond the sea, that you say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that you do it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day; I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life. “Boker Chaim.” Deuteronomy 30:11-19. Luke 10:25-28

The sign from heaven is not up there, but down here.Stand in the things you learned and have been handed on to you as a treasure, knowing from you learned them. From a babe the sacred writings have been made know to you and able to make you wise to Joshua/Salvation upon the hand of Amen in Jesus/Joshua Christ. All writing in the Spirit of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in charity.

This is how St. Paul writes the Twenty-Ninth Document of Ordinary time. Many, including Catholics, are of the opinion that children should be allowed to pick their own faith, when they are teens, or later. This is not biblical. The word for “Hearts,” in Deuteronomy 6:4, Jesus’ Great Commandment, is plural. The word for “your,” is singular. There are two explanations for this. One is that we each have multiple hearts. Jewish tradition speaks of the yetzer hatov, and the yetzer harah, the inclination to the beautiful, and to the rotten. The other is that “hearts,” refers to the entire community and therefore to a multitude of hearts, individuals. Love God with all of your hearts, including your rotten instincts.

PovertyFind the negative aspects of yourself, and find ways to love God with those also. If you are greedy, be greedy in doing good works. Drunks understand this. If you are a drunk, you have an asset. Jesus tradition also includes the Baal Teshuvah, the Master or Repentence. He takes his negative and uses it to fund other drunks and bring them to salvation.

American Flag

The other interpretation is that “hearts,” refers to the entire community. Speak of the distinctly to your children. There is no room here for empty ritual. The Jewish tradition St. Paul speaks of here includes that idea of Cavanah, that if you do not understand what you are hearing at Mass, every word of it, you did not fulfill your religious obligation. Meditate upon them all the time, as Shema says.

Shema says we should love God will all of our hearts, our animate being and with our measure. I once asked a rabbi what the difference was between blood and animate being, soul. He said they were the same thing. Blood is the only organ that touches every other organ of the body, at the same time. It touches everything. With all of our measure means that if we measure ourselves with our strength, we love God with our strength. If we measure ourselves with our wealth, we love God with that. If we measure ourselves with our patriotism, we love God with that. That means we only vote for people who universally support what God supports.

What do we give someone who literally already has everything? That is God. We respect what is his, in particular what he made in his image, each other. We need to note that God does not say we should love him with our concepts. Concepts get in the way of love. We have lawyers because they are great at defining things to death. Concepts are easily manipulated. Luke 7:44 has Jesus say, “Behold the woman. Franciscans have St. Francis and the leper. When we strip away our concepts, truly strip them away, there is nothing before us, but the woman, or the leper.

St. Francis and the leperThere are no Muslims, Jews, blacks Hispanic, Catholics, Protestants, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. There is simply this person in need. That is why Deuteronomy 30 speaks of God’s word not being in heaven or across the sea. It is in each of us. The Bible never says it is in our heads. Luke never speaks of God’s word being in her head, only in her heart. This allows her to see people for who they are.

Many say that we are opinionated because we are not conservative like them. We do not have opinions. We have what is in our heart. Deuteronomy 30 says, “Choose Life.” This is one of the 613 Jewish commandments. All life is life in potentiality. Choosing life means loving God with all of our measure, using all of our resources to make sure all people, each person before us has life in all of its glorious potential. God then calls us to be like the persistent widow, always before the judge, standing up for what is right. We all have what is right, even the crooked judge. We will lose many jobs for standing up for life with dignity for all people Conservatives do not like hearing that. We will love a few lives. Remember, Christianity did conquer Rome.

Yes, that means we need to have a Synod in our diocese in Reno. We need one to bring us back to the basics. From a babe the sacred writings have been made know to you and able to make you wise to Joshua/Salvation upon the hand of Amen in Jesus/Joshua Christ. What is the basis of these writings but Jesus Christ and his presence in the Eucharist? How does it transform us, but by making us choose life, both for ourselves and for everyone on this planet. What separates us from the Protestants, but, “All writing in the Spirit of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in charity.” That includes all that is handed on to us, not just the collection of books we call the Bible. The magisterium’s job is deciding the key part, “written in the Spirit of God.”

We speak of Subsidiarity and Solidarity. What is the former but not doing for another what he is capable of doing for himself? What is Solidarity, but doing everything else. We need a frank discussion to decide the basics and from the basics what is in our hearts, how do find the right tension between the two. Let us work for that Synod.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Twenty Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

statue-of-liberty-chainsThe word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal importance. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we persevere, we shall also reign with him.

Édouard René de Laboulaye the president of the French Anti-Slavery Society first proposed the Statue of Liberty. The project is traced to a conversation between Édouard René de Laboulaye, and Frédéric Bartholdi, a sculptor in mid-1865. The Civil War ended this year. The word of God is not chained.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.

Jess theses statement in LukeWhose day? The Lord’s Day. What is his righteous sentence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In our reading for Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read, “He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Being born in this nation means nothing in God’s eye. What matters is that we hear his righteous sentence. We are all equal, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or sex. We are all created equal. We are also a nation of immigrants. We read in our Fourth Commandment, “Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt/Oppression/Europe/Ireland/the sweatshops of the northern factories, the plantations of the south, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe Sabbath.”

Pro-lifeRemember you were once oppressed. We all have endured oppression in our lives, all of us. In the Eucharist we did with Christ. We die liturgically in the anamnesis, we rise in the partaking of the host. The words of the Battle Hymn sing in us:

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my condemner’s, so with you my grace shall deal”; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.

God does sift our hearts. We stand for the oppressed, those trying to cross some silly wall to find sufficient food, clothing, and shelter for their young, for the minority in the Deep South who does not have a birth certificate because he was born of mid-wives who did not know to get one, and for those who suffer. If we do not, if we are not swift to answer Him, well, we are sifted out.

AnnaIn the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.

Does the glory in his bosom transfigure us, make us into God’s image. If it does, we fight to make men free, in Aleppo Syria, in Mexico City, in Ferguson Missouri, in Florida, in the dozens of cities where minorities are killed because they have too much melanin in their skin, or the speak funny, or they look funny, or they do not think like us, or are we sifted. That is the question today.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary or flame, Choreography and listening the great Chorus of life.

emmitt-tillThe apostles told Kyrie, “Increase our faith.” Kyrie replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would listen to you.

Much time can be spent on this, trying to figure out how literal we should take it. After much thought, we find the key word is “Faith.” Faith, in Hebrew is “Amen,” or rather “Emmett.” The German etymology is not far from the original Hebrew meaning. The German word Emmett, means to be whole. The Hebrew comes from Aleph, meaning the beginning, who is God, the middle, who is the water of baptism, and the end, which is the cross. Together, it means the true cosmic whole. True faith means being in complete contact with reality.

Jess theses statement in LukeThere is no increasing faith. It is being in touch with the whole. In opposition to this is Psychosis, or an abnormal condition of the Psych, or the soul. It is one not in complete touch with everything. The healthy condition is the complete contact with reality, body, mind, and soul. If we are one with reality, reality listens to us, because we listen to it. We know how it naturally responds, and this is what we ask it to do, to be itself, to become itself.

When we separate from reality, the result is what Habakkuk warns us about, “I cry for help
but you do not listen!” When we listen, the trees listen to us. “I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.” When we do not listen, we do not know to intervene. We close our eyes, and we are deaf. Being in touch with reality means seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling all that is in it. It is very sensual. There is no room for violence when we are too busy taking our time to use all of our senses with it.

aleppo“Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.” The short answer is that when we do see, we do not act. There is violence in our world. We do not see the suffering of others. They become desperate, and when they become desperate, they act out, generally acting upon the wrong people.

St. Paul tells Timothy in our Second Reading for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, “stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” The Greeks give us an interesting word, “Choreography.” It is related to a similar English word, “Chorus.” They both come from a Greek idea, the Divine Dance, the dance of the Trinity, which the Trinity asks us to emulate. That divine dance is like a flame. Like a fire, the flames are sometimes one with the fire, and sometimes they rise above it, into separate flames. God calls us to be like that. When we see suffering, God calls us to rise above the mass of embers below and to act. Stir the flame of God’s gift, which burns within us.8919_1243228163516_2601477_n

In the anamnesis of the Eucharist, we remember Jesus’ death, and his resurrection. We remember what it was like to be with Christ as he hung on the cross when the Pharisees told him to come down from that cross. The implication of the Pharisee’s remarks is that Jesus chooses to be there, and he does. They do not know who he is, and therefore they do not know what they do. Jesus hangs on the cross, to them, as an ordinary person, and as an ordinary person, he chooses to be there. In the anamnesis of the Eucharist, we remember what it is like to be told that we chose our lot when we suffer, so they are not responsible. We remember, we abandon that excuse for inaction and like a flame that cannot help but to burn we do something.

When we are in touch with reality, all of reality, we strive to create a harmony with it. When we do that, the world listens. Many complain that people do not listen to the church, the Kyrie Oikos, the House of Christ.

Pro-lifeIn the Gospel, Jesus ends by telling us, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” We are part of reality, no matter how hard we try to hide that fact by hiding in gated communities, putting mud on our faces, and moving to the suburbs to separate ourselves from the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised from society. Remember, those who are separated from society, from the poor, the outcast, the things we do not want to see, have removed their soul from it. A soul separated from reality is Psychotic, and that is not healthy.


The Rich Man and Lazarus: Lessons for Our Time

Jess theses statement in LukeAbraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house; I have five brothers… Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We often do not see, or understanding what the rich man in this story is doing with his requests. Lazarus is short for Eliezer, “my God is help”. In the Old Testament, this is the name of both a servant of Abraham and one of the sons of Moses. The rich man puts his trust in those who are underneath him. Even in hell itself, the rich man expects the poor who were underneath him on earth to serve him in the afterlife.


The rich man in this story does not understand Jewish tradition. “The master of a Hebrew bondman must place him on an equality with himself in meat and drink, in lodging and in bed-clothes, and must act toward him in a brotherly manner; for Scripture always speaks of him as “thy brother.” Ḳiddushin. 20a of the Jewish Mishnah in the Jewish Talmud writes, “Whoever buys a Hebrew servant buys a master for himself.”

When it comes to income inequality, “Before accounting for taxes and transfers, the U.S. ranked 10th in income inequality; among the countries with more unequal income distributions were France, the U.K. and Ireland. But after taking taxes and transfers into account, the U.S. had the second-highest level of inequality, behind only Chile.”

Our employees are associates, but most top level executives have not a clue as to how their employees live their lives, while working for them, and on their time off. “Whoever buys a servant buys a master. He buys someone he is going to be responsible for. When an employer hires someone, he hires someone he is going to be responsible for. That means management by walking around. That means knowing the names, not just of your employees, but of their wives, and their children. Surely it means knowing something of their jobs.

Lazarus is God’s helper. He fulfills Torah in whatever limited ability he has in this life. He acquires Abraham’s bosom. The rich man neglects Torah in this life, and in the process, neglects it in the next. Some argue that it is OK to pollute the environment in this world. After all, the second coming is at hand. They forget Genesis where God commands Adam and Eve to guard and keep the garden. God never rescinds that command. If we cannot guard and keep this planet, why should God give us the next one?Elijah revives the son

Rabbi Jonathan would say: Whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty, will ultimately fulfill it in wealth; and whoever neglects the Torah in wealth, will ultimately neglect it in poverty.

Against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, against your will you live, against your will you die, and against your will you are destined to give a judgment and accounting before the king, king of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

We grandly think we are Christians, a word that means, “Like Christ.” We drive our SUVs, and live in grand houses in gated communities to make sure we do not see the many  Lazarus of this world. Those who fit this mold need to hear Jesus’ warning, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Well, we believe that Christ rose from the dead. Are we persuaded by him? Jesus tells us, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

What do they say, “I am the NAME your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt/Oppression, out of the house of slavery… Remember that you too were once servants in the land of Egypt/Oppression, and the NAME, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Deuteronomy 5:15 (the Ten Commandments.) when your son asks you, “What do these decrees and statutes and ordinances mean?” which the NAME, our God, has enjoined on you, you shall say to your son, “We were once servants of Pharaoh in Egypt/Oppression. The NAME brought us out of Egypt/Oppression with a strong hand. He wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house. He brought us from there to bring us in and give us the land he had promised on oath to our ancestors. Deuteronomy 6, right after Jesus Great Commandment.

Simons mother in lawWe then read, “This is our Justice.” Our justice is remembering oppression in our lives. When we see others suffering, doing something about it.

“You might say in your heart, “It is my own power and the strength of my own hand that has got me this wealth.” Remember then the NAME, your God, for he is the one who gives you the power to get wealth, by fulfilling, as he has now done, the covenant he swore to your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 8.

The so-called Protestant work ethic and rugged individualism is idolatry of self. God is our helper, not ourselves. The power to get wealth is dependent upon the first rule of loving God first and neighbor second. It is remembering oppression, liturgically, in the Mass, in the liturgy of the Eucharist.

The NAME, your God, is the God of gods, the NAME of masters, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10

There is no room here for building great walls to separate us from them, whoever “them,” is.

This all means being God’s helper, guarding and keeping his planet, in particular what is made in his image, each other. As Rabbi Hillel once said about Torah, “All the rest is commentary; now go study.”

Who is getting into heaven: the narrow gate, the locked door and the banquet

Jess theses statement in LukeLet us first begin this discussion with the Shema, “Hear Israel, God is Almighty, God is One, Love God with all of your hearts/לְבָבְךָ, all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.” The Hebrew word for heart is לְבָ.   לְבָ is a plural form.  ךָ is a singular case ending meaning “Your.” “Your,” is singular, and hearts is plural. Tradition states that this is because we each have multiple hearts, propensities, desires. Some of these are good, and some are not so good. God calls us to love him with all of these. This means turning negatives into positives. It also means seeing the good and the not so good in everyone we meet, seeing God’s image in everyone we meet, our friends, and our enemies. נַפְשְׁךָ or soul, is our animate being. I asked a rabbi what the difference between soul and blood was. He pointed out they are the same thing. Blood is the only organ that touches every other organ,  and at the same time. It touches every cell at the same time. It permeates all of who we are. מְאֹדֶךָ at its root means measure. If we measure ourselves with our strength, it means strength. If we measure ourselves with our wealth, it means wealth. If it means out patriotism, our community, it means all the resources of our community in the service of God.

This brings us to our second step. How do we love God? What do we give someone who literally already has everything? This person is God. We respect what is his, in particular what is made in his image, each other.

Pro-lifeTo this comes the question of who will be saved. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

“.שני כתובים המכחישים זה את זה, עד שיבוא הכתוב השלישי ויכריע ביניהם”

“If two passages contradict each other, this contradiction must be reconciled by comparison with a third passage”

The third passage is Matthew 22:37-39. “You shall love the NAME, your God, with all your hearts, with all your anima, and with all your measure. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The second is like it. The second is like the first. We show our love for God by the way we treat each other. I show my love for God by looking for his image in every person I see. I assume, sometimes in spite of the evidence, we have evil inclinations too, that everyone, including my worst enemies, the Hitlers, Stalins, Reagans, Bushes, Nixons, and others in the world are getting into heaven.

I love them. Hebrew has two key words, “Abba, which we all know means father. The second is Ha Bah, or to welcome, to welcome into our lives and our hearts. The third is A Ha Bah, and this means love. We welcome even the worst monsters of history into heaven.

St. Francis and the leperThe Shema, above, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, begins with the love of God and seeing God’s image in everyone. We begin with love of God first. Surely, “Love of God,” means being like any lover and wanting to tell everyone about our lover, our Father, and wanting everyone on the planet to know about him.

Love of neighbor means seeing God in everyone and wishing everyone to know the father and to be with him in heaven. Who do we exclude? Those who are not in our club? Those who not in our political party? Those who are not in our religious club? Once we exclude, we reduce love, and once we reduce love, we restrict ourselves from the banquet. That is what Jesus tries to tell us.

So, what of those who are not in our religious club? What of them? I assume they are getting into heaven because I love them, welcome them to my religious club, and into heaven. What if I am wrong? God alone gets to choose who gets into heaven and I am not God. Even if I can cite a rule, like Mark 16:16 and John 16:6, I still presume to take God’s role and engage of idolatry of self, when I exclude others.

The same rule applies to immigration. If I exclude others from the nice things of this nation, in the next kingdom, I restrict not them, but myself. If I assume all are getting in, I am probably wrong, but God sees my love, my desire to include all, and sees himself in that. “In the measure in which you judge you will be judged.” Matthew 7. He makes a deal with us in this passage, and I take him up on that deal. In the measure in which I judge, love of all, welcoming all, I hope I will be judged, and welcomed into heaven. That is what Jesus tells us today.