Tuesday, 26 January 2010
“The Christian rediscovery of the Jewishness of Jesus" Rediscovery? Really?
I must take issue with the above statement in quotation marks, that is being bandied about so much these days.
This announcement is articulated as if Jesus' Jewishness has been buried and made apocryphal by His followers. When I write 'apocryphal', I do mean both 'hidden' and 'ficticious'. As if Jesus' Yiddishkeit is not almost wholly relevant to our prayerlife, and reception of the Sacraments. This is neither fair or true to the active followers of Our Lord. Allow one example of how meditating on the life of Jesus is integral to the faith life of many Catholics.
Catholics were called to pray the Rosary everyday by Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady asked for the daily recitation of the Rosary on 6 occasions on the hill top at Fatima. When one reflects on Mystery One of the Rosary (the Annunciation), there is the necessary respect that our Lady had 'no knowledge of man' yet conceived by the Holy Spirit. If not the fulfillment, then this surely is the mirror image of the Prophecy of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Points for reflecting on Jesus' Presentation in the Temple (4th Mystery of the Rosary) include that He was circumcised on the eight day, and that his parents did 'all' that the law required. During His Presentation in the Temple, the meeting with St. Simeon, the elderly devout Jew is the focal point. Simeon pronounces that Jesus is the Saviour and the 'light to enlighten the Gentiles: and the glory of Thy people Israel'.
The Rosary is a centuries old prayer. And this was from the time Our Lady gave St. Dominic the Rosary in 1208, to 1917 in Fatima where Our Lady encouraged us all to recite the daily Rosary, to Pope Benedict saying that the Rosary is enjoying a new springtime.
The frequent recitation of the Rosary is evidence that Jesus's Yiddishkeit/Jewishness has been alive in the hearts and minds of Christians who have said the Rosary down through the centuries. And this was long before the present day Facebook Rosary fan site with tens of thousands of fans. http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=fan+of+rosary&init=quick#/pages/The-Rosary/31532689598?ref=ts
Through the Rosary we honour Our Lady as Queen of Heaven. Our Lady's deserved queenship follows Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, the king's mother was always the queen. Our Lady's crown signifies that she is mother of the King of Heaven. This is in contrast to our Northern European monarchic tradition of the queen being the king's wife.
May I suggest that if Jesus' Jewish identity and heritage were something new for Christians/Catholics, then the very essence of our identity as Christians/Catholics would have been lost long ago.