Thursday, September 25, 2014

L'shana Tovah

Have a good New Year!

As the sun rises this morning on the Hebrew Calendar it is the first sunrise of the new year. It is a time for us to remember our Jewish heritage. We should recall that Jesus would have never considered himself anything but Jewish. The idea of Christianity as a separate religion would come later.

Instead of making New Year's resolutions, most which do not last two months. The Jewish tradition sees the beginning of the New Year as a time of repentance. We tend to think of Passover as the big deal in Judaism because it is close to our Easter. In fact, the high holy days for the Jewish faith are now.

Last night, because they follow a lunar calendar, the new year began and in 10 days on the evening of Friday October 3 will begin Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. Like our Lent, now is that time each year when people acknowledge their sin and according to the rites prescribed by God, atone for that sin to receive God's forgiveness. The 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are referred to as days of awe and are a time for introspection, examination of the conscience. Yom Kippur ends with the people standing before the open ark, confessing their sins in the plural (we have....).

Jesus gave us the sacrament of penance but it is worth noting that in both covenants there is a ritual for receiving God's forgiveness. There is a communal aspect. Sin is not a private matter between the individual and God nor is forgiveness. Our sins affect others and therefore our penance and forgiveness must acknowledge that.

Perhaps it would be good for us Christians in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sister take these days as a time for a thorough examination of conscience. And if it has been a while since you have been to confession call your local priest and go back. If you have not been in a while, here is a great little video from our friends at busted halo.