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Czech18Hanukkah18aBohemian National Hall, NYC — December 8, 2018

Advent18“May your hearts be illuminated by the love and light of my Son (Christ).” Blessed Virgin Mary

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“May the Father of mercy have mercy upon a people that have been born to him. May he remember the covenant with the patriarchs, deliver our souls from evil hours, check the evil inclinations in them that have been carried by him, grant us his grace an everlasting deliverance, and in the attribute of his goodness fulfill our desires by salvation and mercy.” Standard Machsor, 1925

A Lamb the sheep redeems: Christ,
who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
–Easter Sequence

Hanucka.JPG“Cause us to return, O our Father, unto thy Law; draw us near, O our King, unto thy service, and bring us back in perfect repentance unto thy presence. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who delightest in repentance.” Standard Machsor, 1925

Identity (with God’s plan) and fulfillment sought by Jews, comes through baptism—not the Modern State of Israel. “By refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them.” Luke 7:30

To access the real New Jerusalem: “Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in by the gates into the city.” Apocalypse 22:14

The machinations around the erection of the Modern State of Israel, have made, and shown, participants to be enemies, not friends of God.

Season

roseflyHistory has shown the anti-Zionist Jews of 1917 (including Edwin Montagu and Lucien Wolf) were right to oppose the erection of the Modern State of Israel — one of the great crimes of all time — which can’t be countenanced by anything in the bible. Today Israeli leaders, who failed to follow the call of secular Zionists to be just with the Palestinians, are now invoking the Bible and supposed “ancient claims” to justify their wrongdoing. In fact the opposite is the case, the Jews were “vomited” from the land and sent wandering because of their unfaithfulness to the covenant. The new Israel, referred to in the bible, is firstly a spiritual reality built-up through baptism not fraud and force.

“He that scattered Israel will gather him: and he will keep him as the shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

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JerusalemMapSixDaysFifty years after the Six Day War, the Modern State of Israel obsesses over its physical survival versus its moral survival as a democratic Jewish state. Politics are seen as the means by which Israelis think about the meaning of Jewish existence (rather than union with God). The result is a people who have “cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and have blasphemed the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 5:24

The way for Jews (and humanity) to be fulfilled resides not in the Modern State of Israel but rather in the Holy One of Israel.

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Reflecting on the Modern State of Israel @ 69.

The editors of Chaim Weitzmann: Statesman of the Jewish Renaissance  (The Zionist Library, 1974), refer to the 19th century Jewish philosopher Ahad Ha’am who suggested that what “preserved the Jewish nation during the 2000 years of the Diaspora and enabled the Jewish people to retain a unity which transcends geographical, political and economic diversity was the unity of cultural heritage.” He noted that the Jewish sages realized the survival of the Jewish people, which could not be based on military power, on economic strength or political influence could be placed on a cultural foundation.” And for that they needed to fulfill a “spiritual mission.”

But having rebelled against the Spirit (old and new), except to claim the land, many Jews are pursuing redemption and freedom, change and newness, through materialism (including Marxism, feminism & Iron Dome) rejecting the way to be truly free, and new. The results have been calamitous for individuals, communities and the world.

“Amen. amen, I say that unless a man be born again of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5

Artwork: The Standard Machsor, 1925

LongBeach041617eTo be truly human (to have a self) we need to be reconciled with God, beginning with God’s mercy — which is available but needs to be sought:

“I open My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust.” Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska

EasterVigil2017“This is the Passover of the Lord:
if we honor the memory of his death and resurrection
by hearing his word and celebrating his mysteries,
then we may be confident
that we shall share his victory over death
and live with him forever in God.”
Daily Roman Missal

TrumpPlazaOn this Good Friday, with many rejecting the Savior of the world — making themselves savior of the world (and living as “animals” and “demons” in a world where productivity, equality and disruption are King), the nothingness abounds.

StPatrick'sDay17bStPatrick'sDay17On the day named for the saint who brought Catholicism to a pagan and warlike people (beginning in 432 AD), one can see the ongoing struggle between faith and rebellion playing out in the hearts and minds of the Irish.

epiphany“The Lord is a light in darkness to the upright; he is gracious merciful and just.” Psalm 111:4

jerusalem“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou who killest the prophets, and stonest those who are sent to thee! How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but though wouldst not!” Luke 13:34

Claims by the modern state of Israel (a human construct) to merit sole possession of Jerusalem are both misguided and unfounded (in the bible). Jerusalem should be an international city shared by all peoples (of God). One could even say that the term “Israel” is unmerited by those who, seeking to be their own savior, fail to join the New Covenant (People of God), the true Israel.

Artwork: Leonard Baskin, Jerusalem, 1954

dagmarfrinta-madonnaArtwork: Dagmar Frinta, Madonna, 1981

“When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.” Song of Songs 3:4

RonLauder.JPGAt a forum, on Monday, addressing the ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, spoke on the matter — describing it as one of the great crisis of our time, and the fact that no one knows about it, saying the “silence was deafening.”

He compared the “indifference” among world leaders today with that of leaders following Kristallnacht, 75 years ago in Germany, adding that “never again are meaningless words” given the catastrophe that has befallen Christian communities that go back two millennia. Mr. Lauder noted the irony that “it’s taken someone Jewish to speak up for the Christians.”

The conference included Ret. General Raymond Odierno, former U.S. Army Chief-of-Staff, Judith Miller and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, among others.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

consulate-bonhoefferThe Consulate General of Germany in New York hosted an evening of music 10/11 to commemorate the life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, killed by the Nazis in the last days of WWII for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler. The Kleine Choir of Burgdorf, Germany, led by Ilsabe Bartels-Kohl, performed music by Mattias Nagel, with a Dieter Stork libretto based on texts by Bonhoeffer.

“Has the Church merely to gather up those whom the wheel has crushed or has she to prevent the wheel from crushing them?” Bonhoeffer, Ethics (SCM Press, 1955)

“Only in action is freedom.” Bonhoeffer, Ethics

Bonhoeffer also noted in Ethics: “It is the essence of Greek tragedy that a man’s downfall is brought about by the conflict of incompatible laws.” Isn’t that the case today in the US? For Bonhoeffer, the resolution lay in “the unity of God and the reconciliation of the world with God in Jesus Christ; it is not the inescapability of guilt, but the simplicity of life which follows from the reconciliation; it is not fate, but the gospel as the ultimate reality of life; it is not the cruel triumph of the gods over falling man, but it is the election of man to be man as the child of God in the world which is reconciled through grace.”

wines-israel4“…no one pours new wine into old wine skins…but new wine must be put into fresh skins, and both are saved,” Luke 5: 37-38

On the eve of former Israeli president Shimon Peres’s funeral, Temple Emanu-el in NYC held a wine symposium showcasing the leading wines from the Modern State of Israel. The presentation included a talk by Israeli wine ambassador Adam Montefiore and a tasting of some 100 wines. Mr. Peres, an advocate of a the so-called New Middle East, was a strong backer of the Israeli wine industry, and a long time opponent of a two-state solution. (“It was precisely in order to sabotage the option of a territorial compromise with the Palestinians that Mr. Peres lent his support to the settlers movement.” Shlomo Ben-Ami, 2006)

In his remarks, Mr. Montefiore connected wine to the rituals and history of the Jewish people’s biblical past, describing Israeli wine today as coming from a “new world country in an ancient world.”

By clinging to a tradition and Messianism (apart from the true Messiah) Jews of the Modern State of Israel have perpetrated a fraud, undermining themselves and countless others — in effect as old wine skins trying to be new. To be truly ambassadors of the “New” starts with recognizing the Savior who fulfilled and renewed the everlasting Covenant (with wine representing His blood), erecting the Church as the true Israel — People of God. “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: that as I have loved you, you also love one another.” John 13:34

With 5000 years of winemaking history, numerous microclimates and distinctive terroir, ancient varietals, consultants and monks, the table is being set for serious winemaking going forward from the region. Would that all the neighbors were invited.

We recommend: Margalit Enigma 2011 Shomron (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot), Tura Merlot 2013 Samaria, Clos de Gat Ayalon Valley 2010 Judean Hills.

 

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On September 4, 2016 the Catholic Church will confirm what many have long known — the heroic virtue of Mother Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

One by one, since 1949, I saw young girls arriving. They had been my students. They wanted to give everything to God, and they were in a hurry to do it. They took off their most expensive saris with great satisfaction in order to put on our humble cotton sari. They came fully aware that this was a difficult thing. When a girl who belongs to a very old caste comes to place herself at the service of the outcasts, we are talking about a revolution. The biggest one. the hardest of all: the revolution of love. St. Mother Teresa

Sometime back two young people came to our house and they gave me lots, lots of money. And I said, “Where, where did you get so much money?” And they said, “Two days ago we got married, and before marriage we decided we will buy no wedding clothes, we will have no wedding feast. We will give you the money.” For a Hindu family that’s a big, big, big sacrifice because wedding day is one of the biggest days in their life. And again I offered, “Why, why did you do that?” And they said, “We love each other so much that we wanted to share the joy of loving with the people you serve, and we experience the joy of loving.” St. Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season, (Ignatius, 1987)

Ramadan2016aRamadan2016Muslims in Jackson Heights prepare foods for after-the-fast.

We are reminded that it is easy to find Him, if we are ready for sacrifice and penance — if we have patience, mercy and love for neighbors.

DivineMercy1Today, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy — a Feast intended for the whole world. Christians are reminded, the way to break every darkness is through prayer, love, and trusting the Savior.

“I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy…I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners…souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion, I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, recourse to My mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity.” The Lord, Jesus to St. Fuastina Kowalska, 1931

EasterMonday2016Remembering the Easter Monday Irish Rebellion (April 23, 1916).

“On his return, Mr. Asquith approached me with the suggestion that I should take up the task of trying to negotiate a settlement with the Irish revolutionary leaders. My sympathy with their cause was known.” D. LLoyd George, War Memoirs, 1938

 

ZionismThe German Consulate in New York is presenting an exhibit exploring the “German Roots of Zionism” (through Feb. 26) — this amid reports that the conservative movement’s new siddur (prayer book) removes God as ‘King’. In both cases today’s Jews (secular and religious) are turning away from God — making themselves King (Superman), a far cry from the contrite heart that produced this prayer:

“Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed; save us and we shall be saved; for thou art our praise. Vouchsafe a perfect healing to all our wounds; for thou, almighty King, art a faithful and merciful Physician. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who healest the sick of thy people Israel.” The Standard Machsor, 1925

The remnant of Israel (Isaiah 10:22) is not the Modern State of Israel, but rather the Church — People of God — house of the Lord.

“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” John 4:21

Photograph: Stephen Wise

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BethlehemThe birth of Jesus at Bethlehem is not an event that can be consigned to the past. The whole of human history in fact stands in reference to him; our own time and the future of the world are illuminated by his presence. He is “the Living One” (Rev 1:18), “who is, who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:4). Before him every knee must bend, in the heavens, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim that he is Lord (Phil 2: 10-11). In the encounter with Christ, every man discovers the majesty of his own life.

Jesus is the genuine newness which surpasses all human expectations and such he remains forever, from age to age. The Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation which he has accomplished by his death and resurrection are therefore the true criterion for evaluating all that happens in time and every effort to make life more human. Saint John Paul II, The Mystery of Incarnation, 2000

UNPrayerService2015aUNPrayerService2015The traditional Prayer Service, ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, was held this evening at the Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan. Attendees included Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mogens Lykketoft, President-elect of the Seventieth Session of the General Assembly, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.

“Let us join in prayer to give hope to the world.” Ban Ki-Moon

Having been to a number of these prayer services, one senses that Mr. Ban is appealing for greater truth, in and out of the UN, hoping religious leaders will move their communities to a fuller, more faithful, living out of their creeds—which should then lead to greater justice and peace in the world. And yet how often, even in religious circles, materialist ideologies, with their faux liberation, have replaced real theology as the guiding truth — and the refugees pile up.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

US-TheStrainThe machinations around the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran offer a glimpse into the toxic U.S. efforts to control the World, made worse by the extent to which Israel has bought control of the U.S. Congress and the presidential candidates.

A commonly heard refrain today, directed at American Jews by Isaeli officials, is: “Give us your money and your Congress…” But to what end? The hysteria and fanaticism of the Zionist movement continues to plague the world, the U.S., and Jews themselves. Even after delivering money and Congress, American Jews are often told by Israelis that they aren’t really Jews. Writing in Forward (July 24, 2015), Gal Beckerman characterized the state of being an American Jew today as: “gut-churning, fraught, panicked and uncomfortable.” This is not because of anti-Semitism, but rather, he says: “the fear of losing Jewish identity… and the struggle to construct Jewish identity.”

History has shown the best hope for finding peace (of mind) and being fulfilled, authentic Jews, is through assimilation — not with Xanax or Zionism, but with the New Covenant.

EIDArtEIDArt2Photographs: Stephen Wise

GermanyIsrael2015aMay 12, 2015 marked 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany.

The German Consulate in New York hosted an event this evening commemorating the anniversary with a panel discussion that included representatives of ARSP (Action Reconciliation Service for Peace), a German non-profit that sends volunteers to work with Holocaust survivors.

In remarks before the panel discussion, an Israeli official said that Germany and Israel together were “repairing the world” and “making the world a better place.”

Among the 10 milestones noted by the panel, in the German/Israeli reconciliation, was #3 Germany providing Israel with nuclear capable submarines in 1957, which was against German law.

In activities such as this, that focus on “remembrance and lessons” from the Holocaust, a blind spot often exists, as the Germans are presented (even by themselves) as the sole perpetrators, and the Jews as the sole victims — who maintain they have nothing to be “ashamed” of. And yet an honest reading of history reveals plenty of Jewish culpability (Marxist and Zionist) for both World Wars, and reasons to be ashamed, up to the present day, with the wiping of Palestine off the map.

One panelist said: “Forgiveness is not a concept for Israelis.”

We would suggest that people who cannot forgive others, or seek forgiveness for themselves (especially with nukes in their hands), are in no position to “repair the world.”

Tree-FathersDay“God was my shaper.
He hammered. He wrought me.

Mightily, frailly,
Insculpted and embosed,
With His hammer of wind,
And His graver of frost.”
–Francis Thompson

The challenge is to be in the hands of the Heavenly Father.
Then we know who we are.

FATCA-Vatican2015On a day that saw the Vatican sign on to the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Russia’s Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis in the hope of finding peaceful solutions in Ukraine and Syria.

Americanized Catholics have time and again opted for the darkness of American Foreign Policy over the light of the Gospel.

An honest person following events in Syria and Ukraine knows the U.S. is the black hand in both situations, and the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world today. Most troubling are Catholics (going back to U.S. Cardinal Gibbons snubbing Pope Benedict XV’s attempt to end WWI) who have appeased and even supported America’s treachery.

CorpusChristi2015aCorpusChristi2015cThe Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated with a procession, organized by St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church, in the East Village today.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

IsraelParade2015i“It is hard to grow up without faith.” Paul Goodman, Growing Up Absurd, (Vintage Books, 1960)

At the Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC today, one is reminded that the followers of the religion of the Old Testament, who after rejecting their Redeemer, have tried to make themselves new and into the redeemers of the world.

The Modern State of Israel is not leading the Jewish people to maturity in the Lord (commensurate with the gifts they’ve been given), but rather to infantilism and absurdity, that ultimately undermines their fulfillment and that of the World.

The best hope for Jews to progress, to be new and have peace in their hearts, is to unite themselves with their Redeemer and the New Covenant — so the Heavenly Father may be all in all.

Israel25aOn this the 67th anniversary of the proclamation of the Modern State of Israel, we note that history has shown the ‘seekers of justice’ to have been unjust before God and man. The Modern State of Israel is far from the House of Israel (People of God).

The best hope for Jews and the world is to remember true freedom and fulfillment come from being united with the Lord — and His New Covenant, which has been in effect for 2000 years.

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you. But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me at table. For the Son of Man indeed goes his way, as it has been determined; yet woe to that man by whom he will be betrayed.” Luke 22: 20-22

“Behold the days are coming, saith the Lord, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, unlike the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I held them by the hand to bring them out of the Land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they broke, although I was their husband. But this is the covenant I shall make with them after those days, saith the Lord: I shall put my Law within them, in their hearts will I write it, and I shall be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33 (2500 years ago)

The new household of Israel calls its members to a transformation of heart — recognizing that the just way to treat one’s neighbor is to respect and serve them — not exploit and dominate them.

JTS-Dolan2Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, spoke at the Jewish Theology Seminary, 5/6, at an event marking the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), the Vatican II Declaration on the Relations of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.

As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation, nor did the Jews, in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading. Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls he issues—such is the witness of the Apostle. In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and “serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Soph. 3, 9). Nostra Aetate 4

In his remarks Cardinal Dolan suggested that Jews and Catholics need to work together to “recover the primacy of the spiritual” in society.

On this the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the 1948 words of Holocaust survivor Odd Nansen remain unheaded—by Jews and Christians.

One thing is certain: hate, revenge, and retribution are not the way. They lead back to the abyss. We should have experience enough by now to know that If we nourish the rising generation on them it is tantamount to spiritual murder and to signing the death sentence of our culture.

The message for which bleeding humanity craves is neither legal, political, nor diplomatic. A starving man does not need revenge to feed him up, he needs food. A sick man does not need a political program to get well, he needs drugs and doctors. A shivering man does not need diplomatic agreements to get warm, he needs clothes and shoes and a roof over his head.

If some of them strike you as being your enemies, because they were on the other side of the war front, do you really think that is the vital thing? They are human, too. They too have a country, a home, a family they love. They too are longing for peace. Perhaps they are longing to meet you!

“Love your enemies” was the command of Him who wished peace on earth. Surely the hardest, the most rigorous, and perhaps the harshest of all commandments.

If He, the Prince of Peace, had been among us today and talked like that, how do you suppose we would have received His message? Don’t you think, dear reader, to be honest, that we should have shrugged and smiled condescendingly at that good-natured softy of a carpenter who was going round preaching anything so sky blue, naive, and childish as “faith in goodness” in the world? Who thought He could build on anything so ridiculous as human worth? And—if He had become too persistent in His zeal, too great a nuisance to our conscience, with His eternal truths and fussing—don’t you think we should have overthrown Him, stoned Him, and crucified Him?

Yet His commandment still remains, and has remained through the ages—unshaken, written in the sky with letters of gold, high above the din and the fumes from our sink of degradation. Unassailable. Simple. Strong and everlasting. “Love your enemies.”

Who would dare presume to raise that demand today, in a world where even to recall it passes for an unforgivable weakness, a betrayal of justice? “Justice!” What is justice exactly, since it counts for more than anything else? An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That is justice, if I remember right—in all its harshness and heartlessness. Truly nothing to aspire to, no ground or principle to build a new world on. We know the world that was built on that principle. It is the one trembling today on the verge of the abyss.

Just suppose that, from tormented, starving, fear-ridden humanity, instead of the cry for justice, there arose a cry for kindness—for love! the wellhead and deepest ground of all life, and goal of its eternal longings.

In the echo of that cry from human hearts a new justice would be created, the outlines of a new, more human world would appear, and the way to it would open.

Don’t you think the Carpenter from Nazareth was pointing toward a world like that? And do you suppose there is any other way there? Odd Nansen, From Day to Day (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1949)

SwingInTheSpring2015SwingInToSpring2015aSpring seemed to break out everywhere in NYC today, the Second Sunday of Easter — a day recognized by Christians (in the Roman Church) as Divine Mercy Sunday .

Photographs: Stephen Wise

PalmSunday2015“The Last Supper and the Crucifixion took place during the Passover, when the Eternal Son of the Father mediated a New Testament or Covenant, as the Old Testament or Covenant was mediated through Moses. As Moses ratified the Old Testament with the blood of animals, so Christ now ratified the New Testament with His own Blood. He who is the true Paschal Lamb.” Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ (McGraw-Hill, 1958)

Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6

The best hope for persons and society rests in living truthfully, which starts with purity and humility.

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