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Saturday, September 19, 2009


I found this sermon very wise and very, very
interesting. I liked the detail about the Roman coins marked by the Jewish
fighters. As a Gael and the son and grandson of Gaels I have always thought of
places like Masada or Numantia or Alesia or Culloden from two perspectives.
That of the men who served the yoke -the Empire- and those who fought for the
lost cause of independence and liberty FOR THEMSELVES. Perhaps their liberty
was imperfect and their societies not as strong politically but they fought the
cause of true honor for liberty FOR THEMSELVES and that is always an honorable
fight and there is something more. The spirit of liberty , the spirit of
sacrifice and spirit of courage and struggle is never entirely lost if the past
is remembered. This is something Gaels -though we are small in number- have in
common I think with the Jews. We remember the past. I remember reading
Caesar's Gallic Wars -translated by Moses Hades- with great joy. It is , after
all a great adventure story. And as a Roman Catholic, I admit that something in
me made me want to root for Caesar and the Romans not the Gauls who were the
barbarians. But I remembered my grandfather who read out the name
VERRRRCINGETORRRRIX said that rix or Righ was King or High Chief of the Marching
Men (or Host). Ver is man as in VIRILE and CINGETO -cogante with the Gaelic
CEUM for step or path and the Spanish CAMINO (path or track). He reminded me
that my ancestors were kinsmen of the Gauls though we were brought into the
Christian Catholic faith by Roman hands.......Patrick and Mungo came from the
same northern Romano-British Diocese and of course St. Columba and St. Maelrubha
and St. Bridget were Gaels but brought into to the faith by the hand of Patrick
or his disciples. And of course we believe in Apostalic Secession -that Patrick
was baptized by priests who were baptized by priests whose baptism traces back
to Peter, John the Baptist and Jesus himself. Perhaps this is a romantic dream
but the Celtic line of my family traces its Christian-Jewish roots that way. Of
course I am part Sutherland and Anderson as well as these lines came relatively
late to Christianity as they were Norse originally. I am quite sure I have
racial roots to Norway and Sweden but interesting enough I have never been
interested in them particularly as my people were completely assimilated to
Scottish Gaelic culture and Christianity over a period of 1000 years.

As you know I have much love and facination for the Jewish faith which I
consider the mother faith of Christianity. And as I have told Diane many times
I hold Jews in awe because really you are of the line of David -collaterally the
same line as Joseph. Mary and Jesus. I could never understand anti-Semitism
because to love the Bible and the teachings of the Great Teacher is to have love
and awe and gratitude for the Jewish people. I begin my catechism classes this
Sunday. And when I read from the Bible I never cease to remember that the Old
Book began as a Jewish Hebrew book and that the New Testament is a Greek book
written by and for Helenistic Jews and a few gentile friends. It is my own
personal theory that the first Christian communities came about when Jewish men
or half-Jewish men and their gentile converts married gentile women and so were
gradually alienated and rejected by the Jewish community as half-breeds and
religious degenerates. And so there must be roots of conflict and alienation
from the very beginning like the murderous bickering of Highland Clans. Yet all
very tragic and unnecessary because we are one human family and those of us who
believe in the God of Abraham have more in common than not. We believe in the
dignity of individual human beings. We reverence unto God and obey his
commandments and we know not to do this is vainglory or hubris.

But I have learned as a teacher that teaching is not an easy matter. Many
people are slackers and resist education as too painful. Education means
alienation from their home culture and their peers so they cling to what is
familar even if it drags them down.

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