Ed. The following appeared in The Hebrew Catholics #64, pp. 16-16. All Rights Reserved.
Rev. Msgr. Eugene Kevane.
It is an honor to be with you as your priest offering your Mass on this important occasion, as the representative of Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. We are offering this Mass for your intentions, founding members as you are of this new Association of Hebrew Catholics. It is auspicious that we are celebrating the Feast of the Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Our meditation together rightfully proceeds in the context of Father Elias’ document, Presenting the Association of Hebrew Catholics, which has just been distributed to you.
Let us ponder the kerygma of Fr. Elias:
“The plan of salvation has moved into a new phase, characterized by the apostasy of the Gentiles and the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, occurring simultaneously.”
Immense perspectives open before us from this kerygma, uniquely proper to this twentieth century.
In our meditation we remember these words of the Roman Canon, that “Abraham is our father in the faith.” Just as he was bidden to establish the divine plan for the redemption and salvation of mankind by coming out from among the Gentiles with their pagan practices, so we have a situation very similar in principle. As sons and daughters of Abraham, our father in the faith, we are to come out from among the now-apostate Gentiles. You are not to participate in the apostasy of the once-Christian Gentile peoples. Our special grace and calling is to preserve the purity and integrity of the apostolic faith in Jesus the Messiah. Remnants of the once-Christian, Gentile peoples, like myself, will gather into a wonderful unity with you.
As Vatican II tells us, we are to scrutinize the signs of the times. At the same time, we recall the words of the Lord Jesus Himself that no-one knows the day or the hour. For the time of the Second Coming is a mystery reserved to the Heavenly Father. Therefore, we are not to be agitated in speculation, but to center humbly upon Jesus and to follow Him, grateful to God for the grace by which we have found Him and have come to know Him as the Messiah expected by the Hebrew prophets. By God’s grace we have come to Him and are now devoted to Him, really present in the Holy Eucharist. Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice of the New and Eternal Testament. And we do indeed look forward to His Second Coming in glory, an event which will definitely take place, but at a time which is the secret of the Heavenly Father, who is Yahweh, the Almighty.
The distinguishing hallmark of our mentality and spirituality, therefore, should be humble fidelity to the doctrine of the faith. We must have the general intention of great carefulness regarding soundness of doctrine. Why so? Because the apostasy of the Gentiles begins with a mysterious carelessness about and unconcern for the purity and integrity of the apostolic faith. This is a spiritual disaster. It leads quickly to apostasy from the Supreme Being Himself. For us, this carefulness regarding the purity and integrity of the doctrine of the faith is absolutely essential, because it is this doctrine of the faith which witnesses to Jesus in His Lordship and Messiahship. It is this fidelity to the doctrine which brings us to Jesus and keeps us in the presence of the Messiah.
How do we maintain this spiritual position, so challenging, from which so many are visibly falling away?
The answer is prayer. This prayer should be based upon a daily reading of the Gospels. This familiarity with the Gospels keeps Jesus the Messiah at the center of our thoughts, our prayers and the activities of our lives. Then after the Gospels, the Epistles, which give us the spirit and the aspirations of the Apos-tles. Among the Epistles, especially that of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapters 9, 10 and 11 in a most special way. For these three chapters are your charter as Hebrew Catholics. You should not only study them, but meditate on them, prayerfully, constantly, practically daily.
This kind of spiritual life, based upon the purity and integrity of the faith, will make your entire self and life a participant in the return to Zion. This is the Spiritual Zionism, the true and real Zionism which in God’s time will give meaning to the physical return of the Jews to Palestine in this present late twentieth century.
It follows from this that the hallmark of the interior life and devotion of the Hebrew Catholic should be the Apostles’ Creed. Using the Apostles’’s Creed in constant and daily personal prayer makes it the structure and the movement of our interior lives. For the Apostles’ Creed is the profession of the original apostles and disciples of Jesus in His Lordship. Its substance is expressed in Peter’s confessions, abidingly the baptismal profession of our Catholic Church. In John 6:68-69, after the Lord Jesus had asked His apostles whether they also wished to go away, Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God’s Holy One.”
Then there is that rock-like confession of St. Peter in Matthew 16:15-16: “And you, Jesus said to them, who do you say that I am? You are the Messiah, Simon Peter answered, the Son of the Living God!”
With this Apostolic confession, let us proceed with our offering of Jesus, Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice of the New Testament. Let us make this offering by means of the Roman Canon. Let us reflect that this Roman Canon, coming from that Apostolic Church of Jesus’ own times, belongs in a special sense to the Hebrew Catholic. We marked this with opening Shema, and our consciousness of the explicit emphasis in the Roman Canon on “Abraham, our father in faith”. Let us then pray the Nicene Creed together, that development of the Apostles’ Creed, and as prayers of the faithful in our Mass this evening in honor of the Archangels, let us pray Rabbi Paul Drach’s beautiful prayer to Our Lady, together with the Carmelite prayer to her who is the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of each of us personally, and the Mother of this Association of Hebrew Catholics. It is her motherly care which will make this Association grow and prosper, centered upon the Holy Eucharist, upon Him whom Peter confesses. May this be the hallmark of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, persons who stand with St. Peter in recognizing Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.