Over at yet another parishioner’s house the other day, I was told a story by the husband, who is Jewish and loves to tell stories. Here’s one of his favorites:
“So, one morning, dark, foggy, cold, temps in the teens, my friend and I, both of us Jews, mind you, were traveling along in our car and we saw one of those “Bridge freezes before road” signs right before crossing the bridge. It was one of those S-curve bridges. You approach from a sharp curve into the bridge and there’s another sharp curve right after the bridge. The car was still carrying centrifugal force as we hit the ice, setting the car spinning around three times on the icy bridge, and throwing us spinning in the wrong direction when we hit the sharp curve going in the opposite direction on the far side of the bridge. But the road after the bridge wasn’t icy, and we hit the road exactly in our lane and going the right direction. Had we hit any other way we would have flown off the road and, right there, that would have been catastrophic.”
“Directly, squarely in front of us, as we hit the dry road on the far side, there was a billboard saying “JESUS SAVES”. We looked at each other and were both dead silent for, like, thirty seconds as we travelled safely onward. And that’s a long time after something like that. And then we looked at each other again and said to each other simultaneously, ‘Did you see that? Jesus saves.’ And then we went quiet again.”
“Jesus is Jewish,” he added to me so very many years later.
Hey! On the Day Off, a Star of David. Stunningly elegant.
Hey! Another Star of David. Arrestingly beautiful.
Hey! Another Star of David. Boldness that jumps out at you.
Hey! Another Star of David. Such purity of heart, agility of soul.
Hey! Another Star of David. Such simplicity of reality. It is what it is. No ambiguity here.
These are the Stars of David that were able to be collected on just one Day Off, just the other day, at the home of friends with whom I learn Yiddish exclamations, even more than those taught to me by my mom throughout my childhood.
This presses the nostalgia button in me. I don’t remember any book that my mom recommended I read, except one. She was a voracious reader, hundreds if not more than a thousand pages a day. I remember going to the library with her even weekly so as to help carry one if not two big brown paper shopping bags from Piggly Wiggly filled with books that were, together, heavier than I was in the mid-1960s. It took a long time to check out. She once shoved a small book in my direction to page through while waiting.
I would really struggle to carry those bags down the steps of the library, one bag at a time, two feet for each step. I was very enthusiastic. She was purposely creating good memories for me. She would open up the passenger side door of her white two-door 1961 Pontiac Tempest, putting the seat forward so that I could put the books in the back seat foot wells:
The book she had me read was when I was already a seminarian but which she surely read decades earlier, which she surely shoved at me at the checkout desk, which I surely helped carry home from the library as a tiny little kid was, I am David, a 1963 novel by Anne Holm, which, as W summarizes, “tells the story of a young boy who, with the help of a prison guard, escapes from a concentration camp in an unnamed Eastern European country and journeys to Denmark. Along the way, he meets many people who teach him about life outside the concentration camp.”
That only my second name was David, not my first, was one of mom’s greatest disappointments. She wanted me called DAVID as a first name. As she later told me, there had been fights over this. Dad won. I’m George David, but still…
I have some “friends” who were never as clever as they think they’ve always been with me. They are acutely aware of my background. They’ve always made brutal comments against all Jews and very often as connected somehow to the Star of David. From the beginning, I’ve played this conversation, getting them to admit clearly, finally, what I suspected from the beginning, that they, besides being priests, are full-on neo-Nazis. I’ve had to hear really a lot of entirely prejudicial hatred cast upon all Jews as the years ticked by. Don’t bother trying to guess who they are. I’ve been in something like 26 countries and I have priest friends of very many years all over the world.
As they claimed that the Star of David was an invention of just a handful of centuries ago, I would counter with my archeological experiences at the then newly unearthed parts of the Capernaum synagogue built during Jesus’ teenage and twenty-something years, but previous to Jesus Himself preaching in it. The dominant design engraved into the stonework back in Jesus’ day is the Star of David.
The Star is six pointed. The number six refers to imperfection, as it is the number just previous to seven, which is the representation of perfection, of fulfillment. The six-pointed star looks forward in great hope to the arrival of perfection, of fulfillment with a seventh point, namely, the promised Son of David being born, the promised Messiah visiting His people, Immanuel, God-with-us. That seventh point is the center bit you see below, an actual Star of David Fulfillment, Perfection Incarnate, carved into the Capernaum synagogue:
The reality of this archeology was, of course, rejected out of hand by my priest friends, because… because… because… (no reason).
As time went on and the topic of the Star of David would again come up, and I would mention the horror of the Holocaust inflicted upon the Jews, and that a yellow star would be pasted on their prison uniforms, I was told that the Star of David itself was their crime.
Thinking I was going for the jugular, I said that even little kids who knew nothing about any Star were themselves thrown into ovens or shot or otherwise exterminated.
The response about those infants being exterminated from one of my neo-Nazi priest friends was, instantaneously: “Because of that Star, they deserve everything they got.” That’s in reference to the kids.
That was on a phone call. You might as well have stabbed me in my larynx. Silence was my response. After some seconds of deafening silence, I ever so quietly pressed the end-call-button. That was it, until today, with the years ticking by. It is the screaming silence of the-not-so-dead-as-you-think and, methinks, the silence of that walking dead Man, Jesus, as He stood before Pontius Pilate. How can you answer something like that? Am I wrong to maintain silence after so very long? Does my silence mean that I’m dead? I think silence speaks loudly. The Jews murdered in extermination camps are not dead eternally. Not at all. And they speak, fully alive, awaiting the judgment of those who murdered them, a judgment to be wrought by Him who will judge the living and dead and the world by fire.
But what to do? I know exactly what to do. I’m giving a Star of David, many Stars of David, elegant, beautiful, bold, pure, simple, lively Stars of David to Jesus’ good mom, the Jewish Immaculate Conception, who added the fulfillment of Perfection Incarnate, the promised Messiah, Immanuel, God with us. Thank you, Mary. Thank you so very much.
And thanks to my mom for wanting to call me David, that is, “The Beloved.”
We beg little Jesus, the Son of David, to forgive us for perhaps being waaaay too presumptuous in giving flowers to His good mom. But maybe He will pass on a Dent-de-Lion from any and all of us.
After all, He’s the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Moreover, as Jewish Paul has it in his letter to the Romans 9:4-5…
“The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them proceeds the human descent of Christ, who is God over all, forever worthy of praise! Amen.”
This is about mourning the genocidal purposed murder of people. I have to wonder if this video will also be taken down, cancelled, by entitled, murderous brats. Free speech is also about protecting lives, btw.
Around 2005 I’ve previously written about this kind of dual-covenant heresy in an ecclesiastical thriller novel called Jackass for the Hour: The Murderous Intrigue of Interreligious Dialogue, which runs for some 750 pages. I’m providing here just an excerpt from Chapter 22 – in media res – where a young priest and a seasoned Rabbi are having a fast moving discussion of exactly this point while in an airplane. Might I suggest to the Archbishop that he spend a few minutes being entertained by the following paragraphs. He might know that my fellow biblical scholars were pushing me to teach at his alma mater, saying that he would make this happen. So, here’s that excerpt from chapter 22 of Jackass for the Hour. By the way, Father Alexámenos, the protagonist of the novel, is aJackass for the Hour. Let’s get into it:
Before Father Alexámenos answered, the Rabbi continued with an intensity his priest friend enjoyed so much it all almost set him to laughing, wishing all his interlocutors had the intelligence and, he suspected, the streak of mischievousness of the Rabbi. “The Old Covenant must effectively be replaced by the New Covenant inasmuch as the Old is to be fulfilled and transformed in the New. The Old Covenant cannot be salvific on its own, even before any Messiah comes, for the Old had to look forward to the New, which fills it with Life back in the day. Time is not a barrier to its Creator. If the view is that the New has come, the Old must necessarily become sterile, even if it is not purposely cut off from the New, and no matter how much God respects the sincerity of Jews who do not even know what Christianity is. In that case, God gives grace to the Jews simply as His gratuitous gift, but not because God makes valid what cannot be made valid in the Old Covenant except in its present day fulfilment in the New.” Since Father Alexámenos did not interject, the Rabbi continued: “Your Cardinal Froben, nevertheless, gives us the lowest common denominator of no one having any covenant, telling us, absurdly, that both the Old and the New Covenant can be salvific at the same time. If the Old Covenant doesn’t look forward to the New, it is not actually the Old Covenant we are talking about, and if the New Covenant doesn’t fulfil the Old, it is not actually the New Covenant we are talking about. Two independent, salvific covenants are two other religions, neither Jewish nor Catholic. Froben and his kind must stop insulting our intelligence. Tell me you understand!”
“Rabbi, I know exactly what you are…”
“Do you?” pressed the Rabbi.
“I regret,” said Father Alexámenos, “that Cardinal Froben has scandalously claimed that our aim in a dialogue is not to come into any kind of communion or unity, but simply to improve constantly those relationships and to work together. What he says is not what the Church nor I believe. I’m for unity in Charity and Truth. Saint Paul goes out of his way to say that…”
“I wonder about your regret,” interrupted the Rabbi, “Your Saint Paul makes it clear that he loves the Jews,” said the Rabbi, “but Froben and those like him do not seem to know who Paul of Tarsus is. They take every opportunity to send us to Auschwitz again. Take that document on the Shoah…”
“In reading that document, I just couldn’t believe that…” Father Alexámenos began to say.
“You Catholics,” interrupted the Rabbi, “speak of your Tradition as Faith provided by the Holy Spirit to each person so univocally throughout time that it seems as if this Tradition is created with each person handing on, so to speak, a book to another person. Yet, you Catholics always spoke of any human involvement as merely ‘quasi per manus’, ‘almost by hand,’ so that Tradition is God’s work. It is part of Revelation, God-given Faith, going hand in hand with Sacred Scripture, inspired by God, authored by God, using human authors to whom He gave the Faith, this Tradition. It seems as if the Faith is handed on as a thing, by hand, since it is always the same.”
“That is true,” said Father Alexámenos. “In fact…”
The Rabbi, instead, wanted to make his point, and said, “We Jews believe the same thing about Tradition and Faith, but we use different words. Tradition for us is our own assent to the Faith as found with our historical ‘handing on’ of commentary by which we ‘soil our hands’, as with the Mishna, Tosepta and Talmud. This Tradition is not rendered ‘quasi per manus’, ‘almost by hand’, but actually by hand without the direct intervention of divinely given Faith. That is why the Mishna, Tosepta and Talmud are not even read in our liturgy. But much more than this, we believe that the Torah, the Prophets and Writings were not only written with assent to the Faith, like this other commentary, but were also revealed and written under inspiration which we instead speak of as being eternal words. I can understand that you Catholics can be confused by the different use of terminology. However, I don’t like it when you so easily take a polemical statement and make it representative of what Jews believe. For instance, just because of a few of our comments, you might think that the Prophets and Writings have nothing within them that is as essential to Judaism as the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Yet, the establishment of the Davidic line is essential to whom God wants us to be, namely, a holy People being led by one person who is a priest, a prophet and a king. The New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah 31:31-34 is also essential to whom God wanted us to be. Check out 1 Samuel 2:27-3. Do I need to mention the Suffering Servant described by Isaiah, and how he is the Son of David? To think otherwise would make us Samaritans who reject the Prophets and Writings. Since when did Samaritans and Jews get along other than in that parable of Jesus?”
“I’m sure that all these misunderstandings can be sorted out,” said Father Alexámenos.
“Are you so sure?” asked the Rabbi. “Why, then, do some Catholics so easily believe that the Jewish Scriptures were complete only after what you call the ætas apostolica, the apostolic age, within which even your New Testament had to be finished for it to be inspired and canonical?”
“But the Hebrew Scriptures were complete before Christ’s birth…” began Father Alexámenos.
But the Rabbi interrupted him, saying, “I’ll tell you why. Because you want to condemn us to Auschwitz all over again. If you say the Jewish Scriptures were not written in view of the coming Messiah, the fulness of Revelation, whom you believe to be Jesus, then your insincerity is evident. You are actually saying that you do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that the Jewish Scriptures point to a different Messiah. In fact, you say that no Jew ever read in the Jewish Scriptures what you read in the Jewish Scriptures, thus making even your Jesus into the greatest liar and fraud of all time, or at least those who wrote the New Testament, which, for you, makes the Holy Spirit into the greatest liar and fraud. You run away from the problem by saying that Catholics and Jews have two Faiths which are so ‘irreducible’ that we Jews not only would never become Christian – believing in Jewish Jesus as the Jewish Messiah – but could never do so. What an insult! What hatred of the Jews! If we are so cut off, in your view, from knowing the fulfilment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah, cut off from knowing the fulness of Revelation, of the Messiah’s Charity, that He is the Davidic Priest, Prophet and King, why not just condemn us to hell forever, as if we want to kill the Messiah. Auschwitz, here we come!”
“But Rabbi, those who say we have two different Faiths are heretics. In my dream…”
“Don’t deny that this is the only problem, as if answering it – even with your ‘dream’ – will be the end of it all,” said the Rabbi. “How about when your Preacher said that you Catholics cannot invite us to believe in Christ? He said that you have lost the right to do so because of some mistakes of some people who used coercion. He said that first the wounds must be healed through dialogue and reconciliation. But you have no basis for dialogue and reconciliation if you deny us Charity and Faith, the very things you say you hold dearest. You keep us away, as if you fear that we, if we did believe in Jesus as the Messiah, would brook no dissent within the Church, which I do not doubt for a second… We would be so passionate. That’s what you’re all afraid of!”
“I cannot wait for the hour when…” Father Alexámenos began to answer.
“We can reject you if we want. Don’t worry about that!” insisted the Rabbi, “but hold out to us Him whom you know to be Charity Incarnate. Do not refuse to love us! Otherwise, the sins of the past become reality again. What hypocrisy it is to keep screaming about the Shoah, Never again! Plus jamais! Nie wieder! when that is just what you are about to do again. Sag niemals nie! Never say never! It can happen again. All the pieces are falling right into place. For hypocrites, wir leben nur als Last, but life is only a burden for those who hate life.”
“The cry ‘Never again!’ is so often just self-congratulations, proclaiming that humanity does not glut itself as much as it can on violence, so that religion – added on top of this feigned general human niceness – merely adds more, optional niceness,” said Father Alexámenos. Religious people with this attitude are so dangerous. “Anyway, that preacher is just a simple priest, who…”
“If it’s a Cardinal you want,” interrupted the Rabbi, “how about the one who said that we are all waiting for the Messiah? At least he was severely criticised for saying what he did.”
“Yes, I distinctly remember the occasion. Some in the Ghetto felt sorry for him, even for contradictory reasons. He said that dialogue would continue until the Lord comes, meaning that he didn’t expect the Jews to become Catholic until then. But then it is too late. Saint Paul says that only a part of Israel will be hardened, and only until the fulness of the nations enter. When they do enter, that other part of Israel will also become Catholic, and, then, and only then, the Lord will come. Telling people that they are not supposed to become Catholic until it is too late is evil.”
“Evil?” asked the Rabbi, “not ignorant, misled, sycophantic perhaps?”
“Perhaps he didn’t mean it, but what he said is evil. It doesn’t advance justice, peace or unity.”
“Now you’re getting it,” said the Rabbi. “To me, they are all following those anti-Semites whom your Secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission thankfully reprimanded just two and half years after the Shoah for their having asserted that the first chapters of Genesis were related ‘en un langage simple et figuré, adapté aux intelligences d’une humanité moins développée…’ The problem is that no one but no one agreed with him on this important Act of the Apostolic See.”
“Pius XII thought he was a bit of a Zeitgeist,” Father Alexámenos responded.
“Don’t get me started!” exclaimed the Rabbi.
“Your not one of those ridiculous ‘Hitler’s Pope’ rabbis are you?” asked Father Alexámenos, fully expecting a negative answer.
“What I complain about regarding Pius XII,” the Rabbi responded just as incisively, “is that you are all afraid to canonize him. You are fools!”
“Look,” countered Father Alexámenos. “If Genesis were written ‘in a simple and figurative language, adapted to the understandings of a less developed humanity’” – and then using air quotes – “‘adapted to the intelligences of a less developed humanity’,” it would mean that the account of Genesis either had to have been written by a non-Semite, who pitied the stupidity of the Semites, or that another descendant of Abraham not having written the account, simply caught it as it dropped out of the sky. But all of that goes against what we both believe about the inspiration of the sacred writer. It’s completely ridiculous. We’re not Muslims! And I agree, it says a lot that the Secretary of the Commission actually had to smack down a dangerous racist attitude even while the last of the ashes of the ovens of Auschwitz were filtering down from the darkened skies. Those he was smacking down were clearly not saying that Abraham’s descendants were simply lacking in culture at a particular period of their history, but that they were stupid because their very humanity had not developed, as if they were Neanderthals, for, as it is, one can be intelligent, and understand, even if one’s culture is not developed.”
“You amaze me,” said the Rabbi. “I’ve never in all my days met someone quite like you, not even…”
But before the Rabbi could mention his friend in the See of Peter, Father Alexámenos continued. He was on his soapbox. “That document has been cited ad nauseam by biblical scholars and theologians, but they give it the opposite meaning. I’ve been trying to get to the identities of those to whom the Biblical Commission’s Secretary was responding. I can guess, but…”
“Your little investigations won’t solve anything, Father,” said the Rabbi dismissively, wanting this priest to be prudent in these matters, but wondering how it was he could be thinking along the same lines as himself.
“And I should warn you of something as well, Rabbi,” said Father Alexámenos, trying to inject some humour into the conversation at the expense of Libreria editrice Vaticana: “Be careful not to be sued for citing Vatican documents verbatim. It could cost you as much as…”
“Thirty pieces of silver?” asked the Rabbi. “I would only betray my own interests in not citing those documents. And, for goodness’ sake! It’s only a conversation.” After a moment, he laughed, and said, “Oh, I see… It would be rather difficult for them to defend their copyright so as to silence a voice against anti-Semitism. Hah!” Both he and Father Alexámenos laughed the laugh of the sadness one has when faced with ignorance before which it seems one can do nothing.
“As it is,” said Father Alexámenos, “I never hesitate to offer an examination of conscience to those who have governance in the Church by way of the characters in the stories I write.”
“Savonarola redivivus, only better,” said the Rabbi, chuckling. “I’d like to read your works.”
“I would be most honoured,” said Father Alexámenos, “but I’ve lost everything in Haïti. My luggage with everything precious to me was stolen and destroyed. Almost everything…” he added, thinking of the picture of his family at his first Holy Communion…
Above, a weather vane in Anatevka, just outside of Kyiv, Ukraine. Our fiddler is preaching, if you will, to the North, as tradition has it, toward the enemy, Moscow, some 100+ years ago. And now it’s happening again.
The Ukraine has been beaten down again and again, to death, as have the Jews. It would be good for all of us to see some of that tradition, how tradition is lived out, in hard identity, in our daily lives. That’s what preaches to the enemy.
These are all people, just like you and I, not to be dismissed, put to a genocide, again, today, as the world looks on. Stalin murdered by starvation the Ukrainians by the millions, the Holodomor, in a much bigger starvation of hundreds of millions throughout Russia, typical diabolical, Communism. Ukrainians are still recovering, 100+ years later, and now, while they are still down, the guy who has prostituted himself to Satana, the putana of Moscow, is on the attack. But let’s hear about the greatness of tradition:
I don’t care whether or not Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary or not (a thousand arguments either side). Fact: Russia is spreading her errors throughout the world, still. Think Biden. Think Trudeau. Think Putin. Think of Catholics who are in dire need of learning some hard-identity Catholicism…
Tradition is not a weakness. It’s the strength of the history of the world, now redeemed by the Lord of History. Tradition is all about being at the heart of Life. God is Life.
But how many actually enjoy killing Tradition, marginalizing those who try to hold up tradition? So, how are we supposed to survive anything in this world without tradition, indeed, without Sacred Tradition? Why take this away?
My video of the front entrance of Yad vaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem (the top of which entrance is pictured above, thanks to Wikipedia commons), has been erased from my collection of personally made videos on my locked-down private YouTube page.
Other videos were left alone. That particular one, very meaningful to me personally, was obliterated.
On any post where my video has appeared on this blog there’s a YouTube placeholder and a statement “This video is private.” That’s not true. It’s gone.
Meanwhile, a Holocaust denier sent me some materials to read up on how to be a negationist like himself.
Just a coincidence. Nevertheless, it’s creepy. And sad.
So, within the boundaries of these United States an anti-Israeli Islamicist terrorist takes Jews as hostages in a synagogue on the Sabbath during services as leverage to get an anti-Israeli Islamicist terrorist out of prison also within the boundaries of these United States, terrorizing a whole class of people (and anyone of good will) to further this end, the very definition of terrorism:
“18 U.S.C. United States Code Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – PART I – CRIMES – CHAPTER 113B – TERRORISM – Sec. 2331 – Definitions – […] (5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that — (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended — (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
Let’s think for a moment about the actual terror. For hours and hours and hours the hostages have to go through hell. They are, again by definition, terrorized when they go through the same flash-bang experience (damn rough, that) and then instantly witness the gunfire that rips up the body of the terrorist guy right in their faces, blood and bits of flesh all over them. All of that will throw them surely into at least some form of traumatic stress. They are grateful to be rescued. Great work to the guys who successfully carried out this rescue operation. But these wounds go deep. But that’s nothing compared to what happened next.
The FBI declared that this had nothing to do with terrorism, even before any investigation could be carried out. That means that the FBI wants the Jews to feel like they are second class citizens, that the government has, at their expense, gone out of its way in this declaration to now invite terrorists to do what this guy did in taking Jews hostages in a synagogue on the Sabbath during services because for some Islamicist purpose, and… – hey! – the FBI will make sure that it turns out differently next time, that the guy kills some Jews, gets his demands, and escapes. The FBI insists that the perp was no terrorist. I bet that this means that the DOJ will bring the SWAT team up on charges for taking out the threat the way they did. Under pressure, they walk this back a bit. It was misspeaking. Sure. But we know what’s really meant.
These FBI guys have unending training on manipulation through verbiage. It’s what they do. It’s their lives, day-in, day-out. They know exactly what they are doing so as to elicit whatever reactions they want. They are so arrogant and cynical, so far above the law that they think everyone believes their self-congratulatory charades.
You want the truth of it? I don’t think for a second that the Jews who are now hostage survivors are all that traumatized. They are angry, and not so much with the terrorist guy (one expects his sort), but rather with the FBI. Yep. It is precisely this political manipulation by the FBI which will do unimaginable moral injury to the freed hostages, the terrorism survivors, to all members of Beth Israel synagogue, to all Jews everywhere. What the FBI has done will throw whatever level of traumatic stress hostages might have endured into an ongoing terror, that of one’s government telling you to your face that you imagined the whole thing, that the Islamicist “religion of peace” always and only has members who are peaceful and who love Jews, always, everywhere.
A message to the FBI: “Je suis Beth Israel.” Why’s that? Because I’m a Catholic priest. And don’t think that’s some form of threat. No, no. It’s a promise to unite my prayers for you with those, surely, of the terrorism survivors.
This is the eighth and final night and day of Hanukkah, the celebration of the intervention of God in the history of the people chosen to be the Lumen gentium, the Light of the Nations, to bring the revelation of God to all mankind. God strengthened the military in two ferocious battles, and then worked a liturgical miracle clearly indicating God’s will.
There is a prayer called Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father, Our King, which expresses an appropriate response to God’s holy will for us all. There are subtitles in the video below. There are different words for different occasions throughout the year, particularly the beginning of the new year (Rosh haShanah). This happens to be the funeral of Shimon Peres some years ago. Don’t let the presence of whatever dignitaries distract you. This is about the prayer. Make it your own:
Hanukkah is not the usual time for this prayer. Hanukkah is a time of joy. However, it seems to me that precisely this prayer is what would inspire the soldiers to get the job done for God and country way back in the day. The battles opened up the taking of the Temple once again. It is this kind of prayer which is transformed into its continuation by way of humble thanksgiving for God’s intervention. God does listen. God does intervene.
But where is God? Where His intervention? Is He listening?
There He is, on the Cross, making all things new, He the Temple, we the living stones in that Temple. His Heart, that Holy of Holies, was pierced through by the soldier. The Holy of Holies was torn open in the Temple by the angels, top to bottom:
“He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” (Matthew 27:50b-52)
It’s not that the Holy of Holies in the Temple was desecrated by the angels, but rather that the Holy of Holies, God Himself, was torn asunder, He who stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us: “Father, forgive them!” He makes all things new, rising from the dead as a pledge of eternal life for us, His light, His presence, His grace making us one with Himself, this new Temple, having us be with Him a Light to the Nations, the Lumen gentium.
From 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 —
“See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.” So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven. Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. Then they took unhewn[d] stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken. Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.”
I did get some holly, but it didn’t work out to hide the LED light clips at the top corners of the stained glass angels. Maybe I can use some of it below the candles. It’s an ongoing project.
Saint Thomas Aquinas settled on but one Jewish-Catholic faith. If I remember correctly, it is Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP in his volume on Faith who made comments on this, as well as Giuseppe Cardinal Siri in his Gethsemane. I’m with Saint Paul, who says:
“ I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost:  That I have great sadness, and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh,  Who are Israelites, to whom belongeth the adoption as of children, and the glory, and the testament, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises:  Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:1-5)
The Jews are the lampstand for the Light who is the Messiah, Jewish through and through. Jesus is the Lumen gentium, the Light of the Nations. They are the family which shines the Light. The nations, with that Light shining upon them, are adopted. But all become one in Christ Jesus.
Veritatis splendor, the Truth’s splendor, is a good moral life, a good spiritual life. Truth begets the action of love. Living as the children of God, keeping the commandments, means being one with God. That’s God’s gift to us. The military victories bringing about the rededication of the Temple were God’s gift to us.
The Temple as the epicenter of God’s presence, with God making the Holy of Holies holy, being rededicated, points to our own necessity of being rededicated as living stones in that Temple.
When Jesus “cleanses” the Temple with a whip of cords, He speaks of the rededication of the Temple of His own Body, which He would raise up in three days. As the Master, so the disciple.
Thinking of improvements for the display above. I wonder… What if I were to put a couple of Lilies on the top-outer corners of the stained-glass angels to hide the clips of the LED lights? That might work…
“If so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet. Unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and made honourable by God: Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:3-5)
“He who bears his cross of sorrows with meekness will inherit in the life to come the glory of God.” (Saint Ephraim the Syrian)
Investigative meditation on Jesus who is the Light of the Nations, the Lumen Gentium:
Get a concordance to the Scriptures and look up the word “glory” as related to God. Perhaps you have a good memory and can recall a few passages. I think you’ll find that the glory of God is the effect of God’s presence in human nature.
Because of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the One Person of Christ Jesus, this glory is perfect in Him.
Saint Paul speaks of our participation in the glory of God. This is based on the Body of Christ, Christ the Head, we the members, the glory of God in us.
The participation we have now is structured by our bearing with the effects of original sin while we are in this world. We do live, please God, in sanctifying grace. If we could plainly see this, I think we would die for joy, quite glorious, so to speak.. but we don’t see this now. Saint Paul says that this same grace turns to glory in heaven. In other words, we being now in some way with this glory of God, but it will be entirely manifest in heaven.
Again, Hanukkah celebrates God’s assistance with the military victory bringing about, once again, the free exercise of religion as witnessed by the rededication of the Temple. Even more, Hanukkah celebrates God’s assistance with worthy liturgy in that Temple. Jesus is that Temple. Jesus is the Light.
 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.  He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.  That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.  Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Jesus is both the Light and the Temple.
The Shamash was upgraded. The cross was added to the stained glass Star of David. Now I gotta hide the cords better and fix the top light on the very top Star of David.
A million little projects. Just calm, at a million miles an hour, but a breather for sure. To start off, the Hanukkah and Christmas picture window display needed setting up. The lighting from last year, pictured above, was not easy. A simplified version was in order, which I like much better:
That was just for the picture, a trial lighting making sure everything works. I’ll change out the “Shamash” candle in the middle. I know, I know, it’s not even Advent, or even Hanukkah, or even Thanksgiving for that matter. Just preparing.
Hanukkah is all about God’s joyful intervention in assisting the celebration of the rededication of the Temple. Christmas is all about the Living Temple in the Body of the Messiah, the Lumen gentium, the Jewish Light of the Nations borne amongst us.
I totally get that the candles or lamps should be wax or oil. I mean, I wouldn’t use electric candles for the Altar for Holy Mass. But this is a celebration at home, which doesn’t have the same candle/lamp viability as does the church.
Hanukkah is super early this year (the lunar calendar thing), beginning Sunday Night 28 November, 2021, which coincides with the evening of the first Sunday of Advent. Hanukkah runs through daytime of Monday, December 6. Only the “Shamash” and the first candle are lit Sunday night, from right to left, night by night. The prayers the first night (from Chavad.org):
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion. [This one is just for the first night.]
Next up on the day off was the cutting of a rose bush out front (which was obscuring the picture window), then the ripping off the Jasmine from the inside fence of the backyard (lots more to be done there), as well as ripping up of the Jasmine that had been hiding “Brake-Man” since springtime. The asparagus forest was also knocked to the ground.
Next up on the day off was attaching the tiniest of all concealed carry holsters next to the standard shift of Sassy the Subaru. I rarely use stuff for what it’s intended. Benefits: availability-at-speed instead of struggling with the seat-belt over the open carry and now, almost winter, under a jacket (the concealed carry permit was just renewed). I can’t imagine concealed carry under a shirt, under a jacket, under a seat-belt. That would be worse than carrying non-chambered. Also, there’s a comfort factor while driving, however slight. But most people won’t carry if there’s the slightest discomfort. I’m no better than anyone else.
The footwell of the passenger seat is a catchall for rituals of all kinds, Holy Water, a sacramental stole, the mail that day, other items of various projects. I don’t care what any ecclesiastical authority, say, in Rome, says about priests being forbidden to give Last Rites because of Covid-whatever, I’m always a priest and always have the right to provide Last Rites. That rebellious spirit applies over against any secular authorities as well. Going up against all the lawyers and upper-echelon admin of the hospital and going up against the governor’s office brought immediate positive results.
The bit of orange you see is a glass-breaker should the doors be wrecked and the electric windows fail. All the electrical in the car failed just the other day. Just sayin’. A left-over from years gone by next to that bit of orange is a really old wallet filled with cancelled credit cards and one dollar in cash. That would be given to any would-be robber who would ask for the wallet if the circumstances permitting that kind of deescalation and avoidance of conflict were present. It just buys enough time to leave a situation and have it resolved another way. We live in weird times. I’ve already been in a car-jacking incident helping transport a retired cop to the hospital. But that guy was apprehended on the spot by the police came screeching up with miraculously good timing.
“But Father George! Father George! You start off with the Temple and the Prince of Peace and wind up with guns?!”
Lol. Yes. That’s me. You might want to read up on the violent occasioning of the celebration of Hanukkah, the celebrating being brought about by God Himself. You might want to recall the violence occasioned in this world throughout time by Adam with original sin (see “Brake-Man” above) but the actual peace we will have in heaven, please God. You might want to remember that the second amendment is a service to one’s fellow man in violent circumstances. This is about just defense over against unprovoked and already being delivered deadly aggression. Statistically, where the second amendment is respected there is a huge decrease in crime. But there is always an increased risk for those who render the service of deescalation and defense of the innocent. There’s really so much good with Jesus intervening amongst us, but it helps us appreciate His entrance into this world when we remember why He came!
The yellow Star of David with “Jude” written inside on a bloody, sweaty, burned scrap of camp-uniform is reminiscent of the Shoah, the Holocaust.
As long time readers know, I have reasons, on every level, for being in solidarity with the Jews.
As long time readers know, I not infrequently feature that very Star above on this blog, as I did about five weeks ago once again. I carry such things in my heart, always.
The Star has 12 sides, obviously referring to the 12 Tribes of Israel. The Star has six points to it, with the number six referring to that which is yet incomplete, which only comes with seven. Israel was looking for the Messiah yet to come. He is symbolized with the center-piece. The Star is to be found everywhere on the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus preached, while He preached there. This is one which Jesus would have seen Himself that is carved into the rock from which the synagogue was made:
I myself do various things with that inside bit:
Sassy the Subaru sports a certain flag with a slight change to the center of the Star, a simple Cross.
Even more, I would call the Star of David instead the Star of the Son of David, with the Star being the living Ark of the Covenant, the Immaculate Mother of the Messiah. We recall the Flos Carmeli:
While the Star of David is very ancient, it is also prominent in more recent presentations of the Qabbalah, which simply refers to a received tradition. Some Jews would know much of this in the mid-20th century, in some places more than others. Some would know merely that it exists but never got into it in the least.
While you may like or dislike Kabbalistic literature (de-)contextualized from its wildly-varied lived experience in wildly varied places and times and cultures and degrees of knowledge about the same, or not, what you might know if you have the least smidgeon of sincerity in you is that not every Jew knows everything there is to know about anything Kabbalistic and therefore is not responsible as a representative of the same (prescinding from anyone’s assent to whatever myriad points about it[!]).
And then I recently got a message from someone who saw that yellow “Jude” Star of David above on my blog as people might on the open ended internet. Surprise was expressed that a Catholic priest would put up just such a Star in that particular context so as to be in solidarity with the Jews. After all, it was said, it is prominent in the Kabbalistic literature, as if that was a conclusion.
I responded that this yellow Star with “Jude” written in it was an obvious reference to the Holocaust, and that… But I was cut off. The person said that the Star belongs to the Jews. They made it up. They can own it. They all deserve everything that they get.
And that last bit was present tense with the direct context being the Shoah, the Holocaust.
I know who this person is. He knows I have Jewish heritage. This attack has been going on for years, but it was never so clear as it was just now. I’m very patient with this sort of thing. Always waiting for more clarity. Often where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. Well, well. Things are very clear right now. And the fires are the ovens. For this guy, all Jews should be put to death because Kabbalistic literature is to be found somewhere in the world.
I am reminded of a distressing documentary of a Neo-Nazi hunter. At one point he says he thought he was going to drop dead as his heart was literally pounding out of his chest what with the entirety of the horror of the holocaust in front of him. Yep.
This is more common than one might think. I can multiply examples. I should collaborate with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Targets out, I’m told, 125 feet, from the new balcony at the house of some parishioners. I was there to bless the house, but stayed for the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. Really good. What a great family. Lots of exquisite food and drink. No alcohol for me!
The old man is one of the most studied up, practiced, scenario-ed constant trainer of decades, having all that the IDF etc have to offer down cold. As soon as he saw that I was carrying, like in a nanosecond, he said: “I like you already.”
Of course, we had to do up some target practice. He gave me Federal to use, which you simply cannot get these days.
The rubbish you see at the tree line above is the group of targets. A close up:
My favorite was the second from the left up top, just a few inches across. It got set to swinging, again and again and again.
I was happy to be accurate at that distance, which I’ve never practiced, ever. The most I’ve done is 25 yards out, just 75 feet, and only quite rarely, concentrating on 21 and 25 feet out. This was another 50 feet beyond the 75 feet, close to another 17 yards farther, with a mere pistol.
Since I haven’t practiced in forever, this was a confidence builder. Of course, without an abundance of ammo, the aim, so to speak, was accuracy, not speed. But I think that will also come back easily enough in future, unless these USA go total communist.
We talked quite about that, communism, and Russia. I said that the old USSR didn’t much like the Jews. No, he agreed. I said it was because they didn’t like moral principles, the Natural Law, such as is expressed in the Ten Commandments. That set off quite the commentary by many, all in agreement.
The conversation and the bullets were all on target. A great time. Surprising what carrying can open up.
In stepping up to shoot I apologized for not having practiced in a long time. Then I pulled the trigger a few times. Then they gave me a new nickname: Shot-Shark. :-)
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the Pontifical Family to go through the personal archives of the Holy Father – having the originals of all correspondence with any Pope – and provide me a copy of the letter of Emmanuel Célestin Cardinal Suhard to Pius XII. But they are afraid. Sooooo afraaaaid! They shouldn’t be. I got the response down cold. I just need to contextualize this with what actually instigated the response. I thought we were going to open up the archives, right? to help out with Jewish-Catholic dialogue, right? RIGHT?
If I got that and made commentary on it and somehow actually got published I would get another nickname from the anti-Semites, and it wouldn’t be so kind to me as Shot-Shark. It might be something like: Jew-Boy! Of course, I would take that as reality and a compliment. In fact, they could be combined: Shot-Shark-Jew-Boy. I like it, a lot. But seriously, that commentary would be done with accuracy such as I still retain with my firearm. ;-)
On top is the original post. Scroll down for the surprising update. ///
Have our U.S. Jewish or U.S.-Israeli Dual-Citizenship friends been cancelled by the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce? I’m guessing that the anti-Israeli “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement is strong in the ACS, Census Bureau and the Dept of Commerce. After all, (1) Arab League countries are included, such as with Lebanon and Egypt under “White” and, in contrast, (2) I’m guessing that everyone knows about what happened recently in Charlottesville against the Jews:
Do our Jewish friends identify the same as White Germans? Really? You’re going to make them say that?
Do our Jewish friends identify as the “White” Arab League countries named? Really? You’re going to make them say that?
Oh! My bad. I get it. Jews are relegated to writing in something with the last line: “Some other race – Print race or origin.“ What that means, though, is that they are not good enough to be White, you know, like the Lebanese on the northern border or the Egyptians on the southern border, or the Hitlerians still round about, say, in Suitland, MD. What that says is that Israel has no right to exist and must be annihilated from the face of the earth. Yep.
About that last line in the form – “Some other race – Print race or origin” – I would be tempted to write in “God’s ‘chosen people'” (Isaiah 43:30), you know, just to give everyone at the anti-Semitic ACS, Census Bureau, Commerce Department a heart attack. In case they claim to be Christian, I cite Jesus:
“Salvation is from the Jews” – Jesus (John 4:22).
Those who are marginalized, put beyond the peripheries, thrown into last place, will be first. Remember, as Saint Paul says:
“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)
UPSHOT: This is yet another reason among so very many why I absolutely will not, as a Catholic Priest, respond to the American Community Survey, even though if not doing so may well earn me Congressionally sanctioned penalties of up to $5,000.00 in fines and up to five years in a Federal Penitentiary. What a bunch of Neo-Nazis, right? Just a question. When you’re looking for genocidal criminals, sometimes you have to know that they may well come to knock on your door when they surmise that you are not complying.
Of course, I still bait them, advertise where I am. It’s not that I’m hiding. Here’s a picture from the slightly revised back of Sassy the Subaru, being more explicit about my dad’s foray’s into service for God and neighbor, always retaining my version of the Israeli flag:
Come and take me! While they pout about all this clarity over against their lack of capacity to be social justice warriors – so easy to see through their anti-American identity politics – making them frustrated and boorish and, I’m quite sure, violent bullies… meanwhile, must I really continue to point out why I can’t comply with such hateful madness in future posts?
I mean, I think all the posts I’ve written on this already should suffice to get some people fired and perhaps jailed for abuse of power over against we the people. Hey! That’s an idea!
Let’s see… who might be able to spearhead litigation or better, a Congressional inquiry, on something like this? Maybe the Simon Wiesenthal Center. After all, they are known for Holocaust research and remembrance, hunting Nazi war criminals, combating anti-Semitism, tolerance education, defending Israel, and its Museum of Tolerance.
UPDATE: After a blusterous apology for their racism some weeks ago (which seems to have disappeared!), here is what is now, at any rate, instead presented by the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, meaning, I win. ;-)
I still hope that the Jews write in at the very end: “The Chosen People.” ;-)