The kingdom of heaven is like a bottle of fine Champaign


“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

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The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the Russia from the Tzaddic.”

Many run to this passage with the great Eureka moment. They found it; they found the pearl of great price in the person of Jesus Christ. They do not have a clue who Jesus is, and would not want to sit next to him on a jet airliner, but they find in him the pearl of great price. There is something else wrong with this interpretation of this passage. The kingdom of heaven is not like a pearl of great price. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for that pearl.

The kingdom of heaven is like a fine glass of Champagne. It cannot help but to boil over. In the same way, in the parable of the sower, just before this passage, the sower sows seed at will.

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Teshuvah, for the kingdom of heaven is near you, touching you.” Matthew 4: 16-17

I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45

Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 10:6-7

This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart. Deuteronomy 30:11-14

This is the merchant Jesus speaks of. The pearl is not the word of God, at least in this parable. You, the reader, are the pearl. Every person made in the image of God, that means everyone, is the pearl. The merchant is the Word of God, searching for everyone to return. The Hebrew word “חֵטְא” does not necessarily mean “moral failure,” “sin,” but failure in general. In the great fall, we found we failed. God does not so much care about that. He only seeks our return. We, you are the pearl of great price and Jesus gave his only son, he sold all, so his pearl might return. Will you?

The Second chapter of John tells the story of the wedding at Cana.

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.”

They filled them to the brim.

He told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the head waiter.”

They took it, and when the head waiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

The secret to understanding this passage is that the average person is about the same size as twenty to thirty gallons. When we receive penance, we become like Champagne that cannot help but to bubble over. That is the point to today’s readings. We need to be the type of person who cannot help but to bubble over.

The kingdom of heaven is like a great waterfall with water constantly falling over the edge. To understand this parable, we need to read the first parable in this series. “A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.” If the Word of God is within us, if we are the sower, and the merchant, the word of God will flow from us, much like a geyser, not caring upon whom it falls. Through us, the word of God falls upon all kinds of fish/people.

Jesus proposed another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.

The workers of the householder came to him and said, ‘Adonis, did you not sow satisfying seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’

He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves told him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.”

Lolium_temulentum H. Zell authorDarnels

If the kingdom of heaven is the merchant, the question is about how we are to sow our seed, and spread the word. As our congregations prosper and grow, how are we to clean out the weeds that grow among our wheat? People of all kinds. Fish of all kinds will come to our congregation, looking for our pearl. Some will have honest intentions, and some not. Jesus answer is not to worry about that. God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. The kingdom is all around us. The Champagne pours out of the bottle and falls on everybody.

As the people in the congregation grow, the dishonest ones will show themselves for who they are. At the time of the harvest, the messengers, us, will be called to separate the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25-31-Matthew 26:1

The angels/messengers/kings/Molechim, will go out and separate the Russia from the Tzaddic.” The Hebrew word, Russia, generally translates as “wicked.” It comes from the same root as “Rosh Hashanah.” This means ‘the first’ of the year.” “Russia” in this context, does not refer to the nation, but to an attitude, those who think themselves first. “Tzaddic,” in Hebrew, means both “just,” and “Charitable.” If fine Champagne, the word of God, is within us, we will not think ourselves first and in a position to judge others in the congregation, whether they are wheat or darnels.

Young_Wheat_crop_in_a_field_near_Solapur,_Maharashtra,_India Akshay.paramatmuni1987Wheat

The word within us is the Champagne, which falls upon everyone. The word within us is the uncontrollable geyser, which pours its joy upon everyone. That is the message of today’s Gospel. If the word is within us, people will see that Champagne pour from us and want to join the great post game party.

Again, similar is the Kingdom of Heaven to a commercial merchant seeking beautiful margaritas. When he finds a margarita of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

What does he do after this? The Kingdom of Heaven to a commercial merchant seeking beautiful margaritas… The cycle repeats itself…

The  kingdom is not in the finding, it is in the seeking. It seeks us and asks us to seek it in return. One of the seven rules of Hillel is “Kayotze bo mimekom akhar.” Two passages may seem to conflict until compared with a third, which has points of general though not necessarily verbal similarity. The Kingdom of Heaven is not in finding the pearl, but in the searching through Torah to find it.

“We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, but not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. We speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our importance, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Kyrie of weight.”

“I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power. To me, the very least of all the dedicated ones, this grace was given, to preach to the ethnics the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.”

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The Gospel is not known, it is mystery. Our idea of sacrament comes from this word, “Mysterion,” Mystery. Matthew and Mark write in a way implying Jesus was forty when he died. Luke says he was thirty. John writes he was forty seven. Matthew implies Jesus was born in the fall. Luke implies it was at Christmas. We do not know which is true. The truth is not known; the truth is in the fog, and God likes it that way. If someone says they completely understand Torah or Gospel, they say they can see clearly in the fog. We know what to think of people who say they can see clearly in the fog.

One old rabbi once wrote how the Torah was written by men three thousand years and eight thousand miles distant from us. It should seem strange and distant from us. If it does not, we understand it wrongly. The truth is not in the finding; the truth is in the seeking. It seeks us, and if we are to be thirty, sixty, a hundred fold, we will seek it as well.

 

We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 2


Our American foundation is, “”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. ” “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom transfiguring you and me. He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.”

Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of Pope Pious X: “The faith as such is always the same. The Catechism of Saint Pius X always preserves its value.” St. James wrote in James 1:17, “Through the Father of lights, there is no alteration or shadow caused by change… Pope Pious X, whose mural is behind our altar speaks loudly about the Call to Catholic action, including involvement in our government, and the call to Social Justice.

Psalm 72 and Psalm 82 show how God and King David had a far bigger role in mind for government. Psalm 72 begins, “לִשְׁלֹמֹה,” “To Solomon.” It ends, “The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.” David explains government’s role to Solomon.

“Judging God’s people with צֶדֶק/charity, his poor with judicial precedent, that he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor. He rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed with none to help. He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves their lives.

Psalm 82  has God talking with other gods, “Gods though you are, all offspring of the Highest, as any mortal you will die.” We are to view all the customs and correct judicial precedents as if they came from the lip of God himself. The gods of Psalm 82 are the princes relating the customs and judicial precedents. They stand in place of God. Psalm 82 chastises them for allowing the Russia, those thinking themselves first, to exploit the poor. Subsidiarity delegates the chicken coup to the foxes; I am one of the chickens.

The Confederacy had a phrase for subsidiarity, state’s rights. States Rights reflects itself today in the form of voter suppression we see in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Deep South. Both sides want regulation and taxation, only for foreigners, and subsidiarity, only for themselves.

This is part 2. Please click here for part 1

Please click here for part 3

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A Wisconsin congressman left the stage after being asked about tax cuts


We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another.”

This is what a certain Wisconsin congressman told a reporter just before walking off the stage after being confronted about his tax cuts. This is what the reporter should have asked, “The US already has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population. We are enforcing the laws. Question number one, are these people in prison biologically inferior, or is there something wrong with our society. Question two, this congressman stated churches should pick up the tab for training these people in “Good Discipline.” Which church does he have in mind? Here are some figures:

Charitable giving by denomination and income group:

Assemblies of God 5.5%
Baptist 4.6%
Low income population 4.5%
wealthy 3.0%
Presbyterian 2.6%
middle class 2.5%
Lutheran 2.4%
Catholic 1.9%

Does this congressman believe this refers to the Assemblies of God and the Baptists who live in the inner cities, or does this refer to all of us religious? If the former, they are already giving twice what his religious denomination gives. If the latter, there is the story of Legion. We must ask why a crazy person in Galilee would name himself Legion. The Hebrew and Aramaic for “Many” is, “Arbah.” In Greek, it is “Hoi Polloi.”

The Latin word for a multitude is “Multitude.” Legion only refers to the Roman Legions. As the story continues, Legion runs into a herd of pigs that then run down a creek bank and drown. Pigs are not kosher. St. Mark tells the story to remind us that to get rid of Legion, we must first get rid of our pigs. The denomination of this congressman must cease giving the least, and start giving the most.

This congressman believes the responsible church is the inner city church, the church already giving the most. Those giving the least yell at those already giving the most to give more? Religious” people, those attending their houses of worship at least once per week are only 33% of the population. How is it fair to tax 33% of the population to pay for people who are not members of their congregations, or is this congressman saying people should be forced to go to church so we can tax them?

The above chart does reflect that about a third of charitable giving to religious denominations goes to “Sacraments,” church administration, what the members donate to themselves as the upkeep of their meeting place.

His church is obligated in his mind to give nothing. He is telling the poor to find a way to set up your own society in the inner city, or die. This makes us not one nation but two, those in the suburbs, and those in the cities. He presumably is asking them to set up their own businesses and be their own employers. This congressman’s community is obliged to buy none of what they produce. “We are getting ours; if you are not, die,” is what he seems to be saying. He then goes on to say, “By the way, we are pro-life.” My last question, “Why do those in the inner city not take our pro-life claim seriously?

American decides between King Saul and King David part 2


Mr. Breuggemann is correct in pointing out how the times were changing and Israel would have to change with them if they were to survive. In addition, the early ‘60s were a time of great change. Because of World War II and its aftermath, America found itself in the role of major world power in geo-politics. The world was watching as the students said in Chicago in ’68.

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To this date, American is deciding between King Saul and King David. Breuggemann relates how King Saul was a war chief who represents the Articles of Confederation and the old Confederacy. His idea of government was as a warrior chief and no more. We have a political party who views government the same way. It is to defend America from foreign invaders and not much more. They call it minimalist government.

Psalm 72 and Psalm 82 show God and King David had a far bigger role in mind for government. Psalm 72 begins, “לִשְׁלֹמֹה,” “To Solomon.” It ends, “The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.” The context is clearly King David telling King Solomon what the proper role of government is. It includes, “Judging/Dan God’s people with צֶדֶק/charity, and his poor with correct judicial precedent. It includes giving correct judicial precedent for the poor of the people, and saving the children of the needy, and crushes the oppressor.” King David mentions this several times.

Psalm 82 is the famous Psalm which has God talking with other Elohim. As the Psalm continues, who the other Elohim are becomes clear. I declare: “Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you, As any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall.” Deuteronomy 5 makes clear when it says, “Moses summoned all Israel and told them, Hear, Israel, the customs and correct judicial precedents which I proclaim in your hearing, this day, that you may learn them and guard to do them.”

Customs and correct judicial precedents by definition take time to develop. The word for “Correct judicial precedent,” “מִּשְׁפָּטִ,” comes from a root, which means “lip.” We are to view all the customs and correct judicial precedents as if they came from the lip of God himself. The Elohim of Psalm 82 are the people giving the customs and correct judicial precedents.

They stand as Elohim/gods, standing in the place of God. They are the princes, offspring of God, and Psalm 82 chastises them for not doing their job, playing the role of King Saul instead, and allowing the rich, the Russia, those who think themselves first, to exploit the poor. Supporting minimalist government, they support King Saul’s style of rule. They are the ones who interpret the Second Amendment as supporting their right to a militia. This is Articles of Confederation and Confederacy way of thinking. The proponents of Psalm 82 support King David’s style of rule.

As in America in the ‘60s, America was changing from a rural backwater and entering the world stage as a modern power. Those old enough still remember watching Tennessee Ernie Ford as he gawked at Lucile Ball as she pointed to a bathroom with indoor plumbing. In the skit, he could not get used to the idea. America has always been about the debate between King Saul and King David. The Civil War was also a major time of change. The Confederacy wanted limited government and the right to oppress the poor. The Civil War saw the first national draft and the first national currency. During the Civil War, military units were divided by states. Afterward, they were divided by function.

Before the war, rifles were smooth bored and breech loaded. The war saw the creation of bored rifles and bullets, hand grenades, aerial warfare/balloons, and the start of the industrial age with the railroad and the telegraph. Just like the Bronze Age turned into the Iron Age, and with it its own industrial revolution, the supporters of King Solomon did not understand the ramifications of what was coming. Some things never change. We still debate what the computer age means to the way governments must operate to defend their citizens against the rich and powerful.

This is part 2. Please click here for part 1

American decides between King Saul and King David part 1


Walter Breuggemann begins his chapter in “A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament,” on the “Rise of the Monarchy,” by discussing the story of Gideon. In our American History, our ancestors compared themselves to the ancient Hebrews.

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There are interesting corollaries and the story of Gideon is one of them. There are also clear distinctions. The Canaanites were the economically superior culture, although in the Hebrew telling, morally inferior. Our Native Americans were still hunter-gatherers, inferior in Western thinking, but in all so many ways, truly morally superior. This writer is Scotch-Irish/German.

Gideon plays the role of George Washington and plays it well. Gideon tells God, “Please, Kyrie, how can I save Israel? My family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” Judges 6:25 mentions the altar of Gideon’s father and the asherah beside it. Implied is that it is his father’s asherah.

Judges 6:27 tells us how Gideon has ten servants. This is the first clue that Gideon and his family were not the poorest people in Manasseh. They had at least ten servants, presumably poorer than they were.

Gideon had 70 sons, and many wives. This can make one poor, but it also presupposes he had the financial ability to take care of this extended family. Judges 7:1 and Judges 8:29 and verse 35 also tell us how Gideon’s real name was Jerubbaal. That is, “Warrior of Baal.” “Hannibal,” from Carthage who wages war with the Romans is John/Graciousness of Baal.” This tells us something of the religion of Gideon’s father as well. “Gideon” also means warrior. After his transformational experience, Gideon translates his name to remove “Baal.”

Gideon chops down the proverbial cherry tree. This gives another clue as to his family finances. His father does not complain about the loss of the tree. The neighbors do. This must have been one huge oak tree. Its loss disgruntled the whole neighborhood. Terebinth is a type of oak tree. It also takes ten men to cut the stupid thing down. The story has striking corollaries to Abraham and the angels in Genesis 18. He is by his oak tree, a fatted calf is sacrificed, and Gideon displays considerable negotiation skills for a member of the poorest family in Manasseh.

This brings us to another example of how Gideon is so much like George Washington. George Washington did not want to be commander in chief of the American Army, but went to the continental congress everyday with his uniform on. Gideon does not want to be king, but names his son “Abimelech,” “My Dad is king,” two short verses later.

This brings us to another place where Israel at the time of King Saul and King David were so much like our own. Walter Breuggemann in his chapter on the “Rise of the Monarchy,” in “A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament,” mentions how times were changing during the time of King Saul and King David.

On page 229 of the text, Walter Breuggemann gives us a chart with some very interesting dates, 1961 and 1993. The first date is the date John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President. The second date is the date Bill Clinton became President. Like each of these two presidents, King David had a great domestic policy, and a not so good home life. JFK and King David also had great foreign policies.

Mr. Breuggemann does not discuss these dates. He discusses the reigns David becomes king/ melech at Hebron and over all Israel. King David takes the reins of power at the end of the late Bronze Age. He dies in the beginning of the Iron Age. Mr. Breuggemann relates how during the reins of Gideon and King/Molech Saul, the main enemies were city-states. King David must wage war with nation states. Nation states did exist before King Saul. We need look no further than Egypt and the Hittites.

Mr. Breuggemann is correct in pointing out how the times were changing and Israel would have to change with them if they were to survive. In addition, the early ‘60s were a time of great change. Because of World War II and its aftermath, America found itself in the role of major world power in geo-politics. The world was watching as the students said in Chicago in ’68.

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 5


As individuals, Faithful Discipleship means looking for candidates who support all of Catholic moral teaching, and voting for them on Election Day. Are lawyers reading this article? If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote. I ask my opponents in this debate, have you considered running for public office. If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote.

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Our Encyclical Humanae Vitae tells us in section 14, “Sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good. It is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it. It is unlawful to do evil in the hope good may come from it.”

It may be acceptable to stay home on Election Day and tolerate a non-pro-life elected official. It is never lawful to elect a politician who supports the culture of death. Those opposed Catholic Action, as a nation, those who oppose helping the poor, as a nation, support a Culture of death.

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, (Americanism) the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Papal Encyclical

We are leaves blowing in the wind. New opinions are new opinions, regardless of whether they come out of the mounts of Modernist Conservatives, or Liberals. Humanae Vitae came in 1968. We celebrate the 44th anniversary. Catholics were 22% of the U.S. adult population in 1948. We reached our high point in the late 1970s, when the U.S. population was nearly 30% Catholic. In the last several years, the Catholic percentage has been around 23%.”

After 40 years of engaging in talking points, the five non-negotiable points are still with us. All we have done is dropped 10% of the population from being Catholic. Insanity is repeating the same things, and expecting different results. I can hear the conservatives joining the cause now.

We as liberals are the ones calling for the changes. So argues the conservatives. We say, what changed is not Humanae Vitae, or Vatican II. They were in the ‘60s. Still something changed. It was no change in the content of our faith. That has not changed in four millennia. We were getting results in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and without changing our teaching. We do not have to look far to see what changed in the ‘80s.

The Pope wrote his Encyclical to modernist, wealthy Catholics in the 1880s who did not want to follow the Encyclicals leading up to Rerum Novarum, which came two years later. The name of the above Encyclical is Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, written in 1889. Conservatives want to use Five Non-negotiable teaching to abandon Rerum Novarum and related teachings and only follow Five Points. This is Americanism and it is a heresy.

We understand the appeal of this heresy. As men who are not doctors or researchers, there is no danger of us engaging in any of the sins of Five Points. All we have to do is not research our political candidates as they relate to pro-life issues, and vote for whomever we want. Because we have exchanged all of Creed, Sacrament, Ten Commandments, and Prayer with these Five Points, we are going to heaven. As Liberal Catholics, we say it is not that simple.

As liberal Catholics, we want results. We must decide, do we want to end abortion, and solve the other four non-negotiable points, or do we want to engage in an idle boxing match with the other side for another forty years.

There is the logical fallacy called false dilemma. We have 250 Catholic colleges and universities and 26 law schools, combined, graduating 70,000 students each year. There may well be lawyers watching this debate. Why do they not run for public office, supporting all of Catholic moral teaching? We cannot find 535 willing to run for Congress and for President?

We cannot find one? Are our universities failing that badly? Where are the Catholic/Christian candidates? “Faithful Discipleship as presented in the tradition of Catholic social teaching” means finding students in our colleges and universities, developing them into candidates, helping those candidates find the funding, and helping them into public office.

As individuals, Faithful Discipleship means looking for these candidates and voting for them on Election Day. Lawyers present? If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote. I ask my opponent in this debate, have you considered running for public office. If you support all of Catholic moral tradition, you have my vote.

This is part 5. Please click here for part 4

Please click here for part 1.

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 4


“Faithful Discipleship as presented in tradition of authoritative Catholic social teaching,” is all about creating this concordium, in English concord. A Hebrew word for God, is Abba, Father. Jesus is the Lamb of God. The Aramaic word for Lamb is “Omer.” The Aramaic word for “Word” is Omer. Lambs of course say, “Bah.” Bah is Hebrew for to come or the one who is to come. Ah Ha bah is the Hebrew word for Love.

It is welcoming each other into our communities with all of our faults and all of our failures. St. John tells us in 1 John 4:7, “Love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

In Mark 12:29 Jesus discusses the great commandment, “Hear Israel, God is Almighty; God is One. You will have loved God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.) The Hebrew word, “Hearts,” is plural. It is addressed to the entire community, not individuals. We have we each have many hearts, inclinations, some of which are good and some of which are not. God calls us to love him with all of our inclinations. God calls us to love him with all of our measure. If we measure ourselves with our patriotism, God calls us to love him with that.

How do we love God? What do we give someone who literally has everything? We love him by taking care of and respecting his property, his garden. We especially love him by taking care of what he made in his image and in his likeness, each other. Jesus also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means our neighbor has an obligation to love and respect us.

We need to see ourselves, or the ground within us as part of God’s garden. We must be people other people will find easy to love and respect. This is faithful discipleship. The Greek version of Genesis calls the Garden of Eden by its Persian name, Paradise. When Jesus dies, he tells another prisoner, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

The command to guard and keep the garden never changes. If God cannot trust us to take care of his garden and the animate beings, including each other on this planet, how can he reasonably expect us to take care of the next one. Faithful discipleship means taking care of this garden, in particular each other. It includes using patriotism, the way we vote.

Jesus relates in Matthew 25:31 through 26:1, “As you do to the least of these my brothers, you do it to me.” Then the Passion comes. As we take care of those who hunger, thirst, are naked, in hospitals, and are in prison, we participate in the Passion.

We are all in the game of life. All bring to the game our resources, knowledge and skills. We all come to the game to get something out of it. Some requests are reasonable; some are not. Demanding that the poorest 50% live on 19% of all income so that the richest 20% can live on 80% of all income is not reasonable. The job of St. Augustine’s conductor is to make sure the tuba does not drown out the flute. St. Augustine’s conductor is our leadership, in private enterprise and in government. As Deuteronomy, 17:14 tells us, the conductor is not some mythical entity. He is one of us. He must know how many homes and cars he owns, how much a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, gasoline, and the like costs.

Our Lamb, our faith is all about promoting life; life lived to its fullest. That is what “Life” means. We look to St. Joseph, a carpenter. A retired worker is still a worker, just a retired one. When we say we are no longer working people, we cut ourselves off from community. The Ten Commandments no longer apply to us, but neither does the reward, eternal life.

As we look to our Liturgy of the Hours, we will meditate upon the Magnificat and just how The Mighty One has done great things for our Blessed Virgin? “He dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with nobility and the rich he sent away empty.” Those were revolutionary words then and they are revolutionary words now.

“Mystery” is church language for Sacrament. The sacrament is the great mystery handed on to us through the Ten Commandments, prayer and the creed. It is about Christ who comes to us through his Physical Presence in the body and the blood of the Eucharist.

This is part 4; Please click here for part 3

We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 3


Conservatives believe some men, corporate CEOs, and business owners are by nature good and do not need regulation. Liberals believe the writings of John Locke who noted that no man is a fair judge in his own case. That includes the corporate CEO, our religious leaders, the union chiefs, and our political leaders.

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St. Augustine whose mural is on our altar gave us our vocabulary, “original sin.” We are all imperfect human beings trying to get from conception to the grave in one piece. God made us all in his image, as our Catholic doctrine has always taught. This brings us to the third definition of “Life.” It relates how God made us in his image and likeness. How we treat our neighbor, is how we treat God who is in our neighbor. Genesis 4:10. This definition takes up where the prior definition leaves off. Deuteronomy 30:

This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you… It is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart… Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.”

This is one of the famous 613 Mitzvah of Jewish traditions. How is this Mitzvah? All life is life in potentiality. Exodus 20:26 tells us, ‘You will not ascend to my altar by steps.’ Either we are going up or we are going down. Either we increase life in all of its potentiality or we decrease it. We will use this definition of life throughout the remainder of the debate.

God made us all in his image and likeness, liberal and conservative. Catholic Catechism, section 1701. “Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 1929.

When we stand before the Eucharistic altar, we see how this works. Little Flower parish makes the scene a little clearer. We descend from the back of the church until we reach the steps to the altar. At our Cathedral, we again see steps. This reminds us of our trip to Mt. Sinai, and our trip up to the transfiguration. We walk up and down hills and valleys until we arrive at the promised mountain. Mt. Sinai is a volcano, and we represent this with incense. We stand at Sinai, again, for the first time, each time we attend Mass.

We all like to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands. Catholics need to define just what we mean by a republic. St. Augustine gives Catholics our definition of a republic:

As among the different sounds, which proceed from lyres, flutes, and the human voice, a conductor maintains a certain harmony, which a cultivated ear cannot endure to hear disturbed. He elicits this in full, absolute concordiam by the modulation of voices unlike one another. Where we allow reason to modulate the diverse elements of the state, we obtain perfect concord from the upper, lower, and middle classes as from various sounds. What musicians call harmony, is concord in matters of state, the strictest bond and best security of any republic, and which by no ingenuity can be retained where justice is extinct.

“Faithful Discipleship as presented in tradition of authoritative Catholic social teaching,” is all about creating this concordium, in English concord. A Hebrew word for God, is Abba, Father. Jesus is the Lamb of God. The Aramaic word for Lamb is “Omer.” The Aramaic word for “Word” is Omer. Lambs of course say, “Bah.” Bah is Hebrew for to come or the one who is to come. Ah Ha bah is the Hebrew word for Love.

It is welcoming each other into our communities with all of our faults and all of our failures. St. John tells us in 1 John 4:7, “Love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

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We need to define what life is to follow our Declaration of Independence Part 2


The predicate for “He who governs least governs best,” is also in our Prologue to the Ten Commandments. St. Augustine made his count available through his text, “Questions of Exodus.” Here is our Catholic Catechism on the history of the 10 Commandments:

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2066 “The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine, which has become traditional in the Catholic Church.”

Our Catechism tells us there is more than one count for the Ten Commandments. We follow St. Augustine’s count, but we are open to dialogue with other counts. This begins the Jewish count:

Moses called all those who struggle with God, and told them, “Hear, you who struggle with God, the customs and correct judicial precedents I speak in your ears, this day, that you may learn them, and guard to do them.

The Personal Name our Almighty Judge cut a Social Contract with us at Mt. Sword. Not with our fathers did The Personal Name our Almighty Judge cut this Social Contract, but with us, each of us, alive, here, this day… I am The Personal Name your Almighty Judge, who brought thee out of the land of Oppression, out of the house of menial labor. You will have no other Almighty Judge before My face.

In Mark 10, Jesus quotes the last six of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear vain witness; you shall not defraud; hold as important father and mother.” Jesus starts with the last five, and then moves back to grab the fifth commandment, as he understood them. The first one is the one listed above. It is the call to community, personally remembering what oppression is like, and taking action when we see others suffer. Ultimately, it is the call to Eucharist.

How can God give customs and correct judicial precedents at Sinai, which by definition develop over time? We are to view customs and judicial precedents as if they came from the lips of God himself. The root word for judicial precedent means “Lip.” When our religious and political leaders speak the word of God, we are to view them as coming from the lips of God.

Deuteronomy 5 begins as an address to the community, all who are at Mt. Sinai. God rescues those who struggle with God/Israel, as a community. He calls us to love him, as a community. He calls us to remember what oppression is like, as a community. God tells us, as a community, The Personal Name our Almighty Judge cut a Social Contract with us at Mt. Sword. Not with our fathers did The Personal Name our Almighty Judge cut this Social Contract, but with us, each of us, alive, here, this day…

The concept of the Physical Presence is here. The Jewish community relives for the first time, each time, they celebrate Passover their escape from Oppression. We remember, as community, for the first time, each time, we celebrate the Mass our escape through the resurrection of Jesus.

Faithful Discipleship means intuiting our world through the eyes of faith. This faith begins at Mt. Sinai and the cross, seeing the world through past suffering, & bringing our salvation to others. If we do this, we can forget the other commandments. This is because we will be too busy helping our neighbor to violate any of the other commandments. Our Declaration of Independence states:

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. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Torah gives several definitions of life. The second definition of life states life is blood. Anything with blood is life. Anything with two cells has blood, therefore life. Our discussion is about what life is in between one cell and death at the end of our natural lives.

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The fight to decide who the great provider is has not yet ended part 2


Hosea 12:8 states, “לַעֲשֹׁק אָהֵב כְּנַעַוֹבְּיָדוֹ מאזְנֵי מִרְמָה,” Canaan is explicitly referred to as a merchant. This is in Hosea’s time. Proverbs 31:24, in the middle of the Acrostic, “Woman of Valor,” recited by all Jewish men to their wives Sabbath evening relates, “וַחֲגוֹרנָתְנָה לַכְּנַעֲנִי,” “She gives girdles to the Canaanites/merchants.” If the writer of Joshua and Judges is from a later period, like the Babylonian exile, it would make sense to condemn the merchants who diluted the old ways of doing things. They were from the low country, which is to say by the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore the bringers of foreign lifestyles. When looking for a people to blame for the disaster, they make the ideal target.

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The merchants brought the way of the nations. That is what merchants do for a living. They bring goods, and with the goods the way of living from other cultures. Psalm 115:4 begins a diatribe against the idols of the Canaanites, and it is part of Hillel. The referent has a double meaning. The silver and gold could refer to the market with its emphasis on silver and gold. It could also refer to the פסלים the Canaanites worshiped. It probably refers to both.

The main complaint of the Deuteronomy writer of Joshua and Judges is bringing the way of the nations. By the Babylonian exile, the writers were the established class, not the farmers, or the shepherds. Deuteronomy 9:4 tell us, “מר בְּצִדְקָתִי הֱבִיאַנִי יְהוָהלָרֶשֶׁת אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאתוּבְרִשְׁעַת הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּהיְהוָה מוֹרִישָׁם מִפָּנֶיךָ.” The writing is that of a very skilled writer. “לָרֶשֶׁת,” to inherit alliterates well with “רִשְׁעַ,” Russia, “Those who think themselves first,” and “מוֹרִישָׁם,” “to drive them out.” The skilled writing is not that of a farmer, or a shepherd. He is the established class.

Deuteronomy 9:4 translates, “Do not say in your heart, “It is because of my charity, the Personal Name has brought me in to possess this land, and because of these nations thinking themselves first that the Personal Name is dispossessing them before me. It is because of their thinking of themselves as first that the Personal Name, your Almighty Judge, dispossesses these nations in order to fulfill the promise he made on oath to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The context Torah and Prophets gives us is not that of class war. The warning is not to be like the other nations, thinking themselves first. Deuteronomy does show the greatest concern for the less fortunate. Deuteronomy 15:4 tells us, “There shall be no one of you in need, if you listen to the voice of the Personal Name, your Almighty Judge, and carefully observe this entire Mitzvah which I enjoin on you today.” Deuteronomy 15:11 relates, “The land will never lack for needy persons; that is why I command you: “Open your hand freely to your poor and to your needy kin in your land.” God knows we will never follow the rules, so commands us to at least make up for past failures.

This takes away the third option of An Introduction to the Old Testament.” Some of the peoples fighting the Canaanites probably were Semitic, as opposed to the descendents of Ham who were the Canaanites. Almost certainly, some were shepherds fighting for their shepherding ways against the established farming and merchant ways of the more advanced culture.

We must follow Torah, not because we believe it is literally correct, it is not, but because we are evaluating about what they thought was the conflict. They are the only witnesses to this and thought the conflict was about who the real “בעל” the real head of the household, the real “אל” or Almighty Judge was. If we could ever get this right, there would be no need to fear anyone. God is the Great Provider. There is no need for merchants or market forces, or any of the garbage these false idols may seem to provide.

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