Christian Shared Experiences

A believing community has a creed, a code, and a ceremony that they share.  Roman Catholics respect their teachers, who are presumed to be telling the truth, so that there is docility to Church teaching, admitting the ability to be taught.  There are central beliefs which all Catholics must give the fullest level of assent, the defined dogma, such as the Trinity, One God with three persons, and belief in Jesus Christ, two natures both divine and human.  Jesus was a real person who died and rose from the dead.  The magisterium comes in the form of papal documents and ecumenical worldwide councils.

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Jesus of History

What do we know about Jesus of Nazareth as absolute?  Jesus was a real Jewish boy born to a Jewish mother during the Roman occupation of Palestine.  He grew up in Nazareth in the Galilee area. sometime in the early first century between 6 BCE-30 CE.  John the Baptist baptized Jesus before he began to teach about a kingdom.  After his death on the cross, his followers or disciples proclaimed that he had risen from the dead.  There is a general respect for this good man Jesus from all religious and non-religious people.  The Jesus of history is the most studied historical individual, since more has been written about him than any other person.  Most people whether they believe in Jesus as a religious figure or not, hold these simple verifiable generic facts.

The self-exaltation of the king (Dan 11:36-11:37)

“The king

Shall act

As he pleases.

He shall exalt himself.

He shall consider himself

Greater than any god.

He shall speak

Horrendous things

Against the God of gods.

He shall prosper

Until the period of wrath

Is completed.

What is determined

Shall be done.

He shall pay no heed

To the gods

Of his ancestors,

Or to the one beloved

By women.

He shall not pay respect

To any other god.

He shall consider himself

Greater than all.”

Gabriel continued to tell Daniel about King Antiochus IV, who acted as he pleased. He exalted himself. He believed that he was greater than any god. He even spoke horrendous things against the God of gods, the Israelite God. He would continue to prosper, until the time of wrath was completed. This arrogant king did not even pay homage to the gods of his ancestors, or to the gods that women loved. He did not pay respect to any other gods. He seemed to have been intrigued by the Greek gods and wanted to be a god himself. He considered himself greater than any of the other gods.

The north gate entrance (Ezek 44:4-44:4)

“Then Yahweh

Brought me

By way

Of the north gate

To the front

Of the temple.

I looked!

Behold!

The glory of Yahweh

Filled the temple

Of Yahweh!

I fell upon my face.”

Yahweh then brought Ezekiel to the north gate in front of the Temple. Ezekiel looked up. Then, lo and behold, the bright glory of Yahweh filled the whole Temple. Ezekiel did what he always did. He fell on his face with respect.

The failure to follow the statutes (Bar 4:13-4:16)

“The Judeans

Had no regard

For his statutes.

They did not walk

In the ways

Of God’s commandments.

They did not tread

The paths

That his righteousness

Showed them.

Let the neighbors of Zion

Come!

Remember

The capture of my sons,

The capture of my daughters!

The Everlasting One

Brought this upon them.

He brought

A distant nation

Against them.

This was

A ruthless nation,

With a strange language.

They had no respect

For the aged.

They had no pity

For a child.

They led away

The widow’s beloved sons.

They bereaved the lonely woman

Of her daughters.”

This author points out that the Judeans in Jerusalem had no regard for God’s statutes. They did not walk in the ways of God’s commandments, since they did not tread the paths of disciple and righteousness. Zion’s neighbors should come and remember the capture of the sons and daughters of Jerusalem. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, brought this upon them, since he brought a distant ruthless nation with a strange language to attack Jerusalem. These attackers had no respect or pity for the old people and the children. Thus they took the sons and daughters of the lonely widows into captivity.

King Hezekiah receives the letter from the messengers (Isa 37:14-37:14)

“King Hezekiah received the letter

From the hand of the messengers.

He read it.

Then King Hezekiah went up

To the house of Yahweh.

He spread the letter before Yahweh.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. King Hezekiah took the letter or the scroll from the messengers and brought it to the house of Yahweh, the temple. He spread it out before Yahweh as a sign of respect.

Instructions on shame (Sir 41:14-41:16)

“My children!

Be true to your training!

Be at peace!

What is the value of hidden wisdom?

What is the value of unseen treasure?

Better are those

Who hide their folly,

Than those

Who hide their wisdom.

Therefore show respect for my words!

It is not good

To feel shame

In every circumstance.

Not every kind of abasement

Is to be approved.”

Sirach wants you to respect his words. He wants everyone to be true to their training and at peace. He thought that hidden wisdom and hidden treasures were useless. If there was anything to hide, it should be your folly. Thus it was better to hide folly than wisdom. The same with shame. You should not be ashamed in any circumstances. Not every kind of shaming is approved.