Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Chanukah (Early)

In today's reading from 2 Maccabees we hear what happened after the people of Israel conquered the enemy and retook their city and most importantly the temple.

Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel
decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar
should be observed with joy and gladness
on the anniversary every year for eight days,
from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

As we recall, the Jewish calendar is a Lunar calendar.  1 Chislev this year was our 13th of November.  So the 25th of  Chislev will be December 7. Remember also that the days are also counted not from midnight, which most cannot determine without a clock, but from sunset, which any person anywhere can easily see. And so Chanukah will begin this year on December 6 at sunset.

How many of us Christians had heard of Chanukah and yet never have read the Bible story on which the celebration is based? Mark your calendars now and this year, when you wish your Jewish friends Happy Chanukah you will know that you have read or at least heard of the event being celebrated. Or better yet, take out your Catholic Bible and read the story. Better than any novel you can buy, and its true.