Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. Ethics of the Fathers
When the seventh month came, the people gathered as one in the square in front of the Water Gate. They called upon Ezra the scribe to bring forth the book of the Torah of Moses, which the Personal Name commanded, for Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Torah before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. In the square in front of the Water Gate, Ezra read out of the book from daybreak till midday… Nehemiah 8:1-3
The Jews told him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” John 8:57
Jesus answered , “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. John 2: 19-21
Father Francisco Nahoi delivered the Homily for the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time at our Blessed Cathedral in Reno Nevada. In this homily Father related how scholars refer to the temple of Jesus’ time as the second temple. The first temple was the temple of Solomon. The second temple was the temple referred to in Nehemiah 8.
The temple of Jesus’ time is the temple of King Herod the great. John, chapter 2, relates that this temple was 46 years old at the time Jesus discusses it’s age. We also need to note that this same passage is equating Jesus with that temple. In his debate Jesus says, “Destroy this temple…” The Jews respond mpling Jesus must be referring to the 46-year-old temple. Jesus corrects them by stating he is referring to his not yet 50-year-old body.
During Jesus’ time, there were five main groups. There were the Sadducees who controlled the temple area, and who heavily influenced and dependent upon Rome. There was the king and his henchmen. King Herod was like Muammar Gaddafi of today.
They thought they were doing their countries a great favor with their building projects and using their great wealth to bring their nations into the modern world, kicking a screaming. They were oblivious to the fact that all leaders, dictators and otherwise, must lead by consent of the governed, or bad things will happen later. King Herod, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed all perceived opponents, including family members.
Father correctly related, good intentions do not lead to good results. In our good intentions, are we like Jesus, seeing ourselves as messengers of Almighty God, seasoning the people with love and good will, or are we like King Herod and Muammar Gaddafi, with our own plan, imposing our will, and in the process engendering nothing but anger and hatefrom our constituents, against us and against each other?
The Essenes, were a group living throughout Judea and who were tired of the complicity of the Sadducees with the King, and with his benefactors in Rome. Another group was the Samaritans, who accepted Torah, but rejected the prophets. Sadducees rejected the Resurrection of the Dead, a central tenet by the Pharisees. The Sadducees rejected the Pharisees’ Oral Law but saw Torah as the sole source of divine authority.
As Father pointed out, the Pharisees accepted the prophets and oral tradition, “The grammarians and the Pharisees/Separate Ones have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Do and guard all things they tell you.” Jesus identified with that authority, and that tradition. Much rabbinic tradition is in our Gospels and Epistles.
Jesus’ complains against the gap between teaching and practice. “Do not follow their example. They preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”
We have the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, along with our Magnificat and our Canticle of Zachariah. We push the recitation of these prayers, just like the Pharisees pushed reciting Shema, and the Amida prayers. Just like the Pharisees, we are often so busy reciting the words, that we do not take time to hear them. As a result, we preach, but do not practice. God does not so much hear our prayers as the thoughts in our hearts when we say them. If their are no thoughts there, there is nothing to hear.
Father taught hard on the gap between preaching and practice. Our leaders tie up heavy burdens on employees, but do not see the suffering, so do not lift a finger to help them.
The poorest 50% of the population brings home 19% of all income while the richest 5% brings home 21.3% of all income and the richest 20% bring home over half of all income. This same richest 20% controls 85% of all wealth.
Some 50.2 million people lived in food-insecure households, including 17.2 million children.
Some 5,000 workers die every year and another 1.2 million are hurt on the job due to a lack of adequate regulations upon business.
The obvious solution for the modern Pharisee is for the working poor to go out and get another job. They bind up heavy burdens but are not willing to lift a finger to help. The modern Pharisee who latest laid up these heavy burdens, a Herman Cain, claims to be a Baptist, a Christian.
Father related that the difference between the ancient Pharisee and the Christian, is how we have confession. We own up to his mistakes and works to rectify the consequences of his errors. Do we?