Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Real Jew

The gospel ends today with Jesus telling us that

this man too is a descendant of Abraham

But why was this even a question? His name, Zacchaeus, is Hebrew in origin. It comes from the word zakai meaning "clean, pure"

Jesus has to insist on his being a descendent of Abraham because there are those in the community who would claim "He's not a real Jew." After all, he collects taxes for our oppressors, and he's rich. That means he must be ripping people off.

To this very day what makes you Jewish is maternity. If the baby's mother is Jewish then the baby is de facto considered Jewish. "According to Torah, a person's Jewishness is not a matter of life-style or self-perception: one may be totally unaware of one's Jewishness and still be a Jew"

It is not for one Jew to judge another's Jewishness.

The same is true of Chriistianity.

Baptism makes one Christian. Baptism in or Reception into full communion into the Catholic Church after valid baptism makes one Catholic. In recent years the Church has clarified even more strongly that this relationship cannot be undone, no more that you can un-consecrate a host or wine.

You may be a non-practicing Catholic. You may be an excommunicated Catholic. But you remain a Catholic. Like your family, no matter what, they are still yours.

It is not for us to look at the externals of a person's life and attempt to judge their relationship with God. It is not for any of us to judge who is "really Catholic."

Rather than judging others, my time would be better served contemplating the judgement that I will face when I stand before God. Unless of course, I am self-righteous, then I don't think I need to change. And I am in real trouble.

Zacchaeus was, as his name implies "pure", a true son of Abraham despite what those around him thought. Jesus knew him at the level of his soul.

The Pharisees complain that Jesus had gone to the house of a sinner. Apart from his mother's house, whose house was not the house of a sinner? Should he have slept in the street and eaten alone? Their obsession with judging others is ridiculous. And judging others is just as ridiculous today.