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Second Exodus is an apostolate committed to radical transformation toward Christ through the Catholic Church as eternal Israel.
Father John A. Hardon, S.J., my saintly mentor, repeatedly insisted, “Only heroic Catholics will survive.” By now every faithful Catholic realizes that we are living in an extraordinary time of salvation history. The twentieth century saw more Jews and Catholics martyred for their faith than at any time in their history. The last half of the twentieth century saw an unprecedented and continuing disappearance of Christianity from public life all over the world. A half century ago it may have been possible to live a Catholic life merely by living as an ordinary Catholic in a Catholic neighborhood. Today we still hear Father Hardon insist, “Ordinary Catholics will not survive.” Most of the old urban Catholic neighborhoods have not survived. Christ Jn 10:10 “… came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” but the widespread acceptance of contraception, abortion and homosexual behavior tell Him that we no longer wish to give life, and give it abundantly.
We can survive the moral sewage in the air we breathe only through radical transformation toward Christ. We must align our entire lives toward Christ. Once it was enough to go to Holy Mass every Sunday. Now we need the Holy Mass every day. Those who can’t go to Mass during the week can pray the Rosary gathered as a family during the week. Father Hardon always said, “Never waste a heartbeat.” Christ needs to be the reference standard for every moment of our lives. We wake up in the morning and take a shower because it reminds us of our baptism, which washed the sin from our soul as we now wash the grime from our body. When we eat we think of the Holy Eucharist, reflecting that our soul needs food as much as our body. Our radical transformation has to be in action as well. If our state in life allows, we ask our wife to home-school our children, rather than leaving them to be taught by a state intent upon eradicating Christianity from public life.
Second Exodus emphasizes Rabbi Yeshua, the Hebrew name by which Christ was called all His earthly life, as the most Jewish Jew of all. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 578, tells us, “Jesus, Israel’s Messiah and therefore the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, was to fulfill the Law by keeping it in its all-embracing detail–according to his own words, down to the least of these commandments. He is in fact the only one who could keep it perfectly.”
We all speak to the knowledge of the person we are addressing. If we say hypostatic union to a faithful Catholic he will know exactly what I mean, but many Catholics today might imagine that Rabbi Yeshua belonged to the carpenters’ union of His time. Rabbi Yeshua spoke and taught from a background deeply imbued with the Halakha, the whole body of Jewish law embracing both the written (Torah) and oral (Talmud) traditions.
He told Thomas, Jn 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Halakha means, “the way,” as on a pilgrim journey.
Literally, halakha comes from the Hebrew root HLCH, which means “walk.” It derives from halakh, “he walked,” which refers to Moses and later Yeshua leading us on a pilgrim journey to the promised land. It applies the Written and Oral Torah, the Talmud, and the rabbinic legislation and commentaries to every aspect of Jewish life. Rabbi Yeshua said, “I am the Halakha.”
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the Halakha as “the way.” King David wrote, Ps 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Isaiah told us, Is 40:3 “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” What was the way of the Lord? Jeremiah answered, Jer 5:4 “… for they do not know the way of the Lord, the law of their God.”
The Pharisees were familiar with this usage. Mt 22:16 “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully.” St. Paul spoke of Rabbi Yeshua’s teaching as the Halakha. Acts 9:2 “But Saul … went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” Acts 19:8 “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God; but when some were stubborn and disbelieved, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” Acts 22:3 “I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamali-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death.”
Rabbi Yeshua did not change the Halakha that our Father gave Moses. Rather, He revealed to us the full meaning that the Father intended from the beginning. His Father told us His name, Ex 3:14 “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you,’” so that when His Son declared, Jn 14:6 “I AM the Halakha,” the people Israel would understand that the Son of God fulfilled in Himself the entire Halakha.
Maimonides teaches that the people Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai built themselves a golden calf, Ex 32:4 an echo of the Egyptian cow-god, showing that they were still conditioned to worship the Egyptian idols, and that our Father instituted the kosher laws to reverse their conditioning. What they Egyptians worshiped the people Israel were to kill and eat, but what the Egyptians ate the people Israel were forbidden to eat. Our Father in heaven told us, Is 55:11 “…so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.” By the time Rabbi Yeshua arrived, Egyptian idolatry had been purged from the Israelite heart. The kosher laws had been intended from the beginning to instill in the people Israel God’s great command: Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
We can know Rabbi Yeshua, Christ, only if we know the intensely Jewish background from which He spoke. We need to know Him, to immerse ourselves deeply in Him, to live the Halakha for the salvation of our own souls.
We need to participate in God’s plan for salvation history. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 674, tells us, “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by all Israel.” If we expect to receive large numbers of Jews into the Church in preparation for the end of time we had better be ready to explain to our Jewish friends why entering the Catholic Church is not conversion to a new religion but the completion of what they have already begun.
The Second Exodus Apostolate helps Catholic prepare for heaven through illumination of the Jewish origins of the Catholic Church. If we think of the apostolate as a target, the very center is the Second Exodus book. It is the heart and soul, of the apostolate. Most of the Second Exodus information is only in the book. Surrounding the book, the inner ring would be the interior which answers questions about the book and the apostolate’s perspective. The outer ring would be my personal enthusiasms. The Catholic Church extends from earth to heaven and from two thousand years ago to the end of time. It has so much to be excited about that I have to share at least some. Vatican documents, Catholic education, evangelization, patron saints, prayer, prolife, formative professions, and my passion for Catholic definitions are just a sample.
Copyright © 1999-2010 Martin K Barrack. All rights reserved.