Our
Fellowship

Our
Branch

AHC G Household of God Fellowship September 2017 - Hebrew Catholics

Association of

Hebrew Catholics

New Zealand Branch

 

Household of God Fellowship

Click here for a printable copy of this paper

          Hebrew Catholic Renewal, Restoration and Service In the Church 

 

                                                          Dedication                                   Page   2
                                                                     Our Primary Aim

                                               Our Messianic Charism                         Page   3  
                                             Thriving in a Chaotic, Confused World                       Page   4  

       Step 1      “Renewal”?                                                       Page   6
                          Supplement: Our Calling As Members
                          of Christ’s Body, the Church.                            Page 13                                               
       Step 2      “Restoration”                                                    Page 16

       Step 3       “Service”                                                          Page 20
                         Supplement: Sevenfold Model of Service.        Page 23         
                         Additional Note on Worship.                              Page 27
                         Four Special Books                                           Page 28

                          An Invitation to You                                       Page 29

 

Recommended Reading:

Set      1    The Prodigal Father.
Set      2    Calling In The Desert.
Set      3    The Transfiguration of the Lord.
Set      4    Salt of the Earth : Light of the World.
Set      5    Hanukkah: Feast of Dedication.
Set      6    The Pope as the King’s Royal Steward.
Set      7    The Return of the Jews.
Set      8    Mary, Queen Mother of Jerusalem.
Set      9    Why We Honour Mary.

 

Hyperlinks To Our Website:

     •    Prologue (with reflections) to the Rule of St. Benedict
     •    Hebrew Catholic Presence In the Church
     •    Little Office of the Passion
     •    A Visit to the Crucifix
     •    Vespers of Our Lady
     •    Reflections on the Sunday Gospels
     •    Scripture Meditation (Hebrew Catholic Lectio Divina)
     •    An Oratory At Home

Updated 5 August 2014.

 

Dedication

To the Greater Glory of God:

Father, Son and Holy Spirit — in honour of

The Holy Family

holy_family

 

 

The Divine Family

“It has been said, in a beautiful and profound way, that our God in his
deepest mystery, is not a solitude, but a family, since he has in himself
fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of the family, which is love.”
John Paul II, Homily of 28 January, 1979.at Puebla.

The Holy Family

We look upon the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the most
perfect earthly model of a family which reflects the love and spiritual
wholesomeness of the Divine Family, the Blessed Trinity.

The Parish Family

Our Fellowship is intensely focussed on upholding and supporting families,
especially in their spiritual needs. We are committed, within the expression
of our Charism, to give priority to helping religious practice within family
homes to flourish; and from these centres, dispersed throughout the
community, to embrace neighbours, friends and relatives in our Christian
celebrations. In this way we seek to extend to all around us, the blessings
emanating from our parish family, and its most sacred Family Celebration
— the Holy Eucharist — for which we continue to gather until our Messiah,
|the Lord Jesus, returns.

Household of God Foundation

The Household of God Fellowship, therefore seeks to reflect in all its
activities, the warmth of God’s love and His strong desire to draw into His
Household and Family circle, all who wish to share in the gifts and privileges
this brings: life in all its fullness.

Let us bless God

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who chooses to include
our families, our homes and celebrations as a special resting place of
His Divine Family Presence.

 

Our Messianic Charism

Our Primary Aim

The Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC) is a body comprising people from a range of other backgrounds and origins, including Judaism,  who collectively, — and very sincerely — seek to make the gift of Hebrew Catholic culture in the Church a tangible reality. We do not try to “take pretentiously the Church by storm”, or use any kind of pressure to make our presence known. Instead, in the spirit of our founder, Fr Elias Friedman OCD — Carmelite priest — we seek to serve the Church which so graciously receives and nurtures us all, and bear witness as best we can to the heritage we wish collectively to uphold and share.

The aims and purpose of the AHC are fully spelled out in other documents. This article attempts to outline an aspect of our development which is focussed on giving expression to Hebrew Catholic forms of prayer, meditation, worship, celebration, community service and other related activities: individual, as well as in family and other group settings. The material is presented more in the nature of a resource pack than an article or booklet. The intention is to provide interested groups with what could form the content of a weekend seminar or retreat. It is important for us to emphasise that this apostolate, or ministry, is one which welcomes all members of the Church, and is not preoccupied by percentages of Gentile or Jewish members or any other characteristic feature, other than the desire to help all our members appreciate and benefit from, our Hebrew Catholic heritage.

We have been much inspired by the works of Fr. Elias Friedman, and one of his counsels is of special significance:

“Consider the primary aim of the group to be,
not the conversion of the Jews, but the creation
of a new Hebrew Catholic community life and spirit,
an alternative society to the old.”
                          
(Quoted from: The Hebrew Catholic No. 91 2013-2014)

This inspires us to reach out and make contact with our fellow Christians and, indeed, any interested person, with a view to promoting this beautiful vision in our contemporary world.

What follows is an explanation of how we see our role in the Church at large. Our hope is that you, as a reader, will consider joining us and help us to make this vision a reality.

We have given this “new Hebrew Catholic community” in our own country, the name: Household of God Fellowship and dedicated it under the patronage of the Holy Family.

This paper outlines the initial assembly phase, open as it is to review and redevelopment as time progresses.

 

 Thriving in a chaotic, confused world

Terrible Tares!     Wonderful Wheat!

As we introduce our thoughts on the Household of God Fellowship and our service of renewal in the Church and in the world, our Lord′s Parable of the Tares and the Wheat offers some important reminders.His parable shows that wonderful wheat can still thrive even when surrounded by terrible tares and weeds. This is really important to remember if we find ourselves distraught at all the devastating things happening both in the Church and in the world at large. We could list these, but find that most people are fully aware of them, and are more interested in getting on with dealing to them.

One area of profound disquiet however is sometimes overlooked and may be worth considering for a moment ― and that is the amazingly successful deception that takes place in modern societies. If you are going to deceive anyone, it seems that by today′s standards, it pays to do it “big time”! We are daily confronted with almost unbelievable deception in such things as political schemes, banking and finance, and even more spectacularly in bizarre religion. Despite the impressive amount of exposure of the deception involved, they continue on their course; such is their momentum and power to attract support. Reasonable people, if they become aware of these things, feel powerless to make a positive move.

Fortunately, we do not have to remain suspended in a sea of confusion. When we read the Prophets and their messages and warnings, and remember our Lord′s comments on the human situation, there is every reason to have a profound sense of hope in God′s purposes.

It is true that we are experiencing unprecedented success in atheistic forces destroying much Judaeo-Christian culture. But it is also true that we are witnessing an unmistakably strong determined search among young people for authentic and relevant spirituality. The tares growing up around us are indeed terrible ― if not terrifying. But the new wheat emerging far outclasses the tares among which it has had to survive. It is critical for us to open our eyes and ears ― our spiritual eyes and ears, that is ― and behold the works of God in our midst. It may take time and effort in reflection to perceive these signs of hope ― but they are there, just the same. Our Lord’s parable helps us to keep our focus on His mission rather than allowing ourselves to be distracted by forces looking for any opportunities they can use for their destructive purposes.

A second aspect of renewal we need to keep in mind is the ancient Biblical teaching, strongly endorsed by the Messiah ― our Lord, Jesus Christ ― that when we despair at the state of things all around us, all renewal, cleansing, restoration, and rebuilding begin within ourselves. That is God′s way, and it is futile to try and take shortcuts by moralising and seeing evil everywhere but in ourselves. The Biblical precedent is critically important: to build anew, the builders must first be renewed themselves. Thus, personally renewed, they go about works of restoration and consecrated service to the greater glory of God.

The Sacred Scriptures are thoroughly consistent, from most ancient times to our Lord′s establishment of His Church, that the people who form God′s Household must remain consecrated in His Service. As in the ancient times of the prophets so the Church constantly calls her members to be purified and renewed in holiness. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, as we know, is aimed especially at providing the members of Christ with access to this very necessary renewal.

If we wish to see the Christian life and spirit flourishing in the world, we must also remain connected, to our spiritual heritage in order  to fulfill our Lord’s expectation. This leads us to focus on what we call our charism.

 

Bringing Forth “the New and the Old”.

The Charismatic Dimension of the Household of God Fellowship

Hebrew Catholic Fellowship Thanksgiving To The Blessed Holy Trinity

Jesus said, “Every scribe  (Teacher of Torah)who has been
instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a
household who brings from his storeroom both
the new and the old.”
                                        (St. Matthew 13: 52)

This is how we are called, in this apostolate, to serve God in the way He has commanded.

Our Fellowship, seeking always to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, considers the treasures of the Faith: “the new and the old,” to be vital for the life of the Church in the world. Indeed, it is in the light of the Holy Spirit that we find our inspiration in the rediscovery of our heritage in both the “Old” as well as the “New” Testaments; in both the Hebrew and Christian cultures. We therefore understand our service, and the gifts given to us to put this into practice, to be the work God calls us to perform in harmony with other ministries within the Church. It is the re-awakening within the Church, of its own Hebrew spiritual heritage — somewhat covered over by events in the world — but now re-emerging: quietly, gently, yet fervently in the perilous times we are experiencing. It is, indeed, a gift of the Holy Spirit and becoming recognised as part of the restoration within the Church, of the whole of its charismatic and contemplative dimension.  For Reflection on Matt. 13: 44 — 52 see “Treasures New and Old“.

 

We Help One Another By:

•   Spiritual Renewal in the Biblical tradition;

•   Restoration of our shared Hebrew Christian heritage;

•   Service within the Church through a range of ministries.

We do this in three settings:―

≠    our own homes;

≠    our parish family;

≠    our extended family, that is, the wider circle of people among
      whom we live (our community) remembering that they too, are
      among people for whom God cares.

We can therefore briefly state our Messianic Charism: i.e. the way in which we are called to use our spiritual gifts within the Church as:

Bringing forth from the Father’s Household, treasures both new and old ―

      by:   Renewal,          Restoration,     and      Service

      in:    Homes,             Parishes,          and      Communities

Please read our article:  “Household of God Fellowship” for a more detailed explanation.

 

A Key Feature of Our Charism

Charisms are often referred to as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Whilst the Sacred Scriptures highlight very special gifts to the Church, the range can also be seen to include, any gift the Holy Spirit wishes to endow us with, to help uscarry out our appointed tasks. Charisms tend to identify special “works” the Holy Spirit turns our attention towards. They also empower us to develop skills and spiritual stamina in particular aspects that we may carry out God’s will to his Greater Glory.

In our corner of the Lord′s vineyard we have over the past number of years become profoundly aware of a particular calling as the medium in which we are to serve the Church and help restore our Hebrew Heritage for all its members. This particular charism, echoing as it does, the ancient Prophets in their teaching and the piercing ring of St John the Baptist, our Lord and His Apostles, emerge as a crystal-clear standard which is to characterise all of our work. That charism is: to present in all our gatherings, the Person of Jesus Christ, Christ our Torah — Jesus Christ the Living Word, and His Holy Teaching in the plainest, most intelligible language possible for the edification of everyone present. This is also to be evident in our written teaching for all the faithful.

This standard permits no other presentation than that which is offered in the language and culture of everyone present at the gatherings in which we participate.

Our “Gospel Reflections” – Years A, B, and C give intended to help serve this urgent need. Thus we seek to share with our neighbour, the fruit of our study and contemplation of the Divine Word.

In this matter we are much encouraged by St. Paul of the Cross, one of the great teachers of prayer and the spiritual life, who instructed the members of his order in this way:

•    No member is to teach or preach in so lofty and elevated a
     style that the message becomes obscure to the average
     listener.

•    They should break the bread of God’s Word with clarity
     and sincerity, so that it will be more effective in reaching
     hearts and in promoting the greatest glory of God and the
     salvation of souls.

•    They are to teach the people how to meditate in the easiest
     and simplest way possible.

•    They are not to favour locations where there will be large
     crowds but to seek out the poor and needy, going even to
     remote places including those neglected by other apostolic
     ministers.      (From the original Rule of St Paul of the Cross).

These are foundation principles of our Fellowship.

 

Application in our work

It will have become evident that we are, as we wrote, “crystal-clear” that all of our ministries take place in an atmosphere of plain, everyday language understood by all present. For us, to remain faithful to our calling, this is a pressing standard to be maintained very strictly. Our emphatic statements in this regard, however, refer to the performance of our role, and are not to be taken as a direct or indirect reference to any other ministry or apostolate of the Church.

 

Private Prayer

As far as the Charismatic Dimension of the Church is concerned we offer material for private devotion, but make no “rules” as to how it is used. That is a private matter and can be discussed with a spiritual director.

Most of us have heard of the little girl, who after making her first Communion returned to her seat and, for thanksgiving, recited the alphabet to our Lord, and then told Him a ghost story! Our private prayer is our personal gift to the Lord and we, must be given the freedom to offer what is especially meaningful to us.

 

Finale

We provide two links to two articles to support this understanding of Our Messianic Charism.

1.    The topic “Charismatic Dimension” is, we believe extremely
       important for us to understand. We have attached a link to
       an excellent article which elaborates further the teaching of
       the Sacred Magisterium.

       Charisms: What are they?      Who are they for?
       What does the Church teach?

Click here for Ralph Martin   —   (www.renewalministries.net)

Rediscovering the Charismatic Dimension: Recent Magisterial Teaching

2.    Treasures New and Old: St. Matthew 13: 44 — 52.

 

Action!

We invite all who would like to join us, to take together, three exciting steps towards extending Christ’s Kingdom in this world and enjoying His fellowship:

•    Step 1:   Getting Personally involved in Renewal.

•    Step 2:   Helping in the Restoration of our Hebrew heritage.

•    Step 3:   Growing fully into the Service of Christ’s Body, the Church.

 

Step 1 — Getting Personally Involved In Renewal

A      A Biblical Model
B     Spectacular Renewal
C     The Constant Call of the Prophets: A Recurring Theme.
D     Call For “Renewal” Echoed in the New Testament
E     Turning and Listening to the Word of God Made Flesh
F      Listen – Obey – Live

- – – – – – – – – -

A    The Biblical Model

In a Hebrew Catholic understanding of “renewal, it helps to recall the link between the Prophecy of Isaiah (65: 17) of “the new heavens and new earth” and the advent of the Messiah to bring this to perfection. In St. Matthew’s Gospel (19: 28) our Lord used a word (translated in Greek ‘palingenesia’) which means the renewal of all things — the new birth of the world. Although this is to be revealed in all its glory at the end of time, it has also been in progress from the time of His resurrection. St. Paul (Titus 3: 5), talking about baptism, considered this renewal, this regeneration in Christ, as the new creation prophesied by Isaiah — or at least the beginning of the restoration of the blessedness and harmony lost by the disobedience of our first parents.

Thus, to talk about Biblical renewal we glance back at where mankind has come from, as well as look forward to the return of the Messiah to bring God’s plan of restoration to perfection. The Return of the Messiah will see the perfect return or restoration of all creation to its primeval beauty, peace and harmony.

In the Christian vision, as St. Paul so forthrightly claims, our baptism is our first step on the path God has provided for us to return fully to His Household. The Church elaborates this magnificently in the Holy Week and Easter Liturgies. At this time we renew our Baptismal vows and acknowledge we have strayed from the path; but in God’s love, have been brought back, cleansed and fully reinstated as members of His family.

In practical terms, renewal —

never involves the construction or introduction of new doctrines ― “hitherto not revealed”: yet gives witness to the unfolding of new understandings of ancient texts;

never fosters the pursuit of entertaining signs and wonders and instant gratification of the senses: yet continues to include miracles as signs of God′s caring concern for our human condition;

never involves the total abandonment of time-honoured devotions and practices, nor replacing them with new: yet it approves the introduction of new additional approaches to spirituality.

Renewal always involves essentially, a return to the Lord and His Teaching through conviction and a desire to reform ― to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call to be regenerated in and through His Son, Jesus Messiah. Thus “renewal” is, as it were, a consequence of our conversion and consecration to our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

B     Spectacular Renewal

One of the most beautiful parables in all of Sacred Scripture is often referred to as “the Parable of the Prodigal Son”. Usually when we hear it told, or when we read it, we are struck by the changes that came over the young man. And they are certainly remarkable. But so often we miss something equally revealing about the son′s father.

Chapter 15 of St Luke′s Gospel opens with parables showing God as not only waiting for the return of those who have wandered from Him ― but also going off to search for them and rejoicing when they are found. The parable of the Prodigal Son reinforces these truths more than any other teaching by our Lord. In this parable the father is thrilled beyond description at his son′s return ― knowing that the young man had just done the hardest thing he would ever be called upon to do: to admit that he was wrong and to ask to be forgiven. He therefore needed warm, loving hospitality more than anything else at this time.

Our Lord could not be more emphatic; despite all the son′s misdeeds, and since he is genuinely sorry ― what matters is that he has come home! He has returned to the father′s household where he would always belong! That being the case, everything else could then be put right! In fact the ever-faithful father talks of his son not just being reconciled, but coming back to life ― he is a new person. It is a new beginning.

This is real “renewal”!

So the first thing we learn from our Lord as far as putting things right, is concerned, is that we need to turn around, turn back if need be, and show genuine sorrow for leaving the way God laid out for us. Only then can we be reconciled.

Since the Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most important lessons our Lord gave, and because it focuses so strongly on a great return and a whole new life, which emerges from the event, it is worth taking a quiet “walk” through the account and note how it unfolds. We find the account presented to us in St Luke 15: 11 ― 32.

See our Reflections, “The Prodigal Father”.
Recommended Reading Set 1.

In this wonderful illustration, our Lord is reiterating what the Prophets had long preached to the People Israel when they departed from God′s way. Let′s take a brief moment to be reminded of their constant message. In doing this we will review just some of the great passages which show God calling His people, through his agents ― the Prophets ― to return to Him and to his path leading to the fullness of life which He desired for them.

C     The Constant Call of the Prophets: A Recurring Theme

In telling the various parables about “turning back” to God ― repenting of sin and all Heaven rejoicing, our Lord was giving voice to the frequent call from the Prophets to the People Israel: Return to serving God and Him alone! The same call is heard loud and clear in the early days of the infant Church, firmly grounded as it was in the Hebrew Scriptures.

•    First Duty of God’s People
Words God commanded Moses to proclaim to his People Israel.

Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, The lord alone!
Therefore you shall love the Lord, your God, with your
whole heart, with your whole being, and with all your strength.

Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep
repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are
at home and when you are away, when you lie down and
when you get up (or: whether you are busy or at rest).

                                                                                                        Deuteronomy 6: 4 – 7

•    A Promise of Restoration

Since the days of your fathers you have turned aside from
my statutes, and have not kept them. Return to me and
I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts.            Malachi 3: 7

•    Conversion: An Absolutely Vital Condition

If you wish with your whole heart to return to the Lord,
put away your foreign gods and your Ashtaroth
(statues of the goddess Aestate), devote yourselves
to the Lord and worship him alone.                      1 Samuel 3
.

•    Interior Renewal Reveals God’s Loving Nature

Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting and
weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your
garments #, and return to the Lord your God. For
gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.                                           Joel 2: 12

#   God calls for consecration by interior renewal and transformation.

 •    Repentance Dissolves Offences

I have brushed away your offences like a cloud, your sins
like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. 
                                                                    Isaiah 44: 22

 D     Call For “Renewal” Echoed in the New Testament

•    Each Person Must Remove Obstacles.

In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert
of Judea (and) saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is
at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when
he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the
way of the Lord, make straight his paths’.”  St. Matthew 3: 1 to 3

See our Reflections, “Calling In The Desert”
Recommended Reading Set 2.

•    First Step Each Person To Take

Jesus Messiah begins His public ministry with the proclamation of the Prophet, John the Baptist.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
St. Matthew 4: 17

This is how St. Mark records the opening lines of our Lord’s ministry

“This is the time of fulfilment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
St Mark 1: 15

The word gospel comes from Old English: good spel meaning good words, therefore good story; the Anglo Saxon rendering of the Greek — evangelion — (good news).

•    The Complete Torah

God the Father proclaims, from Heaven, His sole Commandment to the
Church in which He implies His Son is the embodiment of His entire teaching.

“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
St. Luke 9: 35

His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) is the Torah made flesh. God declares that the whole of His Teaching, His Words proclaimed to Moses, — the whole of His Love (and these all mean the same thing) — these are the Holy Torah. Jesus, Son of God, is the Torah made flesh. (John 1: 14). And God Commands, “Listen to Him“.

•    The Key Words and Meaning of Torah Renewed
Jesus Messiah affirms the proclamation of Moses Deuteronomy 6: 4
and adds Leviticus 19: 18 as was rabbinic custom.

The first Commandment is this:

‘Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this:

‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
                                                                                                      St. Mark 12: 29 and 30   

•    Approach God Having Been Cleansed  
The Jewish Bishop of Jerusalem calls for renewal of mind and heart.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your
hands #, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds.

                                                                                                      St. James 4: 8.

#   St. James uses the customary Jewish language for being purified and
rendered holy, i.e. consecrated for the Lord’s service; emphasising the need
to repent of having two minds ― being called to serve God but entertaining
thoughts of worldly priorities, which lead in the opposite direction!

 E     Turning and Listening to the Word of God Made Flesh

We pause for a moment to reflect on two of the very powerful quotations in Section 2.4 above.

First:  Proclamation of St. John the Baptist

The stage for our Lord to commence His public ministry is set by His cousin St John the Baptist. His words remain as relevant to us today as they were when he declared:

 “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

We are so accustomed to decrying all the evils in the world that
we easily overlook the essential message of St. John. He taught,
as our Lord was to continue, that the true enemy was a person’s
own sinfulness, and not the evils of others; not Rome but the
impure Jewish or Christian heart! Christian groups who label
other Christians as “the anti-Christ” and so on, have looked in
the wrong place for the enemy. The Gospel accounts insist on
the principle of putting your own house in order before you
dare to criticise others. How much we need the Baptist’s message
to stir us out of our slumber!


As Christian culture appears to be collapsing all around us, we
have some very good advice from the Baptist who spoke the
truth with clarity and great courage. The challenge will be for
us to listen to and absorb the message, as our Lord insists:
“be of good cheer”, and go forth humbly but confidently to
follow Him. He is the Head of the Church and He is, despite
appearances, at the front, leading those who dare to follow
as His disciples.

See our  Reflections, “Calling in the Desert”.
Recommended Reading Set 2.

     Secondly:  Proclamation of God at the Transfiguration of Jesus.
This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”  St. Matthew 17: 1 to 9

During His three year ministry, our Lord was presented to His senior disciples as the very Word of God to whom He commanded them to listen — to hear as the Teacher, the Torah in Person — the embodiment of God the Father’s total message to His people. In this great moment in our Salvation History God proclaimed that Jesus Messiah and His Words, His teaching were to be the whole Way, the whole Truth, the whole Life.

One of the chief ways the Church has always encouraged and helped us obey God’s command is to call us to read or listen to Sacred Scripture reverently and reflect on it often, allowing the Divine Word to feed our soul and form in us the mind of Christ. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us as we listen to the Word within the words — the Word behind the words. And we listen to obey. This is what we call meditation — learning to listen as well as learning to obey, and learning to live in the love of God. (see our unit, Scripture Meditation).

We recommend you meditate on this unique event as recorded by St. Matthew (Matt. 17: 1— 9).

See our Reflections, “The Transfiguration of the Lord”
Recommended Reading Set 3.

As we consider this wonderful passage, we soon learn that the command to “listen” to our Lord is not just to pay attention to His words. It is to listen eagerly with a grateful heart to hear His message and carry it out — i.e. to obey and to live accordingly.

F     Listen – Obey – Live

The message of “Return to the Lord!” in the Hebrew Scriptures (O.T.) gains, therefore, in the New Testament, the added force of the Commandment from the Father: “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him!”

Thus God’s way forward for us is that we repent of our sins – are sorry for them and turn back to God, and listen to His appointed Teacher, that is, the Anointed One. The Biblical model for this important change of heart and mind is summarised in the three words: Listen — Obey — Live.

This therefore becomes our calling, our vocation, as members of Christ’s Body the Church. Christ is our model, and for us to “return” to the Lord God means following the Way, the Truth and the Life He teaches, as we await and pray for His Glorious Return.

To reiterate:

For us, “renewal” means personal conversion and consecration
by listening and obeying as we prepare earnestly for the
Return of the Messiah in Glory!

We offer a brief meditation on our vocation in “Our Calling as Members of Christ’s Body in the Church” which may assist in “unpacking” some of the profound richness of the Christian Life.

We commend to you for your reflection either at this point,
or when time permits, the attached supplement

“Our Calling as Members of Christ’s Body, the Church”
which follows: Pages 13 — 15.

 To Summarise

These then are some of the foundation principles which have guided the formation of the Household of God Fellowship as an active community of Hebrew Catholic renewal — renewal which is a sincere attempt to contribute to the life of the Church drawing from the wellsprings of the Hebrew Scriptures and culture.

Thus Step 1 in this exciting apostolate is our personal renewal and dedication to the Lord Jesus — the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

Now we look at the second step (page 16), in which we can all participate in helping restore our Hebrew heritage.

 

Our Calling as Members

of Christ’s Body, the Church.

Our vocation, or calling as Christians, is deeply etched in the whole of our Judaeo-Christian Biblical culture. It can be enunciated in a single breath and yet take a life-time to explain. As mission-oriented Christians, we certainly need to be able to express our calling simply in our own language. We also need to live it out in our daily lives, and be able to give our personal view and understanding of it in a conversation or discussion. Some are called to be equipped to express this calling in greater scope and depth ― but all members of the Church can build an ever-deepening appreciation of our unique and wonderful heritage as Christians, at whatever level we feel is right for us.

Our experience in assisting ourselves and others to achieve this has shown that it can be helpful to start with a simple statement of fact and gradually enlarge it. What follows is one approach that has proved useful and effective.

For some a good starting place is to be able to state:

“I am a Christian ― that is, a follower of Jesus Christ, learning
to live the way of life He taught us.”

How we go on from that point is each person′s choice and depends upon circumstances at the time. We have assembled two charts with the intention of helping unpack the above statement. Some may call it too simplistic or forced. We do not see it that way and therefore pursue it as a means of unfolding our personal understanding of our vocation as members of Christ′s Body, the Church.

- – – – – – – – -

In carrying out this role, this calling, we “bring into play” as the saying goes, the well-springs of our Hebrew Christian Charism: Renewal, Restoration, Service. It is our way of responding to our vocation within the life of the Church. It is not a matter of stilted conformity to a charter. Rather it is welcoming opportunities to share what we are and believe in among those with whom we mix ― and we can do this quietly without seeking to force-feed anyone. It is as much doing and being what we believe, as it is in telling it!

- – – – – – – – – -

The whole of our vocation as members of the Household of God is summed up by our Messiah, the Lord Jesus, when He reaffirmed the central core of the Hebrew Christian Faith:

to love the one and only God totally and obey His Divine Word — and
to reflect this in every aspect of our life. This is how He expressed it:

This is how it is recorded in the Gospels: The first commandment is:

Jesus said:

 ” ‘Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all
your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this:

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other
commandment greater than these. The whole of the Law
and the Prophets depend of these two commandments.”

(Deuteronomy 6: 4)       (Leviticus 19: 18)       (Matthew 22: 39 — 41)       (Mark 12: 29 — 31)

Jesus demonstrated this perfectly in His life, death and resurrection; and has come to restore us so that we can do the same.

 

Our Messiah Is Our Model

From a reading of the four Gospels and a sweeping overview of the public ministry of our Lord, we could summarise three significant action-streams, which show what He stands for.

•    Jesus calls disciples and proclaims His message.

•    Jesus obeys His Father and sacrifices His life for us.

 •    Jesus rises to New Life and ascends into Heaven.

 We can expand this a little to show how Jesus exemplified in His life the core of the message He delivered. So let us take a look at this in a diagrammatic overview.

 

A Snapshot of the Messiah in Word and Action

I

CALL AND
PROCLAMATION

 

Jesus proclaimed His Gospel: (and continues to do so through His Church.)

 

• He has come to call and deliver us from all that enslaves us, isolates us, limits us and separates us from God.

• He has come to fulfill prophecy in obedience to His Father and to sacrifice His life for our eternal salvation.

• He will rise from the dead to New Life and prepare a place for us in heaven: and will come again to restore the whole of creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II

OBEDIENCE AND
SACRIFICE

 

 

 

 

• In His obedience to His Father’s Will, Jesus underwent His Passion and sacrificial death for our sake as well as that of all humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III

NEW LIFE AND
NEW KINGDOM

 

 

 

 

• Jesus rose to live with us and for us ― to give us LIFE to the full: His LIFE.

• He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us. He sends the Holy Spirit to assist us and prepare us for service to God and equip us finally to be with Him.

• He will return at the end of time to complete God’s plan of total restoration of all creation in the glorious Kingdom of His Son. The world has always been the Kingdom of He who created it. It is now for us to recognise it as the vineyard of the Lord in which we are to apply every ability we have in His service, preparing it as we await His Glorious Return.

 

 

How Can We Reflect This Model?

Remember What We Are. — We are Christians — that is,
followers of Jesus Christ, learning to live the way He taught us!

I

Listen to the Messiah
and His message of life to the full, and let it dwell in us richly.

 

LISTEN

• He calls us, invites us to follow Him in a journey away from enslavement to ungodly beliefs and practices none of which lead to true happiness.

• With the help of the Holy Spirit we embark on this journey of returning to God, helping and encouraging one another.

• We listen and respond wholeheartedly to Him and follow His path ― a journey out of darkness into light.

 

Note:

This journey includes learning to pray, to study, to worship, to celebrate and to recover a new sense of hope and enjoyment of life.

 

 

 

II

Obey His Commands.
Die sacrificially
with Him!

 

 

OBEY

• Jesus bids us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.

• We must unite our will with His and obey His commandments.

• We thus die daily to our own selfishness, self-importance, limitations and indulgence. We do this in union with His own death.

 

Notes:

In this way we prove our love for God, and for our neighbours.

We die to self as we give priority to helping other people. Thus we listen to their stories of pain, hurt, deprivation, anger, despair, loneliness: and do what we can to redress injustice, oppression, and sadness.

 

III

Rise with Him
and
Live abundantly in Him!

 

 

LIVE

• We share in His Risen LIFE As members of His Household, even in this world.

• We begin to experience ABUNDANT LIFE in the full which is a preparation for our LIFE with Him in Heaven.

• He will return to bring the whole of God’s plan to consummation and glorious fulfillment. Meanwhile He commands us to live by Gospel values and take these out and share them with “every creature” in preparation for His Glorious Return.

 

Note:

This is something we do as members of God’s Household in the company of His Family.

 

 

Note: We offer an expansion of these three “streams” in Unit 6
             of our article — “The Gospel to Every Creature”.   
                              

 

Step 2 — Helping In The Restoration of

Our Hebrew Heritage

Reconnection with Our Heritage

Our Fellowship has grown out of a desire to share aspects of Jewish culture in ways which support traditional Catholic worship and spirituality. This means in fact, drawing from what is already the Church’s patrimony since it is the living fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel. The Church has been doing this in some considerable measure for the past 2000 years. Our Fellowship is therefore highlighting the cultural inheritance of the Church and encouraging fellow Christians to join us as we expand our awareness of this inheritance and its growing active presence in the Church.

For us, it is equally important to demonstrate how truly Hebraic many aspects of Christian worship and spirituality already are. Thus we like to share the experience with all who choose to join us, of worshipping, studying and socialising in a harmonious demonstration of genuine Hebrew Catholic culture.

What’s In a Name?

The understanding which the first Christians had of belonging to the Household of God was grounded very much in the knowledge that they were included among God’s people, chosen for a mission, and grafted on to the “olive tree” St. Paul writes so much about. Writing to the new Ephesian Christians, (2: 19) he talks of them now, through Christ, belonging to the “Household of God”.

The names by which God’s people are called signify different aspects of their magnificent heritage. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects this beautifully in Part One (S.2. Chapter 3. Article 9.).  Sub-sections 753 to 757 describe “Symbols of the Church”, and refers to a “sheepfold”, a “cultivated field”, the “building of God”, “that Jerusalem which is above,” and “our mother”. Paragraph 756 is especially meaningful for members of the Hebrew Catholic apostolate. It reads:

“Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord
compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but
which was made into the corner-stone. On this foundation the
Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives
solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it:
the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of
God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and
especially the holy temple. This temple, symbolised in places
of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not
without reason, is compared in the Liturgy to the Holy City,  
the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built
into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down
out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared
like a bride adorned for her husband.”

What Do We Mean By “Reconnection With Our Heritage”?

The small but flourishing Hebrew Catholic reawakening in the Church is evidenced in a number of significant emerging manifestations which help explain what we mean by reconnection with our heritage and belonging to the Household of God:

 •    Reclaiming time and space in our lives and in our contemporary
      society in which to foster an energetic Hebrew Catholic culture which
      draws from the past riches of both Jewish and Catholic spirituality
      to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind.

•    Rediscovering the Jewish origins of personal and corporate worship
      in the life of the Church and encouraging renewed applications of
      these in our contemporary situation.

•    Re-invigorating within members of the Church and any interested
      person, a strong love of studying the Scripture and Teaching of the
      Church to support the growth of a vibrant, robust and life-changing
      spirituality.

•    Restoring an Israelite community analogous to that present in the
      early centuries of the Church.

•    Rekindling the irrevocable calling and gifts of the People Israel
      within the Church and the collective witness of the Jewish People
      to Jesus and His Church.                               
(Roman 11: 28 – 29).

•    Recovering a Hebrew Catholic perspective in our teaching and
      understanding of the Christian Faith in our contemporary world.

An Expression of Fellowship

The word “fellowship” has been carefully chosen. We use the term in a somewhat traditional manner referring to a band of people sharing a zeal, passion and commitment to something uniquely special in their lives. In our case it is about sharing a vision of Hebrew Catholic restoration and renewal in the Church. Those who participate in our fellowship look on membership as a genuine part of their Christian vocation in the world. They therefore value its clear sense of purpose and direction, and willingly support its operations and associated disciplines.

At the centre of our understanding of what a fellowship is and does is the knowledge that we celebrate our membership of the Household of God. We are members of God’s family by virtue of our being restored through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus — our Messiah our redeemer — the Anointed One.  We belong, therefore to one another, and seek to put this truth into real effect within the various communities which make up our Fellowship.

A Community

Though not a canonical establishment (such as a religious order) our Fellowship is nevertheless a coming together which operates within a set of agreed principles and guidelines, consistent with the rules and customs of the Association of Hebrew Catholics. The structure provides the opportunity for various kinds of smaller local gatherings or cell groups to be established. They may be residential, or partially residential — but are likely in the main to be dispersed throughout the wider community, coming together for Fellowship activities. Membership may coincide with belonging to a havurah of the AHC — however some participants in worship gatherings may not belong to a havurah.

Whatever structure a local community finds most appropriate, its members will strive to build a genuine family atmosphere and model the highest level of Christian warmth, love, caring, concern and hospitality, of which it is capable.

To achieve this we keep before us the model of the Holy Family, presented by the Church for our spiritual enrichment. The Liturgy of the Feast of the Holy Family is therefore of special importance in guiding the spirit and development of our Fellowship.

Hebrew Catholic

Our Fellowship comprises members of the Church whose origins are Jewish, as well as those whose origins are Gentile. Both lines of heritage contribute, in their own way, towards a stream of Hebrew Catholic culture in the Church. Our very name “Household of God Fellowship,” derives from both Jewish and traditional Christian understanding of Sacred Scripture, especially as highlighted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as we have already seen (Paragraph 756). St. Paul constantly returns to this theme:

19     (Y)ou are no longer strangers and sojourners, but
you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members
of the household of God,

20    built upon the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.

 
21     Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;

22     in him you also are being built together into a
dwelling place of God in the Spirit.   
      (Ephesians 2: 19 — 22)

The “culture” we frequently refer to is not a separate “rite”, as it were, within the Church. Rather it is a “stream” which finds its home quite naturally anywhere throughout the Church. All members of our Fellowship are active members within that cultural stream. As baptised members of the Body of Christ — His Church — we are united in our death and resurrection in Him.

Our Fellowship rejoices in the immense range of opportunities we have, to help one another in the Christian life, and to share this beautiful heritage with all people of goodwill, anywhere.

Following the Messiah’s Example

Our Fellowship is a means by which its members can help one another to follow the Lord Jesus more closely. The People Israel were often reminded that they were to be “a light for the nations”. The Church has inherited this vocation which is expressed most vividly by St. John:

There is one who enlightens every soul born into the world;
he was the true light.                                 John 1: 9.

On one occasion Jesus said:

You are the light of the world.                   Matthew 5: 14.

In fact, He also taught,

Your light must shine so brightly before others, that they can
see your good works, and give praise to your Father in heaven.

                                                                           Matthew 5: 16.

The vocation to be “a light for the nations,” or, “the light of the world” is indeed, a challenging one. Due to its great importance in the Church’s evangelisation, we offer an additional comment in:

“Salt of the Earth: Light of the World”,
Recommended Reading Set 4.

We also offer a meditation on this calling:
“Hanukkah: Feast of the Dedication”,
Recommended Reading Set 5.

To Summarise

We have considered a few aspects of what is meant by the term “Household of God Fellowship”. We now go a little bit further and consider what it does.

In practical terms, our Fellowship pursues a distinct model of following the Lord’s call for His followers to help Him take His light to every soul. He called us to serve as He served, and to renew daily our commitment to follow Him faithfully.

 

 
Step 3 — Growing Fully In the Service of

Christ’s Body, the Church.


Our Lord gave a very clear exhortation about humble service among His followers:

You know that those who are recognised as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over
them felt.

But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great
among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among
you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to
give his life as a ransom for many.                St. Mark 10: 42 — 45.

We seek to respond to our Lord by reflecting, in our actions, His model of service. All members of our Fellowship therefore, insofar as they are able, are called to participate in our Fellowship′s Sevenfold Model of Service, as we follow the Lord Jesus each day of our lives.
Figuratively speaking, our contribution of service, whilst purifying and consecrating us in God’s Name, also helps the Light of Christ spread to our brother and sister human beings throughout the world. The seven-light candelabra becomes, then, a vivid symbol of Yeshua — our Lord Jesus Christ, reaching out to lighten every place of darkness and despair. In this service we ourselves are renewed, as we faithfully live as members of the Church — the Body of Christ, in the world. Our lives therefore manifest the fulfilment of our calling to be a light to the nations.

“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation
may reach to the ends of the earth.”             Isaiah 49: 6.

 

candlestick

You know that those who are recognised as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over
them felt.

But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be
great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be
first among you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to
give his life as a ransom for many.               St. Mark 10: 42 — 45.

We seek to respond to our Lord by reflecting, in our actions, His model of service. All members of our Fellowship therefore, insofar as they are able, are called to participate in our Fellowship′s Sevenfold Model of Service, as we follow the Lord Jesus each day of our lives. This model of ministry is intended to present a practical structure for effective consecration and service to Christ in the Church. It is the context in which we ourselves are renewed, and thus faithfully live as members of the Church — the Body of Christ, in the world. It is therefore the fulfilment of our calling to be a light to the nations.

I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation
may reach to the ends of the earth.”       Isaiah 49: 6.

 
Our Sevenfold Model of Service

 

Welcoming and Nurturing one another

1.   Hospitality:         Highlighting the dignity of being members of the
                                Household of God, — building a culture and atmosphere
                                befitting such a Household; and welcoming any genuine
                                person who is seeking God.

2.   Caring:               Helping by prayer and action, any person in need,
                                especially those experiencing misfortune or suffering
                                from some disability. 

3.   Belonging:          By intercession, personal sanctification and other
                                 activities, fostering and maintaining a spirit of inclusivity
                                 and belonging among members, as well as seeking the
                                 recovery, reconciliation
and restoration of anyone who
                                 has been separated from
God in any way — offering them
                                 every assistance within
our reach.   

 

Learning and Sharing    

4.    Education:          Providing appropriate learning experiences ranging
                                 from simple guided learning to advanced leadership training
                                 and studies — thus equipping all who participate with
                                 Christ-focussed Biblical and spiritual knowledge, skills and
                                 values.

         5.   Discipleship:      Fostering the spiritual life of each member of our
                                         Fellowship and all who wish to be associated in any
                                         way — thus strengthening their relationship with God:
                                         Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

6.   Evangelisation:   Pursuing a wide range of opportunities to communicate
                                 the
living vitality of our Lord Jesus to all in need of His love
                                 and care.

 

Worshipping and Celebrating

7.   Worship:              Celebrating the whole of life, centred in the Eucharist.         

                                  Guiding private and public worship, meditation and
                                  contemplation, to help us respond with love and gratitude
                                  to the awesome presence of God in the world, in our
                                  communities, in our homes, and in our hearts, as we await
                                  the Glorious Return of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ at
                                  the end of time.
 

See the following supplement, “Sevenfold Model of Service”, for greater detail.
This is of special importance in appreciating the work of the Fellowship at local Church level.

 

 
Sevenfold Model of Service

Symbolism of Sevenfold

Most of us were first made aware of the spiritual significance of seven on reading the account of the Creation at the beginning of the Book of Genesis. There each member of the Blessed Trinity is seen acting in perfect unity as they bring forth, on each day, a new level of creation. The Father (first Person of the Blessed Trinity) commands each item to exist, and by His Divine Word (second Person) it was accomplished; while “over the waters, stirred the breath of God” (third Person).

In this great seven-day work of God, He brings forth, purely from a heart of love, the perfect representation of His Divine Glory. And this, He ordains, is to be shared with and enjoyed by mankind, whom He chose to rule over it for “ages unto ages”.

Our first parents, as Adam and Eve are called, failed in the commission to which they were appointed. Nevertheless, God remained faithful to His purpose, and continues to permit His creation, however, imperfect it has become, to remain a visible icon of His Presence and Love. Thus the Psalmist can rightly sing:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims
the work of his hands.                                         Psalms 19: 1.

We are all familiar with the Biblical story of our salvation and the coming of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Messiah, the Son of God. In fulfilment of the teaching of the Prophets, He obediently undertook the work of our redemption, the restoration of all humanity and the renewal of our relationship with God.

What we call our Sevenfold Model of Service is our response to the Teaching of the Church ― the Body of Christ ― to play our part fully in the restoration of all humanity to God’s Kingdom. It is our framework whereby we ensure we remain focussed on our Lord Jesus Christ and the authority He passed to His Church, to guide us on our way, and be a true light for the nations. It is offered as one example of a model which can be followed to achieve our aim: “the creation of a new Hebrew Catholic community life and spirit, an alternative society to the old.” (Fr. Elias Friedman.)

 Seven Elements of Service

We have chosen seven very special aspects of service which combine roles of fostering, motivating and self-sacrifice. Together, these keep the teaching of our Messiah and His Holy Church foremost in our hearts and minds. They are presented in what might be viewed as an ascending order corresponding to our spiritual growth.

1.    Hospitality
2.    Caring
3.    Belonging
4.    Education
5.    Discipleship
6.    Evangelisation
7.    Worship

We offer the following jottings as examples of what these seven aspects of renewal contain.

1.        Hospitality

        At home    At church    At gatherings

•    Extending  warmth, sense of belonging, welcome, guidance
      to visitors,
respect, dignity, caring.

•    Making real and actual membership of God’s Household.
      Showing what it is to be family, an understanding which includes
      our immediate family, our parish family, and our extended family
      of people among whom we live and work. Our constant highlighting
      of the importance of family is reflected strongly to us by St. Paul
      in his letter to the Christians at Rome.

      The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we
    are children of God,

    and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs
    with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may
    also be glorified with him. 
                                      (Romans 8: 16 and 17)

     Thus since we are children of God we are therefore sisters and brothers
     of one another! Our Fellowship tries to put this into practice as a priority
     of the highest order.

•    Going out of one’s way to do good deeds for others ― Nothing
      is too much trouble.

•    Fostering it in:   

―    warmth of company;
―    sharing meals or snacks;
―    contacting and communicating;
―    transporting;
―    odd jobs to help.

2.        Caring

•    Demonstrating the truth that God is aware of our needs and
      works through
others to supply them. The law of charity applies
      to each individual:―

―    “Caritas Christi urget nos!”
―    “The love of Christ urges us!”         2 Corinthians 5: 14.

•    Seeking out those in need even when they do not show it.
      Reflecting God’s love in caring for people because they need
      it not because they deserve it.

•    Making sure there is always someone standing by to assist.

3.        Belonging

•    Encouraging a sustained conscious effort to promote
      reconciliation among members; to establish and maintain a
      sense of unity as well as a spirit of  inclusivity within the
      Fellowship, and to foster a welcoming attitude of mind
      towards newcomers.

•    Fostering a confidence in being accepted as family members
      of the Fellowship.

    Taking care to remain consecrated members of Jesus Christ
      in union with His Holy Church and to approach the Sacraments
      in accordance with her teaching.

•    Seeking out the separated, marginalised, hurt, confused,
      misinformed, hoodwinked, misled, disillusioned, disappointed,
      bitter, fallen, forgotten, neglected and lonely, and attending
      to their “wounds”; and carrying them home: there to be bathed
      in our ministrations of hospitality and caring.

•    Promoting the ministry of recovering and restoring: it involves:-

―    seeking those who need and will accept help
―    extending hospitality and caring
―    bringing them new understanding of the
       Church’s teaching
to correct any
       misconceptions.

•    Training in:

(a)    How to remain aware of profound changes
          occurring in our society and the world at
          large and how we can take them into
          account in our Christian life;

(b)    How to attend to any lingering or distorted
          misunderstandings which can destabilise
          people.
  

4.    Education

•    Establishing organised, age-appropriate programmes of
      religious education which include among other topics:

―    Biblical stories;
―    History of the People Israel;
—    Role of Judaism in Salvation History
―    History of the Church;
—    The Papacy: a Biblical Understanding;

See: The Pope as the King’s Royal Steward,
Recommended Reading Set 6

―    Knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic
        Church;
―    Discernment regarding religious and political
        movements and local as well as international
        pressures;
―    Growth of atheism and anti-theism and the
        destruction of Judaeo-Christian civilisation.
―    Nature of Renewal

+    Returning;
+    Re-focussing;
+    Re-committing.

•    Promoting widely, a sound knowledge about the inter-relationship
      of Judaism and Christianity and the entry of Jews into the Church.

See the article, “The Return of the Jews”,
Recommended Reading Set 7.
     

5.    Discipleship

This ministry includes a wide range of knowledge and experiences dealing
with formation in Hebrew Catholic spirituality.

•    Focussing in a sustained and consistent way, on the life, teaching,
      passion, death, resurrection and Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

•    Honouring our Blessed Lady Miriam for her special role in
      Salvation History.

See: “Mary as Queen Mother of Jerusalem”, by Taylor R. Marshall:
 Recommended Reading, Set 8.
 

See also, “Why We Honor Mary”, by Martin K. Barrack,
  Recommended Reading Set 9.

•    Organising: sustained spiritual support.

―     camps, mission retreats;
―     visitation rosters.

•    Teaching a Rule of Life e.g. St Benedict’s Rule especially
      the “Prologue“; which provides a Biblical Vision of Christian life.
      It is offered as just one example which has proved helpful
      to many Christians and Jews.

•    Building a Hebrew Catholic culture which includes restoration
      of an Israelite Community. It also includes an understanding of
      our Fellowship as comprising members from both Jewish and
      Gentile backgrounds.

      Note:   Groups can be formed with or without either Jewish or            
      Gentile members and be legitimately Hebrew Catholic           
      in name, function and purpose, provided they promote

      the goals of our Hebrew Catholic apostolate and are in
      accord with the rules and customs of the AHC.

    Equipping members with skill-sets to deal to opposing or
      deviant movements (which have gained momentum especially
      since the middle of the 20th century) if members, or our
      contacts, are impacted upon by them.

6.    Evangelisation

•    Desiring  ardently to share our Faith and all it teaches about God:
      Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

•    Discerning: the meaning of what is “new” in evangelisation;

•    Communicating Christ;

•    Being “a light to the nations”;

•    Walking the path with others, learning together, and helping one another.

7.    Worship

•    Celebrating the whole of life centred in the Eucharist.

•    Ensuring each member has an appropriate understanding
      regarding worship and devotions;

•    Encouraging strong, clear links between places of worship
      and home;

•    Providing support and encouragement for members to include
      neighbours, friends and others to join them in family worship
      in their homes;

•    Promoting:

a)    sensitivity to the Presence of God; and
b)    the appropriate ways to acknowledge and
         demonstrate this.

•    Proclaiming “Jesus is Lord!”     
      Hebrew Catholic Spirituality and religious practice is strongly
      and emphatically Messianic: thus we proclaim Jesus to be our
      Messianic Lord in our:

—    Scriptural;
—    Eucharistic; and
—    Evangelistic offerings.

                Together, these special offerings form the central core and 
                foundation of our personal consecration and service to Christ’s
                Church upon earth, and
thus to all humanity.

See our, “Hebrew Catholic Presence in the Church“.

•    Rejoicing in our membership of God’s Household through
      dignified, joyful, solemn, meaningful, worship appropriate
      in the circumstances.

•    Being clear about:

+    Roles;
+    Appropriate attire;
+    Use of religious objects;
+    Sacred space and time.

•    Facilitating Interconnection within private and public
      religious life.

•    Teaching the use of a Hebrew Catholic Calendar;

•    Encouraging Hebrew Catholic approaches to Lectio Divina,
      or any other forms of Scripture Meditation.

 

Additional Note On Worship

Hebrew Catholic spirituality is deeply grounded both in Salvation History as it unfolds in Sacred Scripture as well as in traditional Catholic Teaching exemplified in the long line of Christian writers down the ages and in works such as The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Some aspects of special importance and relevance therefore can be identified. We give just a few examples. (Those hyper-linked may be visited on our web site.)

1.    The understanding of “fulfilment” of the Mosaic Covenant in the Passion and death of our Blessed Messiah. Thus the following are especially significant:

 •    Meditation on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.

See our devotion, “Little Office of the Passion“.

•    Love of the Crucifix and associated devotions.
       Our “Visit to the Crucifix” is one example of a Hebrew Catholic
      perspective with regard to the traditional Passionist Devotion.

See our devotion,A Visit to the Crucifix“.

•    Love for the Blessed Virgin Mary: with her many titles among
      which two favourites are: Mother of Sorrows and
      Queen of Heaven and Earth.

See our Celebration, “Vespers of Our Lady“.

2.    The understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass as the new Covenant. Arising from this therefore, is the hugely important place liturgical celebration of the Mass has. This is evidenced by such things as:—

•    Ernest preparation for Mass by studying and meditating
      on the appointed Scriptures for each celebration
      (especially on the Lord’s Day) with a special focus on the
      Gospels. Our Reflections on the Sunday Gospels for years
      A, B and C are intended to help in this important exercise.

See our, “Reflections on the Sunday Gospels“.

•    This Hebrew Catholic approach to Scripture Meditation
      (Lectio Divina) is just one example of our devotion to
      Christ: the Word of God — Christ our Torah.

See our, “Scripture Meditation“.

•    A great love for the gift of the Blessed Sacrament reserved
      upon our altars — the Real Presence of Christ the Word
      made flesh in the Tabernacle: encouraging a daily visit in
      person, or at least spiritually.

See our, “Spiritual Visit to the Blessed Sacrament and
Spiritual Communion
“.

•    A strong commitment to the Jewish tradition of processions
      of the Word of God among His People that they might come
      closer to Him —

+    the Word proclaimed in the Sacred Books and Scrolls;
+    the Word made flesh in the Blessed Sacrament.

•    The passionate belief that Jesus Messiah is the True Shepherd
      of Israel — indeed the Good Shepherd who reaches out to every
      single person to bring them back into the Household of God,
      their true home. (Ezekiel 34: 11 — 16). This is especially evident
      in devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which also provides a
      link between devotion in the sanctuary of the home and the
      sanctuary at one’s place of worship.

See our devotion, “Triduum to the Sacred Heart of Jesus“.
See our article, “
An Oratory At Home“.

 

Four Special Books

In the course of our on-going activities, we will highlight a wide range of important literature
impacting upon our apostolate. At this point we draw attention to four outstanding books, with links to sources where further information can be obtained.

1.   The Crucified Rabbi, by Taylor R. Marshall.    
       St. John’s Press, Texas.  2009.

2.   Salvation Is From the Jews, by Roy Shoeman.   
       Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 2003.

3.   Second Exodus, by Martin K. Barrack.       
       Magnificat Institute Press, Houston, U.S.A. 1999.

4.   The Mystery of Israel and the Church, by Lawrence Feingold,
       Miriam Press, St. Louis, U.S.A. 2008.

Volume     I         Figure and Fulfillment
Volume     II        Things New and Old
Volume     III       The Messianic Kingdom of Israel
Volume     IV       The Messiah of Israel

 

Part V     An Invitation To You

Our reflections have traversed through a number of aspects of our Fellowship, introducing our readers to the foundations upon which it has evolved and currently operates. It evolved over a number of years — and presumably, if it serves God’s purposes, will be permitted to continue its course of development. Each participating member will have the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing organisation and refinement.

Our invitation extends to our readers, in the first instance, to participate in our various activities. As we have stated: they revolve around our Sevenfold Model of Service:

 •    Coming together to share warm hospitality, to celebrate the
      goodness of God, to enjoy caring for one another, and to build
      a strong, united Fellowship active in the homes and gathering
      places of our members.

•    Studying the Scriptures and Teaching of the Church in accord
      with the Sacred Magisterium.

•    Praying, meditating and worshipping at home or at church,
      in a Hebrew Catholic setting, or style.

•    Learning how to develop a strong spiritual life, how to celebrate
      God’s Presence in our world, and how to share these gifts with others.

•    Reaching out to the local Church wherever it meets, and
      encouraging involvement in our range of activities.

•    Raising our hearts and souls to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
      and preparing for the Glorious Return of our Most Blessed Messiah
      and the perfect establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
      For that we all pray: Maranatha. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

We appeal to all interested members of the Church to join us, or at least support in some way, our dedication to the mission of our Blessed Messiah — the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you would like to find out more about us, please contact us through our web site, or write to:

HGF
P. O. Box 228,
Kaukapakapa, 0843.
Auckland
New Zealand

 

 

Shalom!

Please visit our Hebrew Catholic web site

 

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