Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
This is the second week in ordinary time. Originally the Liturgical Year was simply 52 Sundays, 52 celebrations of the Paschal Mystery, in which the Mystery of Faith was proclaimed: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” In the second century the Feast of Easter was established. Then in the fourth century the Feast of Christmas was established. Then there slowly developed for each of these feasts a period of preparation (Advent and Lent) and a period of celebration (Christmastide and Eastertide). So we have the two liturgical seasons of Christmas and Easter.
Between these two seasons there is Ordinary Time. Not Ordinary in the ordinary sense but ordinary in the sense of “ordinalis,” the Latin word for numbered. These are the Numbered Sundays, 33 of them, which witness to the original, basic weekly Sunday celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Feasts of the saints are sandwiched in between the Feasts and the Numbered Sundays. They proclaim the work of Jesus in his followers and offer us an example of what it means to be a disciple and an apostle.
There is not only room for more Feasts but
a great need for more Feasts. Most of all there is a need for more Jewish
Feasts. Christianity is not a new religion that started from scratch.
It is the Judaeo-Christian Religion, the completion of the Jewish religion.
For example, we should have a Feast of Creation. This is where it all begins. How relevant it would be for us today to realize that God is the beginning of all things without God there is nothing. This would be a death blow to secular humanism. How relevant also to realize that man is the lord and steward of creation and will have to give an account of his stewardship. He cannot pollute the air we have to breath, the water we have to drink and the land we have to live on.
We should have a Feast of the Institution of Marriage, between a man and a woman and celebrating the family as the fundamental unit of society. Then a Feast of the Fall of Man. How relevant it would be to factor Original Sin into all of our economic and political plans. Other possibilities would be a Feast of Abraham, Our Father in Faith, reminding us that no matter how impossible the situation may seem “God will provide,” a Feast of The Exodus, reminding us of the Sinai Covenant and the Ten Commandments, and a Feast of the Passover Meal which was the occasion of the Institution of the Eucharist.
Thus, the expression Judaeo-Christian would have greater significance. And converts from Judaism would not feel that they have to give up their religion to become Gentiles but that they are really coming home to the fullness and completion of Judaism because Jesus is the glory of Israel. Shalom! Peace. “Do not be afraid.”
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