Published in Church and Life (1835) 24.5.2012-20.6.2012 No 9 I have a complaint, or perhaps as it were “a bone to pick!” More and more often we hear amongst our faithful and mostly from the younger crowd, that they need and follow “Jesus”, but have given up on “church”, “human institutions”, and so called “religion”. All of this is very interesting of course and needs a translation. To me it seems that when these “Jesus” only people speak, they are describing their state of separation from God and their need to come back to the church. Let us have a look at this “Jesus” so many claim to solely seek. When you look in the Bible you notice that Jesus Christ was from the Jewish tribe ofJudah. He was born of a very religious family and a law abiding one at that. As the Bible in Mt.5.17 quotes Jesus Himself “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Jesus was born into a Jewish culture and faith. He is the Messiah. He wants to show that He is the fulfilment or completion of the Jewish faith. Based on the Jewish religion, using the traditional structure and practice of this religion, He goes further and establishes the new faith, religion, which is later called Christianity. The point here is that Jesus uses all – the calendar, temples, and religious ceremonies of the Jewish faith – to establish that He is the Son of God and by the Will of God He leaves the new church here on earth. The lesson here is clear. You cannot worship in a vacuum. You do it in a time, place and culture. Jesus did and allowed all the customs of the Jewish way of worship to happen. He, for instance, was circumcised. This was a Jewish religious requirement that should happen on the eighth day after birth. The apostles themselves called a meeting (Synod) inJerusalemin the year 44AD to decide that circumcision was not needed outside of the Jewish race. He was presented into the temple, according to the Law of Moses. Every first born son was to be brought into the temple along with a sacrifice of two doves. He observed all the Jewish holidays, for instance, the Passover. He even used the Passover meal to introduce the Divine Liturgy (breaking of the bread). It is uninformed to say that Jesus would have nothing to do with structured religion or the exercise of faith. The Catholic Church is a direct result of the work of Jesus and the apostles. To want to practice a cult of “Jesus”, free and independent of the church structure is the result of the work of the evil spirit. We are told that we should be in charge of our faith by ourselves. We have the ability to reach God by ourselves. This is a temptation and a lie. Our faith is celebrated only in the context of the church. The faith we were given over a thousand years ago in Kyiv, has so many beautiful and meaningful customs and traditions which have lead past generations to salvation and will continue to do so in the future.
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