Hear 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 Shema
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
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.
Find 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.
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.
There 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.