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AHC G Living in Christ: Household of God - Hebrew Catholics

Association of

Hebrew Catholics

New Zealand Branch

Appendix — SET III

 

 Living in Christ: Household of God

Skills and Values of Special Importance

 Examples

1. Honouring places and times dedicated to worship. E.g How to set up and use an oratory at home. Making connections between worship at Church and at home. For help in doing this read: “An Oratory at Home“.

2. Honouring the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day: not merely as a loving attachment to former practices, but in a vibrant Hebrew Catholic manner, enriching the introduction of each Lord’s Day, and paving the way to its joyful celebration.

3. Preserving Jewish Identity in a responsible manner as Jewish and Christian people who choose to recognise the Lord Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, and to proclaim Him as such. This is a very important step for Jewish people joining the Church. It is nothing to do with establishing some kind of special elite or separatist category of souls. It is the emphatic declaration of Jews that they do not endorse the decisions and actions of the corrupt authorities in our Lord’s time and wish to enlist their family names in the service of Christ our King, (Blessed be His Holy Name), for all eternity!

4. Sharing the Hebrew Catholic perspective openly with other members of the Church and inviting them to take a full part in the restoration of, as well as participation in, a flourishing modern Hebrew Catholic culture and presence in the Church.

This is an important opportunity for Christians of Gentile origin to endorse the Church’s support for the restoration and renewal within the Church of a visible and dynamic Israelite community.

Christians generally and fellow Catholics in particular, are asking increasingly why many people of Jewish background or connection choose to become baptised members of the Church. Every individual has their own story to tell, of course, but there are many common elements which can be discerned in the explanations offered. We list just a few here, only as generalisations, for which we are deeply grateful:—

  • The consistent fidelity of the Church in preserving many, many Hebrew concepts in its own culture and spirituality ― and permitting these to blossom in true fulfillment of what they signify.
  • The worship of the Church, in its traditional and modern liturgies ― as well as in all the rites within the Church ― reflects an integrity and profound respect in terms of Hebrew Scriptures and historic cultural practices.
  • The Church has a clear theology concerning the understanding of the “Covenant” between God and humanity, and honours those who value their heritage and contributions.

5 Playing a part in the spreading of the Faith throughout the world. Our fellow Christians, Catholics included, often have difficulty in understanding how Hebrew Catholics choose to maintain their Hebrew identity within the Church yet at the same time feel a sense of urgency to proclaim, “the Gospel to every creature”. But there is no mystery about it: “For the love of Christ compels us”. (2 Cor. 5: 14). To this end the Hebrew Catholic Apostolate contains an ever-expanding range of resources and initiatives to help all who wish to join them in carrying out the Messiah’s final command (Mark 16: 15): “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature”.

“The order to go and preach the Gospel to every creature must be obeyed. That commandment sums up all the others and carries them all within it. It is His last will and testament.”

From, “The Gospel to Every Creature”, by Leo Jozef Cardinal Suenens.

For Hebrew Catholics, this heightened sense of commandment, mitzvah (duty),
is, indeed compelling. See previous Unit 5: “The Gospel to Every Creature“.

It may be helpful here to remember that our focus is on evangelisation, not proselytism.
We sometimes find people wish to use the approach we have here described as grounds
for targeting Jews (and people of other Faiths, for that matter), in the belief that they are
thereby “merely obeying what our Lord commanded”. Such a position is inconsistent
with our mission which is part of the Church’s whole mission and cannot be separated
from it. We refrain, in obedience to the Holy See, from any form of, or
support for proselytism targeting Jews.

6. Maintaining a schedule of morning and evening prayer, appropriate to one’s circumstances, with an emphasis on what is realistic and sustainable.

Our Electronic Prayer Book may assist readers

7. Promoting healthy living, fitness, cooking, eating and care of the body as well as the soul; upholding these matters as an integral part of sound spirituality.

8. Celebrating and rejoicing in any gathering, in ways which reflects the joy of living
in Christ. Jesus Messiah said, “These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full“. The Hebrew Catholic apostolate is to help make people genuinely happy and to demonstrate that this joy grows directly out of our following Jesus Messiah.

Hospitality is a very highly esteemed virtue in our culture. All who share our vision are welcome, not just as casual visitors, but, in fact, to become full members of our Fellowship. We invite you to read Introducing Ourselves.

9. Practising acts of loving goodwill to all humanity.

10. Preparing For the Messiah’s Glorious Return. Learning to take our role seriously as Christ’s ambassadors in the world as we look to the coming of the Lord. This entails doing our best in parenthood, employment, homecare, community involvement and evangelisation, among other responsibilities, as members of God’s household.

In Summary

1     The above three categories of skills and values are essential for
       any Christian wanting to preserve and share their Faith in our
       world. These categories spell out some of the important
       principles we need to uphold. Success in achieving what we
       stand for, in terms of our human efforts will depend on how we
       implement them in specific cases.

       We therefore need to implement, in a planned and sustained way
       fundamental skills and values similar to those which we have
       assembled from our experience at the front-line of
       Christian outreach.

2     It is true God told Abraham,

        “….. your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you
        the father of a host of nations. (NAB Genesis 17: 5)

Yes, the mission is God’s, but He has called each person to be an ambassador, to be an active worker in God’s reaching out to all mankind. This implies being faithful to His teaching and the practice of personal holiness; that we may not only take or preach Christ to every creature, but that, according to the traditional spirituality of the Church, we may be Christ to every creature.

“Blessed are You, O Lord,
King of creation, who has chosen us to be His servants,
and through us to call all humanity into His Household.”

Blessed be God forever.


Amen.

 

Conclusion

It is a common experience for Christians today in the 21st Century, and for that matter, Jews as well, to become deeply disturbed by the rapid decline, overall, in the number of people practising the Faith. It is our belief, however, that if we are among those who have that insight and find it worrying, we have it because God permits us to see what is really happening in our world not to become depressed, but motivated. Christian denominations are collapsing and in many parts of the world, the Church seems simply to be evaporating. Since we can see this surely it begs the question: Why? What is really going on? We believe that the atheistic movements throughout the world have successfully deceived people who therefore have abandoned traditional religion in favour of what are really crude philosophies of human design.

Those of our people who remain loyal to their Faith need to take decisive steps to, literally, to educate and train our young people to see through the falseness of much of modern culture and yet at the same time to discern the good and build on it. Also we need to train them in the magnificent splendour of our Faith and the richness of our historic heritage. Fundamentally, Christian culture requires the planned and sustained education of our people in the great Biblical themes as well as the Teaching of the Church.

We hope our modest contribution, “The Gospel to Every Creature” encourages readers to see that we can reverse some of the challenging trends in modern society. But we suggest the answer begins with us — each person. True, the books of spirituality over the ages have always highlighted this truth, but in our times, everything is becoming blurred and confusing. All the more reason to go back to the message of the Sacred Scriptures and rediscover what has grown dim and distant to us. Our Lord’s command to take the Gospel to the whole world is, in fact, the call to participate in the fulfillment of God’s Plan echoed in Genesis 3: 16 and commenced with Abraham, following through to the mission of Christ and His Church in the world. It is a truly wonderful honour to be part of this work of Salvation which calls for our attention as the number one priority in our life. In Mark 12: 29 — 31 our Lord affirmed the core belief of the Jewish Faith by restating the greatest commandment. What He said remains for us today the heart of our own Faith and message:

‘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.’

When questioned one day about this, — the greatest
Commandment, our Lord closed the discussion with
His typical brevity and clarity:

“Do this, and you will LIVE” (Luke 10: 22)

When, and only when we understand what this
means,
can we take this message out into the world.
That is the “New Land” which the Lord is showing
us, and has given to us to prepare it for the Glorious
Return of Jesus Messiah.

It is a land in which we are to be — not conquerors — but
servants. We are God’s Household servants tasked to labour
lovingly and offer a place in God’s Kingdom to any person
responding to our Lord’s call and message, which we must
make freely available and culturally accessible.
“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation
may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49: 6)

 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua
the Messiah, who has blessed us in the Messiah
with every spiritual blessing in heaven. Ephesians 1: 3

 

 

Shalom!

 

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