To get to heaven you must be a supertramp; you must learn to see and hear

There is an important difference between the Latin and Western understanding of knowledge, and the Greek and Eastern Understanding. This difference is what drives most of the misunderstandings in this world today. The Latin and Western understandings of knowledge as conceptual and abstract. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek do not have this abstract understanding of knowledge. Immediately before this, Luke tells us, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” The key words here are “Reveal,” and “Know.” “Reveal implies seeing and the Greek understanding of knowledge is a mental seeing, a seeing with the mind’s eye, and then distinguishing, separating two mental images.

CLick on image for link.

Our Catholic faith borrows from Aristotle who spoke of four causes, Formal, Efficient, Material, and Final causes. The Formal cause of the world is Torah, the structural under-girding of the world. God is the Efficient Cause in that he is the primary force moving the world to the Final cause, which is himself. The world is the Efficient Cause.

Luke begins today’s passage with the seventy-two coming and bragging about their great success. Jesus points them to the fact that the world is the Material Cause. They, acting in it, are but a small manifestation of the Efficient Cause. The passage begins with Jesus relating the Great Accuser falling as lightning from the sky. He speaks of scorpions and serpents. Jesus speaks of tangible things for his followers to see.

Four CausesHe then tells them, “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” God and our final place with him is the Final Cause of all there is. We must constantly direct our lives to this.

The ending of the Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time ends, ““Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. Many Naviim and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Jesus tells us of the importance of seeing the serpents and scorpions, but looking toward the final reward.

We read, “You hid these things from the wise and the learned. You revealed them to babies. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will… No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

On the surface, this is hopelessly abstract, until we see. Adults follow the way of the Latins, abstract, conceptual, sensible, logical, responsible, practical, dependable, clinical, intellectual, and cynical. Children are, “wonderful, a miracle beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, singing so happily, joyfully, playful and watching. We need the latter if we are ever going to find God. This is how God reveals himself to us.

Words of Institution 3

When was the original church service?

When was the first church service and what was it like? “Church” comes from two Greek words, one of which is still heard in our Roman Catholic Services. “Kyrie.” We know the other word from eating yogurt. “Oikos,” brand yogurt. “Oikos,” is the Greek word for a house. “Kyrie Oikos,” translates, “God’s House.

In the first reading for Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we read from Nehemiah 8, the first church service. Ezra and Nehemiah, being Jewish, not Greek, did not use that term. The liturgy looks much like the liturgy we use today.

“The whole people gathered as one in the open space before the Water Gate.” As we gather for church, we pass the baptistery, our Water Gate. We sit in the pews and listen as the readers read from the Torah.

Lectionary“Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and those children old enough to understand.” Some send our children off to Catechism Class before they start the readings. Protestants call it, “Sunday School.”

“All the people listened attentively to the book of instruction.” We all wish our readers would read to allow this to happen for all, and the readers wish all would pay attention, as they should.

8919_1243228163516_2601477_n“Ezra the grammarian stood on a wooden platform, made for the occasion. He opened the scroll so that all the people might see it.” Mass begins with the processing in, with the lectionary held high for all to see. Before Father reads the Gospel, he holds the book high. The original platform is still called a Bema. Catholics call it the Ambo.

Ezra blessed Kyrie, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, “Amen, amen!” Father begins the reading with a blessing and we still end, “Thanks be to God.”

“They bowed down and prostrated themselves before Kyrie, their faces to the ground.” This is our bowing during Mass. For the Gospel, we stand.

Pope Francis UN“Ezra read plainly from the book of God’s Torah, interpreting it for all to understand.” The Jewish people of the time spoke Aramaic; the Torah was in Hebrew. This is like our Latin Mass, where the word is proclaimed but not understood. The homily has the purpose of making it clear for all to understand.

““Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Kyrie. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in Kyrie must be your strength!” Here is the Jewish beginnings of our Eucharist.

Seder plate smallAll the people went to eat and drink, distributing portions, and celebrating with great joy, understanding the words that had been expounded to them.” This is coffee and doughnuts after Mass. It should be considered an integral part of Mass. Father should be there, helping the people celebrate, representing how he is one of us, and learning how to represent God better to the people in the future.

Why does the poor widow give her mite?

Entering Reno
Harrah’s Ranch represents the home of the rich.

According to the Journal of Philanthropy, “Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people in more economically diverse communities. When people making more than $200,000 a year account for more than 40 percent of local taxpayers, the wealthy residents give an average of 2.8 percent of discretionary income to charity, about the same as the middle class. Itemizers earning $200,000 or more give 4.2 percent.”

The Guardian reports, “People are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary…”

The reading for the Thirty-second Sunday, “The Widow’s Mite.” Jesus explains how the widow gives from her poverty. The Journal of Philanthropy tells us of how the rich living in rich neighborhoods give less than those who live in economically diverse communities. They, like the widow, see the poor every day.

Leaders in federal, state, local government, in private enterprise, and in civic organizations, kin with the poor, more readily respond. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 comments on these leaders, and their need to come from the people, never being richer than the people. Luke 7:26-50 speaks of the deviant woman at Simon’s home. Jesus asks Peter, “Do you see this woman?”  In Cleveland, Ohio, the rich live in Bratenahl, the poor in East Cleveland. “The average home price in Bratenahl is $638,729. “The average price for East Cleveland homes is $53,456.” Can people from Bratenahl understand living in East Cleveland? I remember looking for work after college. A rich kid in our dorm gave the advice of spending $20 and using it on the payphone to call perspective employers. Told there was no $20, he advised spending $20 on resumes. There was no concept of not having $20.

Bede writes in the Catena Aurea, “The widow casts two mites into the treasury; the love of God and neighbor. The rich sends his own abundance into the treasury; presuming his own righteousness; the widow sends her whole living into God’s treasury, she understands, her living is not her desert, but Divine grace.” The widow brings, suffering herself, she knows suffering. The rich brings blinded by the world of concepts, his view of right and wrong, he thinks it is right.

The hospital I was born in 2
Where I was born represents the home of the poor.

The rich, the Simons of our world, never see that woman. Jesus asks Simon, “Do you see this woman or an occupation?” Our rich never see the woman. Mark 7 has the Deaf Mute. To speak, we must first hear. If the poor are far away, we cannot hear them, how can we address their needs? Mark 8 has the Blind Man. The first time Jesus touches him, the Blind Man sees walking trees, people’s exterior. The second time, real human beings. How can the Blind Man see other human beings if he walls them off in gated communities?

The widow lives among the poor, seeing their suffering. The rich live apart,  never seeing or hearing. Therefore, she contributes more of what little she has. Do we see?  Hear?


Thoughts on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Readings

The Apostolic Constitutions, dated from 375 to 380 AD, tells us:

Three PopesWhen you call an assembly of the Church as one that is the commander of a great ship, appoint the assemblies with all possible skill, charging the deacons as mariners to prepare places for the brethren as for passengers. Let the building be long… In the middle, let the reader stand upon some high place: let him read the books of Moses, of Joshua the son of Nun, of the Judges, and of the Kings and of the Chronicles, and those written after the return from the captivity… and of the sixteen prophets.

The Hebrew word for “Prophet” is “Navy,” fitting. As we look at our Cathedral, we note it is long, as this quote demands. It is also in the shape of a ship. The back of our ship is the Sanctuary. This area is raised just as on a ship where the quarterdeck is. The quarterdeck is isolated from the body of the church as this represents Mount Sinai, where Moses took off his shoes when he saw the burning bush. This is sacred ground.

USS Constitution… Old Ironsides is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.The church center is the Nave. The navy people, the sailors, “the ὑπηρέται/uperetai,” Greek for under rowers, sit here. When Luke 1:2 speaks of “Ministers of the Word,” “Minister,” translates “uperetai.” The pews look like sailors benches for rowing. We are the rowers.

The church front is the Narthex. Narthex is the plant Prometheus used to bring fire from the gods.  Our Narthex is the plant used by us to bring the fire of the Holy Spirit into the world.

The Twenty-sixth Sunday speaks of Eldad and Medad, They were Navy, Uperetai/ministers of the word. Joshua, Son of Nun/fish, complains about this. Moses responds, “”Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the NAME were Navy!” Would that all depart the Narthex, grab fire, and bring it to the world.

Our Cathedral in PanaramaThe Gospel reading reverses the roles. John/the graciousness of God complains about someone healing people in Jesus’ name. Joshua/Jesus, Son of the fish, (The apostles were fishermen) replies, “”Do not prevent him. Nobody performing a mighty deed in my name can speak ill of me… He wishes all were fishermen, would grab some of that Narthex as they depart Mitte Est/Mass, his presence.

James speaks to the Word. He speaks to the poor indirectly. He speaks of equality for all people. He condemns those not allowing the homeless in our Kyrie Oichos, or The Name’s House. He speaks of the impending calamity of accumulating wealth at the expense of the least of these my brothers, “Matthew 25:31-46. He speaks of seeing everyone as family. The first reading and the Gospel say. “Would that all the people of the NAME were navy! Would that the NAME might bestow his spirit on them all!” He who is not against us is for us.” We are all equal. This is all there is to Christian morality. Are we ready for the job?

Pope Francis Family Speech Philadelphia Festival of Families

Many will want to state this was a political speech supporting the nuclear family. Politics is not in this speech. This speech opposes politics. Of all his speeches in American, this was his most animate.

Suburban sceneBeauty, goodness, and truth. Once a child asked the pope what God was doing before he created the world. The answer, “Before creating the world God loved, because God is love.” God is perichoresis, the divine dance of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God cannot be egoistic because love is always about the other; that is why he created the world. We are destroying it. The most beautiful thing God created was women and with it family. He gave them everything, to guard it and to keep it, and to love. God gives and shares family to be family, to give and share. All the good/love/perichoresis he has in himself, he gives to us so we can love.

Through the devil, we learn how to divide ourselves. This was far and away the Pope’s move animate speech. The devil is about division. Politics in our country is about division. God is about love, and love does not allow room for division. This concept was central to all of our Pope’s speeches. We must decide what we want to take forward, he told us, love or division.

flamesSo great is God’s love that he walks with us, with all of our faults, finally expressing himself through the divine family, Our Blessed Virgin, St Joseph the worker, and Jesus, in a family. Neither Our Blessed Virgin nor St. Joseph understand what is going on in the nativity, but they accept. God calls us to accept the extended family that includes church and society in general.

We are about helping our families, nuclear and extended, including church and society in general to grow. Families have citizenship, divine citizenship. God gives the citizenship card, the one making us human. This is all about truth, goodness, and beauty. Our Blessed Pope also talked about our imperfections, giving a very animate expression as he wiped his head explaining how “Plates fly,” literally causing headaches. Children also cause headaches. On the other hand, the family is the factory of hope. Families, nuclear and extended, church and society in general is about creating hope. Our Pope tells us love overcomes difficulties. Hate and division of heart cannot overcome difficulties. Only love can do this. Love is joy and moving forward. We must place special emphasis upon children/future, strength, moving us forward. Grandparents are our heritage, transmitting the faith to us. This transmission is love. The family is useful, but there are problems, and inimical relations. His advice: never let the day end without making peace/Shalom. Never let the day end without being in peace. With this came the final blessing.

There was no politics here. This was not about how to pass laws from the top down. This was about building a new world from the bottom up.

The correct Bible Translation

Which translation of the Bible is the correct one? St Augustine writes in “On Christian Doctrine, “In the case of direct signs ambiguity may arise from the punctuation, the pronunciation, or the doubtful signification of the words, and is to be resolved by attention to the context, a comparison of translations, or a reference to the original tongue.”

LectionaryWhich is the correct translation when the solution is a comparison of several translations? Book II Chapter 12 of this text is a full chapter on how we find part of the solution by reading multiple translations. Jewish understanding of “Bible,” has two parts, “הַגָּדָה, אַגָּדָה; “narrative”, and halakhah, “Jewish walk.” The majority of our Bible is narrative. Torah has the Hebrew root of showing. Narrative, a showing, is the key point of the story. Precision of words is not helpful here. In understanding the idea of walk, precision of words becomes important. St. Augustine points to context and a reference to the original languages.

In Vatican II states, “God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers intended… To search out the intention of the sacred writers, give attention to “literary forms.”

Words of Institution 3Learning sacred languages will point to the puns and literary forms. The Beatitudes of Matthew 5 use the literary form, “Chiasmus.” The middle terms are important. The middle terms of the Beatitudes are of justice and mercy, which in Hebrew are related concepts. The ideal society is one in which all remember, first hand, what it was like to be slaves. They develop compassion for the less fortunate; this is mercy. When they act on compassion, this is justice. Imagine a society where all so busy helping one another, nobody had time to harm his neighbor.

A kal vahomer argument is often, but not always, signaled by a phrase like “how much more…,” one of Jesus’ favorite phrases. Jesus uses Hebrew rhetoric. G’zerah Shavah (Equivalence of expresions,) an analogy is made between separate texts using a similar phrase, or word. We see this in John the Baptist and Jesus. “Do not presume to say, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” A chapter later, “The tempter approached and told him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” The lesson is about leadership. Stones refers to people, not stones.

Torah has much more of this rhetoric, too many to present here. Learning these will give a more detailed picture of what the original writer tries to tell us than insisting on one translation. When Augustine speaks of signs, he speaks of words, and chapters drawing a picture. A valid translation must draw an accurate picture, which means drawing a picture, something neither King James nor Douay-Rheims do. For this, we need modern translations, plural.

Pope Francis at the UN

40759_168586576501331_100000499694318_509990_7405809_nIf God is transcendent, he transcends logic. If he transcends logic, he transcends words. If he transcends words, he transcends anything we can say about him. God is also imminent, caring about each person. If God is transcendent, we are obliged to see his transcendence in each person and in the environment. Our Pope told us in his address to the UN, Mankind as chemical and biological components. He is part of the planet, yet spiritual.

Our Pope went on to discuss ramifications of these words. When Jesus gives the parable of the Sower in Mark 4:24, he says, “See what you hear. “ Luke 7:44 has, “Jesus… told Simon, “Do you see this woman?” This idea was a component of our Pope’s speech. Our Pope tells us how the focus must be upon the individual person and not on the abstractions of vocation, ethnic group, or religious preferences. Mark 7:31 begins the story of the deaf man. Mark 8:22 begins the healing of the blind man. In Mark 8:22, the key word is “Trees.” The Hebrew and Aramaic, for “Tree” and four “Councilor,” is “Eights.” The first time Jesus touches the blind man he sees Tees/councilors/ professions/abstractions. The second time he sees differently. He sees humanity as human. Our Pope calls us to the same.

Pope Francis UNOur Pope begins the heart of his presentation, condemning the unlimited power of our technology. He points relates sciences knows the Catholic doctrine of “Natural Law” as the “Law of Nature.” He condemns the unchecked use of “Natural Law.” “Brothers should stand by each other; this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time because if you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.”

He mentions, “A true “right of the environment” does exist for two reasons. First, human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect…. Second, every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures. We… believe the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator…”

Christina Cook 2Our Pope calls us to constant reformation and adoption to approach our final-end, God. He speaks of seeing the humanity in each person. From this comes the desire to eliminate war, global exploitation, capital punishment, and a host of other evils. As he addressed Congress, our Pope speaks of the constant need to look to the general welfare, a technical term used in Catholic Theology and in Secular and Catholic Moral Philosophy. This is the same common good mentioned in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution. Our Pope calls to see ourselves as integral parts of our environment, constantly looking for the common good, and to communion with God.

Three Catholics represent the Magisterium

Three CatholicsEverybody wants “Subsidiarity.” “He who governs least governs best.” The only problem is that capitalists, communists, and anarchists have one view of the term. Socialists also agree with this statement; believing this means government control of all.

Subsidiarity is never doing for another what he can better do for himself. This promotes human dignity. Solidarity is doing everything he cannot. Loving God means seeing government as just one more tool for society to promote the common good. Private enterprise, government, and civic organizations are equal, to be kept in checks and balances, realizing their sole purpose is to promote the common good. Subsidiarity applies to private enterprise/corporations, and civic groups. Leadership comes from the ground up.

The phrase, “Common Good,” the essence of this speech, appears six times. Missing is, “E Pluribus Unum,” “From the many, one.” “Dialogue,” appears twelve times. “Dialogue,” means seeing the image of God and Satan in everyone, including ourselves. It means real dialogue with those disagreeing with us. Our Blessed Pope advances this idea when discussing Thomas Merton, pointing to the violence and the image of God in each person.

Pope Francis“It is important that… the voice of faith be heard, it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies, new forms of social consensus. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good.384309_549304955086309_357628736_n

The truth is embodied in the Shema/Deuteronomy 6:3-9. “Love God with all your hearts, all your animate being, and all your measure.”We love God by caring for his planet and everything, and everyone in it.

“Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good; this is the chief aim of all politics.” True religion is about love that acknowledges differences, but strives for the common ground. This echoes Kennedy’s speech to American University, “Our common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. We are all mortal.” Nation means, “People born together, by common heritage.” If we are nation, we are all brothers and sisters, bound to protect and encourage one another.

Our Pope gave reference to the Golden Rule and Luke 7:44. “Simon, do you see this woman.” He might have added, “Or do you see an occupation.” Truly seeing people means striving to fulfill their humanity. It is to this that we must strive as a society. This common good is the essence of Our Blessed Pope’s speech.

The Beatitudes in the Solemnity of All Saints define justice.

MLK quote“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me…”

The above describes a saint. “The use of chiasmus as a rhetorical device dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Greeks developed an unmatched inclination for this device and made it an essential part of the art of oration.” The Beatitudes is an example of chiasmus. As we look at the rearranged structure we learn the meaning of the key words.

The emphasis is upon the poor in spirit, the persecuted. This is mentioned in the first verse of the passage, in the next to the last, and in the last. Those suffering persecution inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who mourn are peacemakers. Those who have seen the bestiality of war, the guts spilled out on the ground, the smell of rotting and burning flesh, dying women and children, sons sent off to serve Molech, Hebrew for King, become peacemakers.

The pure heart are meek, comparing themselves to God in every person they see. Halloween teaches us to see the ghost and goblin in all of us. In Halloween we die with Christ. Seeing our faults, we cannot help but to become meek, and this is the pure of heart. On all Saints we rise with Christ.

Statue of liberty lighning strikeIn Semitic thought, mercy and justice are related. The righteous are those remembering what it was like to suffer, remember their rescue, and desire to bring this mercy to others. This is mercy and justice.

John embellishes upon “Children of God.” “We are God’s children now… We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.”

“Nation,” comes a Latin root meaning to be born. We are all born together, by common heritage, the New Colossus on the Statue of Liberty, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and American heritage relate what this means. Catholics all, we are all family. Americans all, we are all family.

Justice is seeing everyone we see as family, showing mercy, and meekness, to all we see, mourning with them in their suffering, and doing something to end that suffering. We will be persecuted and slandered. Welcome to the Catholic religion. Your reward will be great in God’s kingdom.

Being a nation of class

How many of us can list the Ten Commandments from the top of their heads? Not many sadly. When asked Jesus lists only the last six. Does this mean Jesus forgot the first four? The passage for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time begins with the rich young man running to Jesus asking him, “Good teacher…” Jesus responds, “Why do you call me good.” Greek has two words for “Good.” The first two Gospels almost always use Kalos,” or “ὅτι καλῶς.” “Hoti Kalos,” “This is beautiful,” from which we get “OK.” Jesus here uses “Agatha, having class.” John F Kennedy was famous for having class.

384309_549304955086309_357628736_nOne dictionary defines “Good” as, “In early Greek times, good, gentle, noble, in reference to birth. It also meant, “This early sense associated that of wealth and power.” The passage irony is Jesus speaking to the rich young man about what wealthy means.

Jesus lists those commandments. “Do not kill; Do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear vain witness; do not defraud.” The Talmud interprets the last two commandments as, “Defraud.” In Deuteronomy, the word for “false,” is used earlier for vain, as in “Do not take God’s name in vain.” It is possible to tell the truth, but not be able to back up one’s words; idle gossip is vain words.

Jesus goes back and mentions his fifth commandment, “Hold as important mother and father.” This is not acting in blind obedience. Hold them as important, learn from their experiences. Jesus then points to the four missing, which point to God.

Ellis Island courtesy of National Park Service. areal viewThe prologue to the Ten Commandments states,  “The Name, our God, cut a contract with us at Horeb; not with our fathers did the NAME cut this contract, but with us, all of us, alive, here this day.” Remember, “I am the NAME your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of menial labor.” (2) Do not have other gods before my face. (3) Do not invoke the name of the NAME…  in vain. (4) Guard Sabbath…Remember you were once laborers in the land of Oppression… That is why the NAME, your God, has commanded you guarding Sabbath.”

8919_1243228163516_2601477_nThe  prologue points to remembering what it was like being over there (Europe, Latin America, Africa…) and to your rescue over here. “Give me your tired your poor…) To remember means making sure nobody suffers as we did. “It is not to your fathers, I give this command.” In Passover, Jews relive the Exodus in present time. In the Eucharist, we relive the Passion and death of Jesus, rising to new life, in present time. Thanksgiving Day is about Passover and Eucharist/Greek for Thanksgiving. This passage and Deuteronomy 6:5 command love and charity, as a nation. The rich young man cannot remember the first four commandments. By his order, Jesus points us to these first four. The rich young man’s god is wealth. Can people say the same about us? Are we a people of class or a people who need a class. God gives refresher courses.

Happy 4th of July! This guy posed for Terri and Larry Garside as they were coming down through Klamath Falls.