Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Catholic Hanukkah


It's not an oxymoron!

Don't panic!

Remain calm! All is well! (quick, what movie is this from?)

The deal with Hanukkah is that, while not as big a deal to Christians in general and Catholics in particular, as, say, Christmas, it still carries a powerful message that we would all do well to heed.

Sure, you have all that sorta up-front stuff about a Big Deal Miracle, which is always nice because it causes you to think about God 'n' stuff. When the impossible happens, well, that's pretty cool and it lets you know Someone Is Watching. Great. Cool. Excellent. But, as is the case with all miracles, that's just the beginning the proverbial tip of the proverbial iceberg. That's not what the miracle is about.

Go one layer deeper and you will see that there is more to it. One night's light grows into light for EIGHT nights. Quiz! Does "Ego Sum Lux Mundi" mean anything to you? It ought. In the narrative of Hanukkah, the undefiled (little bells should be going off in your head now) oil provides light for however long it took for the people of God to keep the light going on its own. Sometimes in our very awkward walk towards the divine we stumble and fall and those times, when our own legs will not or cannot carry us, we are carried by the God who made us. Sounds like pretty good stuff to keep in mind for Jews and Christians, yes?

But wait! It gets better!

The Hanukkah narrative is mentioned in the two books of the Maccabees. This is a book which is explicitly present in the Catholic versions of the Bible (also Orthodox). This book records that a woman and her seven (insert "Twilight Zone" theme here) sons suffered horrific tortures in defense of their faith in God and remaining true to divine will. They did so in the explicit hopes of resurrection. Our Christian faith informs us of the source of this resurrection, doesn't it?

Also, in the books of the Maccabees, Judas Maccabeaus (sp?) is noted as having "set aside" the temple of God and we know Christ described himself as such and also, specifically stated how He had been likewise set aside while standing in the Temple area. (I want to make sure I have my Scripture references right, so I'll hold off on citing for now.) St. Paul also exhorts to be set apart for God in that same vein.

See what I mean?



  • At 12:46 PM, November 05, 2010 , Blogger Chelsea Bat Eve said...

    I really loved this article. I am Catholic with a little research in our geneology of the family we have a Jewish blood line. I am a Catholic convert from the baptist faith. My Mom and I both converted when I was seventeen but my Dad remained Baptist. After marrying and having our daughter, I decided I wanted to honour both Chanukah and Passover in our home, I think it helps us to appreciate our Catholic faith even more. My Dad on the other hand was not very understanding toward my decesion. Thanks for understanding there is still great importance behind these holidays, especially if you believe Christ to be the messiah.


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