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January 22—The Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph is tied to the Protection of the Unborn Children, Marriage and Family

Holy Family–they show us how to Respect Life

By Larry Peterson

January 22, is the day the Catholic Church in America sets aside all else and joins in prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  Traditionally, in the pre-1955 Church calendar, this day was set aside to honor the “Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph”. Today, this Mass is still celebrated by some religious orders using the Latin rite.

This is such a beautiful thing for the Church to do. By simultaneously, joining together the Day of Prayer for the Unborn with Roe vs. Wade and the Betrothal of Our Lady, it heralds the beauty of Motherhood, and it trumpets the profound, spiritual importance of marriage and family.

From the Gospel of Matthew 1: 18; “When Mary was engaged to Joseph, before their marriage, she was discovered to be pregnant—by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”

From Matthew 1: 23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel.”

In the old testament, Jewish marriages happened in stages. First came the betrothal. At this ceremony, the couple gave their consent. They were now considered truly married. However, before they would actually move in together as a husband and wife, there was a period of time where they spent time away from each other. This could be up to a year, and it was during this separation that the “newlyweds.” were to learn from older married couples how to be good, Jewish spouses.

In his1989 Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Pual II, used the following words to describe the marriage ceremony of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph: According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her husband.”

When God does things, He sure is meticulous. Mary and Joseph were, according to the law, married. There are those who say that Jesus was born out of wedlock. If the betrothal had not taken place, that might be accurate. But under the law, they were married. There are some would have you believe that Mary was no different than an unwed mother. This is false. The Blessed Mother was a married woman at the time of the Annunciation. She even asked the Angel Gabriel, “How can this be since I know not man?” And she is told it will be by the Holy Spirit. The Angel also informs Joseph. Therefore, within the Holy Family,  the sanctity of marriage and family is fully protected.

Since Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs.Bolton on January 22, 1973, more than 60,000,000 lives have been eradicated. The number is incomprehensible. Yet there are so many who justify this by using the rare examples of teenage rape or incest, out of wedlock pregnancies, Downs Syndrome, deformities, lack of finances, etc. We could also say the Blessed Virgin Mary’s pregnancy was abnormal or irregular. Afterall, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ total DNA comes from a woman. Biologically, Jesus is not the son of Joseph, the Nazarene carpenter. But this man define’s fatherhood, and his example screams out to all men;  Love and protect the child and his/her mom, no matter what. Be loyal and true.Give them your name if you must.

Fittingly, on the 45th Anniversary of the two most ignominious Supreme Court decisions ever handed down, as we pray for the protection of the unborn, we can look to the marriage of Joseph and Mary, a marriage established by God and made perfect by His Son.

Lastly, it is hard to even imagine a better husband or father than a simple carpenter named Joseph. He is an example for all mankind.

We ask the Most Holy Family to pray for all the unborn and children everywhere.

 

 

Hanukkah—We Catholic/Christians might give this sacred Jewish Holiday more respect.

By Larry Peterson

 

The great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th.  In 2017 there is also another great religious holiday that commences on that same day. We Catholic/Christians hardly ever notice this day even though it is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday in the United States. I refer to Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Hanukkah ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 20.

 

Virtually all of our faith is rooted in Judaism. Jesus was called “rabbi” and taught in the temple. St. Joseph was a “righteous Jew” who practiced his faith diligently abiding by the rules as best he could.  Our dear Blessed Mother was a Jewish girl given over to the temple hierarchy at the age of three. When the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1) is used by the priest offering Mass, “Abraham, our father in faith” is mentioned right after the consecration. Yes, our Catholic faith is most definitely descended from Judaism (no need to mention the Apostles).

 

 

What follows is about Hanukkah and some of the history and customs behind it. It is also meant to question why so many of us Catholic/Christians do not appreciate the profound connection between Judaism and Catholicism. Let us begin with the Bible and John 10: 22-35. This begins with the Feast of the Dedication. This is known today as the Festival of Lights aka Hanukkah. The last verse has Jesus saying, “—and scripture cannot be set aside—.”  By saying this He ties the Old Testament to Himself.

 

In our Catholic Bible the Old Testament, 1 Maccabees 4:59,  reads; “Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days from the 25th day of  the month of Chislev.” This is today’s Hanukkah. And John has Jesus referring to it in his gospel. Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah. It follows that if Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, we Catholic/Christians should honor it even if it is simply done in our own quiet way.

 

Here is some basic information about Hanukkah:

 

.Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights”. This holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple after Judah Maccabee and his brothers liberated Judea from pagan domination.

 

.The Menorah is a candelabra with a new candle lit each day of the celebration. The Catholic connection to Hanukkah lies in the fact that this Holiday comes from 1 and 2 Maccabees. These books are not in the Hebrew Bible or the Protestant (King James) Bible. But they are in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible.

 

.“Gelt” is Yiddish for coins. Gelt  has been part of Hanukkah observances for centuries. Today, chocolate is often substituted for gold coins. There are those who say that chocolate gelt is similar to the European tradition of exchanging gold-covered chocolate coins in honor of the miracles of St. Nicholas. (Christmas and Hanukkah have been tied together).

 

.In 2013, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah joined together on the same day, November 28. It was so unusual for this to happen they even had turkey-shaped menorahs in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. For many of today’s millennials, they may still be around when this clash of Holidays happens again. That will happen on November 27, 2070. As for me, I probably will miss that parade.

 

The following two (or three) blessings are said each night before the menorah is lit. Note the parallels to our Offertory prayers said over the bread and wine.

 

1) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

 

2) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

 

3) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

 

HAPPY HANUKKAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

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