At our Cathedral in Reno Nevada Father Francisco gave a talk about the origins of the Bible. One issue presented was how our Gospels of Matthew and Luke are written to the congregations they led. Father Francisco pointed out how Eusebeus, a Fourth Century historian placed both Matthew and Luke in Antioch about the time they wrote their Gospels.
This means Matthew and Luke knew each other and may have critiqued each other’s work. There are important differences in the two Gospels with Matthew and Luke having two genealogies for Jesus and two ages and birthdays for Jesus.
Father agreed. St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral is like the Antioch church. We have distinct Anglo and Hispanic congregations. We have priests celebrating Mass mainly with the Anglo congregation and priests ministering mainly to the Hispanics. We are one, the community of St. Thomas Aquinas, with Hispanic and Anglo understandings of the same Gospel. This is much the same as St. Matthew writing to the Jewish congregation in Antioch and St. Luke writing to the Greeks in Antioch.
When the Bible discusses “righteousness” what does that mean? It is something we all want to do. What does “Holy” mean? One main force holds us together as Catholics, Our Blessed Virgin. What is important about her? “The Taanah became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s Mitzvah and bear witness to Jesus.” Revelations 12:17
Who is the woman? “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.” Only Jesus meets this definition. His mother is Our Blessed Virgin. Her children are those who keep God’s Mitzvah.”
That is all of us! At our Cathedral for the Third Sunday of Easter, we will read from the Epistle of I John. John writes:
I write to you… an old Mitzvah that you had from the beginning… Whoever says he is in the light, yet grinds his teeth at his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.
The person who acts in tzadickis a tzadick, just as he is tzadick… No one who fails to act in tzadick belongs to God, or anyone who does not love his brother. In Hebrew, Tzadick means both “righteousness” and “charity.” This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another.
The message is plain. The original quote is Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Jesus’ Great Commandment, and the beginning of the Jewish Creed to this day. The old Mitzvah is Deuteronomy 5:1-7. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 begins as an address to community. Deuteronomy 5:1-7 begins with the foundations of the community. “I am the Personal Name your Mighty Judge, who brought you out of the land of Oppression, out of the house of menial labor.
As a community, God rescued the entire Jewish community from oppression. As a community, we have a common/shared rescue/religious experience. As Americans, we read of that shared rescue experience at the Statue of Liberty. Through the Passion of Jesus, which we live through the first time and each time we celebrate the Eucharist, God rescues us. Through reliving this event, we become children of God.
We show we are children of God by loving one another. This is love in action, feeding the poor, giving water to the thirsty, clothing those in need, providing housing, transportation and healthcare for those in need, the corporal works of mercy. This is being a Tzadick, righteous. This joining as community, marrying each other, is being Holy. God is Holy in that he is the groom at the royal wedding. Our Virgin Mary and our Catholic Church is Holy because she is the bride. The icons throughout the church are Holy because they are like a wedding ring, reminding us of our wedding. We, as the children of God, are Holy because we are the fruit of that wedding.
Catholics realize the importance of being community. We realize how, as community, we have a common mother, Our Blessed Virgin. We are fellow children and children help each other through this walk to the Promised Land/heaven. We see in Passover, as discussed in Deuteronomy 5:1-7, the forerunner of our Eucharist.
“Are we Lazarus or Martha and Mary” compares Mass with a romantic dinner. Our Mitzvah is simply to be part of that romantic couple. The entire world loves a romantic couple. If we are the ideal romantic couple, God, and his Church, the world should love us. If not, we are not showing our love of the Father.