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Friday, April 3, 2015
Personal Reflections ... Religion ...

It’s a Friday night, and I did tonight what I often do on a Friday night — i.e., drive over to my brother’s house to do my wash. But it’s also Good Friday, and as a practicing Roman Catholic, my brother left around 7 for a church service commemorating the death on the cross of Jesus Christ. As someone who is not a practicing Catholic, I stayed to get my washing and drying done.

I left for home at around 8:30pm, an hour after sunset, and took my usual route up Brook Avenue in Passaic, NJ. This street runs through a suburban neighborhood that is unremarkable except for its increasing concentration in recent years of Hassidic Jewish families. On most Friday nights, even in the cold of mid-winter, I see those families in their black coats and hats walking together on the sidewalks, probably visiting other families or going to or from the synagogue on Broadway. Tonight was a nice spring night in the low 60s, so the walks should have been quite busy.

But there was no one at all to be seen. The sidewalks were deserted. But many of the houses were brightly lit up inside. Why was this night different from all other Friday nights? Because it was also the first night of Passover, and families were congregating at the Seder table. As I wound my way down Broadway and Bloomfield Avenue towards Allwood, a thought passed through my mind . . . i.e., that this is why Jesus, the real Jesus, died all those centuries ago. This is what he was really thinking about when he got himself on the wrong side of Pilate and the high priest’s lackeys. I.e, the survival and ultimate fulfillment of the Jewish tradition here on this planet.

Well, it turned out that God did not give Jesus the Jewish-Messiah mission that he had envisioned (i.e., as the “Son of God” overseeing the coming of a divine and righteous Kingdom where the best intentions of the Torah and the Prophets would finally be realized). History re-directed his works and his legacy towards other peoples on other shores. The Jewish people would have to get by without him, and indeed they did (despite the hostile attitudes and anti-Semitic actions of many of Jesus’ future followers). And yet still, despite all the ironies of human fate, this is where Jesus’ heart was; this is what the whole dust-up was about in Jerusalem on that Passover of two millennium ago.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:56 pm      

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