I am busy trying to do many things and watch the Vatican’s Mass of the Last Supper on EWTN. However I want to post this Facebook Note while I can:
Today is Holy Thursday. For many others as well as in memory for many who celebrate Holy Thursday this is one of the days of Passover. It is a time to remeber dates.
” On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the paschal lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you wish us to go to prepare the Passover Supper for you? ” He sent two of his disciples with these instructions : “Go into the city and you will come upon a man carrying a water jar, Follow him. Whatever house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my huest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” Then he will show you an upstairs room, spacious , furnished and all in order. That is the place you are to get ready for us.” The disciples went off. When they reached the city they found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover supper.” Mark 14: 12-16 New American Bible.
Later on Jesus would speak of having longed for this holiday feast. He would rejoice in sharing it withthose he did before his terrible Passion — in which he would be the Lamb of God. This holiday feast is essential to understanding the Eucharist, Breaking of Bread and Lord’s Supper which would take place soon and which we commemorate tonight. In the time since Jesus celebrated that Last Supper, the Christian Church has passed through many tirals and been near the Gates of Hell if not quite to them. Hammered by Roman persecutions, Barbarian invasions, Vikings, Islam, Communism, Nazism and a thousnd other threats it has produced a countless number of good effects across many centuries in numerous lands and places. It has gained knowledge, richness and tradition and been adorned with beauty in its history. However, there have been many bad things that have happened to it and within it as well. I want to discuss some of that badness in this note today.
Antisemitism, which in itself is a very imperfect term is really one of the great blemishes on Chrisitianity. That does not mean there are not intrinsic conflicts between the Jewish faith position which is not explicitly also Christian (and that has always been rare) and the Christian Church. However, the idea that somehow the Holocaust was a ong time ago or that it was within a great tradition in CHristianity are both absurd ideas. people slaughter eachother and are slaughtered and those without long status in a state homeland are most likely to be slaughtered and Jews fall into this category and often havein many places and this is a long-standing situation. But the Nazi extermiantion of Jews is the worst and most outlying expression of some very distinct and new horrors. While supported bny many baptized Christians Nazism was clear enough about the difference to be officially Anti-Christian in it policy and Philosophy. First get rid of the Jews and then get rid of Christianity was there clear plan. They knew Jesus was a Jew after all.
1. When Jews converted to Chrisitianity in medieval Europe the King was their godfather and a grerat feast was thrown.
2. Medieval Churches and early renaissance churches in Inquisitorial Spain and elsewhere were built with the sign of the Star of David often included. These churches had abeilief that the extant remains of the House of David were still royalty on Earth and had no trouble sseing how Jesus related to the House of David and struggled in his lifelong postion as regards the House of Herod.
3.For centuries all Christians knew that Jewish rabbis in a hundred cities instructed gentiles in the Septuagint or Greek Old Testament throughout the Hellenic world and Jews were respected intellectuals in much of the pagan Greek world. Those who studied but did not convert were called God-Fearers and it was in the God-fearer network that early Chrisitianity mostly spread. But modern Jews, Protestants and Anglicans reject the Greek version of the Old Testamant and the Greek Orthodox church has been much disabled by Islam and decimated by it and so there is no historic basis of understanding that is true to the origins of the Christian Church except in the tenuous and disturbed fabric of the Roman Catholic Church.
4. Rome has had recent centuries of the Church influence by the very poor heritage of Western Europe and Britain who now often find themselves ot good for Rome and lost much of its other constituency to Islam. It is able to conventiently forget that when the Holy Family fled into egypt they went to a city that was in a cultural and religious state of sophisitication which may be among the greatest ever achieved by mankind. They create a poor ,dirty persecuted Jew more and more as Western Europe loses its sense of all that formed the Christian experience.
Jesus was an Earthly Prince — Son of David. He was a Rabbi. He was a Craftsman. The scene quoted from Scripture above shows his sophisticated secret network and not a miracle. His Apostles carried some weapons even in heavily guarded Jerusalem and he had many followers. The later Medieval and early modern imitation of Christ as mostly poor and obscure is just antisemitic and antichristian nonsense. He did suffer poverty, homelessness and pesecution for good causes.He did accept crucifixion. I will not get to all of that now.
I see a few things also of interest in this year. Our family like many (but not the majority of) Christians will celbrrate a Pseder meal with lamb, bitter herbs and a translation of the ancient Hebrew words into the vernacularof our community (English). I like to try to do this and attend Holy Thursday Mass but sometimes I ctach the ealier broadcasts of the Mass where there is a conflict with this custom.
Spiritually, the Christian Church may be the spotless Bride of Christ but in many ways it is a train wreck. I say that with conviction, I simply think that it is still better than much else in the world even in its flawed human aspects. Some say kate Middleton has knon Jesish descent and if that is true I rejoice in the Anglicans joining her to the Prince in Westminster Abbey. It is worthy and Christian in ways they little understand I smugly declare. But I will hope the marriage goes well over the years and hold some judgement till then. America’s policy in support of Israel seems weak and confused to me. Our President and First Lady are not invited to the Royal Wedding I am told and our country also seems to be a mess. There is agreat deal of inter=relatedness of issues I cannot make clear here. I do wish we were supporting the growth and devlopment of Israel into what it can be. I do wish we had a sound British policy. I do wish we had a healthier Christian Church. However, I am still gratefull to celbrate Holy Week and Easter.
Happy Holidays to all of you. Happy Spring if nothing else. But if you have time while being happy to think about devloping our culture in more healthy and authentic ways — then I am all in favor of it.