Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We Killed Jesus

Despite this post's title, I won't be indulging in a guilt trip, or bewailing the decline and fall of practically everybody.1

An incident earlier this month could have been much worse: like the Judenschlacht of 1241 or Hep-Hep riots in 1819.

What happened was bad enough, though:
"The chanting started with a rude taunt: Newton North High School students cheering for their basketball team Friday night shouted, 'Where are your girls?' to the fans of Catholic Memorial School, an all-boys school.

"But the response from the Catholic Memorial fans to their opponents, many of whom are Jewish, left the Newton North crowd horrified and upset: 'You killed Jesus!' shouted about 50 to 75 Catholic Memorial students. 'You killed Jesus!'..."
(Evan Allen, Boston Globe (March 12, 2016))
The Boston Globe article doesn't say how many Catholic Memorial fans were at the game, so I don't know if "the Catholic Memorial fans" refers to all the fans, or some of them. Either way, that was unacceptable behavior.

Catholic Memorial's administration thinks so, too. School brass took "corrective action"2 during and after the game, and my guess is that the lesson isn't over yet:
"Archdiocese of Boston Statement Incident involving Catholic Memorial High School"

"...The Archdiocese wishes to make clear that the behavior of a number of students from Catholic Memorial at the game is unacceptable....

"...Cardinal Sean O'Malley stood in solidarity with hundreds of members of the Jewish community and in affirming the Jewish and Catholic communities' shared heritage of faith...

"...We stand ready to assist Catholic Memorial in providing the student body with the awareness education that is needed to ensure that there is no recurrence of these actions or attitudes."
I put the statement's full text2, and links to more resources3, at the end of this post.

Before talking about being a gentile Catholic, and why our Lord died on the Cross: a tip of the hat to Fr. Robert Carr, on Google Plus, for drawing my attention to this short recording of a Palm Sunday homily.
  • "Who Killed Jesus?"
    Words From Holy Trinity Quincy, MA; PodOmatic, 5:25 (March 20, 2016)

Anti-Whatever Soreheads and Me

(From Watson Heston, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
("History Repeats Itself" — "This is the U.S. in the Hands of the Jews:" editorial cartoon from the April 15, 1896 issue of Sound Money magazine.)

I've mentioned the rabid Christians who helped me learn to love rock 'n roll, and eventually become a Catholic, before. (May 3, 2015; January 11, 2015; September 11, 2014)

The lot I ran into seldom mentioned Jews, or Israel: except in the context of their latest 'End Times' prophecy, where Israel occasionally popped up in the ultimate battle between America and Satan. And that's another topic. Topics. (February 21, 2016; April 19, 2015)

America has had its share of anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, and anti-whatever soreheads — yet more topics. (September 6, 2015; June 21, 2015)

I can't reasonably hate Jews, or anybody else. Mainly because —

I Worship a Jew

Jesus is a Jew. That's obvious, from both of our Lord's genealogies. (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38)

They're not exactly the same, and I've explained why the Bible's non-American origin doesn't upset me. (February 21, 2016; October 24, 2014)

Our Lord isn't just ethnically Jewish. While Jesus was here, he lived as a Jew, obedient to God's law: understanding it better than the Pharisees and other control freaks. (Matthew 12:1-5; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 11:52; John 5:6-17; Catechism, 423, 531-531, 582-584, 2173)

I could, by cherry-picking verses like Luke 11:47 and Acts 5:30, claim that God blames the Jews for whatever annoys me.

I really don't need that sort of trouble. Sacred Scripture, Tradition (capital "T"), the Magisterium, and my upcoming particular judgment, are — yet again more topics. (April 12, 2015; March 15, 2015; September 28, 2014; July 13, 2014)

I certainly can't blame 'the Jews' or any other single group for our Lord's death. Not if I take what the Church says seriously.

For starters, some Jewish authorities wanted our Lord dead, others didn't. (Catechism, 595-596)
"1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2

"He came to Jesus at night and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.' "
(John 3:1-2)

"Joseph of Arimathea, 19 a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus."
(Mark 15:43)
Differences of opinion didn't stop after Jesus stopped being dead.
"6 But a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the men to be put outside for a short time,

"and said to them, 'Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men.

"7 Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing.

"After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.

"So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.

"But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.' They were persuaded by him."
(Acts 5:34-39)
I think Gamaliel made sense. (September 14, 2014)

But being right, and making sense, is no guarantee of success. Not in the short run, anyway. I've talked about freedom, McCarthyism, and getting a grip, before, too. (July 19, 2015)

I know enough history to realize that truth wins — eventually. Sometimes we have to be very, very, patient, and that's still another topic. Topics. (January 10, 2016; July 5, 2015; January 18, 2015)

Getting back to our Lord's trial, Pilate was in a highly unenviable position. (November 22, 2015)

The political situation was complicated, the Sanhedrin threatened Pilate during the trial, and "...the personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone...." We must not blame folks who wouldn't be born for another two millennia. Particularly considering what Jesus and Peter said. (Catechism, 596-597)
"Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, 'If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. 3 Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.' "

"They cried out, 'Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your king?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.' "

"So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, 'Do not write "The King of the Jews," but that he said, "I am the King of the Jews." '

"Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.' "
(John 19:12, 15, 21-22)

Forgiveness and Gentiles

Ill-informed Christians and imaginative editors notwithstanding, forgiveness is not a new idea. At all. (March 13, 2016; December 13, 2015; September 6, 2015)
"[Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.'] 5 They divided his garments by casting lots. "
(Luke 23:34)

"Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, 7 just as your leaders did;

"but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, 8 that his Messiah would suffer."
(Acts 3:17-18)
I get the impression that one of the early questions wasn't whether Jews were 'saved:' it was whether the Messiah came for Gentiles, too. (January 3, 2016)
"1 Because of this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ 2 (Jesus) for you Gentiles -
"When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

"which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,

"that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
(Ephesians 3:1, 4-6)

Sin, Death, Redemption

Sin is what happens when I decide not to do something I should; or decide to do something I know is bad for myself or others, and do it anyway. (Catechism, 1849-1864)

It's not loving God, loving my neighbors, seeing everybody as my neighbor, and treating others as I want to be treated. (Matthew 5:43-44, 7:12, 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31 10:25-27, 29-37)

Humanity is not divided into 'the righteous' who can do no wrong and 'sinners' who can do no right. Reality is a whole lot more complicated.

We're still made "in the image of God," as Genesis 1:26-27 says. We're rational creatures who can decide what we do: spiritual beings with a body made from the stuff of this world. (Catechism, 311, 325-348, 1704, 1730-1731)

Having a body isn't the problem, by the way. Satan and the other rebellious angels are pure spirit, and look what happened to them. (Catechism, 385-395)

Our trouble started when the first of us decided to put their preferences above God's — and we've been dealing with consequences of that decision ever since. (Catechism, 396-412)

I've been over this before, often. (March 13, 2016; February 7, 2016; September 27, 2015)

Seeing anything from God's viewpoint is arguably impossible for a finite creature. We can, however, learn and come to understand the Almighty: to some extent. (Catechism, 27-43, 202, 600)

God, predestination, and Psalms 115, are even more topics. (July 26, 2015; September 21, 2014; July 27, 2014)

I can't 'work my way into Heaven.' I rely on our Lord for salvation. (February 7, 2016)

By dying on the Cross, Jesus took on our sin: and made it possible for each of us to take on our Lord's divine, risen, nature. (Catechism, 599-618, 638-655)


That brings me back to the 'who killed Jesus' whodunit. The solution is sort of like Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express."

Everybody who was there4 was involved. Some Jews railroaded our Lord through that trial. Pilate, a gentile, tried to let Jesus off; but finally went along with the local authorities. Roman soldiers — more gentiles — escorted our Lord to Golgotha and nailed Jesus to the Cross.

I am there, too, in a sense: every time I fail to love God and my neighbor, every time I "delight in [my] vices and sins." (Hebrews 6:6; Catechism, 598)

"...life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight...."
I have one life, one soul, and one chance at eternity. Hope is a virtue, despair is not an option, and hope lasts as long as we live. (Catechism, 366, 988-1014, 1021-1022, 1501, 1817-1821, 2091)

And that is — yes, it's another topic. Topics.

More about taking God seriously:

1 If that phrase sounds familiar, your reading habits may be like mine. "The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody" is the title of Will Cuppy's uncompleted historical satire. It didn't stay uncompleted, obviously, since Fred Feldkamp sorted through Cuppy's copious notes: finishing and publishing the book in 1950.

2 Response to a "troubling incident:"
"Archdiocese of Boston Statement Incident involving Catholic Memorial High School"

"The Archdiocese of Boston has learned of a troubling incident that occurred on Friday evening at Newton South High School, during a basketball game between Newton North and Catholic Memorial High Schools. The Archdiocese wishes to make clear that the behavior of a number of students from Catholic Memorial at the game is unacceptable.

"On Thursday evening of this past week, in observance of the 50th anniversary of the Church's landmark document that overturned the Church's history of anti-Jewish attitudes and teaching, Cardinal Sean O'Malley stood in solidarity with hundreds of members of the Jewish community and in affirming the Jewish and Catholic communities' shared heritage of faith.

"We are pleased that the administration of Catholic Memorial took corrective action immediately during and after the basketball game. This incident, while not representative of the school community, presents an opportunity to promote an important learning experience for the students.

"We stand ready to assist Catholic Memorial in providing the student body with the awareness education that is needed to ensure that there is no recurrence of these actions or attitudes."
3 More:
4 Our Lord's mother is a special case. As I've said before, Mary is as human as I am. Catholics don't, or should not, worship her. I've discussed Mary, mother of Jesus, before:


Mr. Mcgranor said...

I am rooting for the Catholic team without the bureaucrats p.c. As for your term 'gentile Catholic', there is no such thing. We are Jews, the Unfulfilled Jew is a gentile. Jesus is a fulfilled Jew, that punishes Jews (A fulfilled Jew becomes a Christian and no longer a Jew.) to this day and is extra hard on them out of all other people for not heeding.

Brian Gill said...

Okay, Mr. Mcgranor. I think I see your point.

I was thinking of my ethnic background: my ancestors were in northwestern Europe for a long time before crossing the Atlantic, and - although family records don't go back that far - most likely made the transition from regional pagan beliefs to Christianity.

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