Rejoicing in the Law

When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God."  The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant.  To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh is the Christ, for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. — Catechism of the Catholic Church 839.

The conclusion of The Feast of Tabernacles, which began this year on September 27th, includes Simchat Torah, "a rejoicing in the law."  The main focus of the celebration is the Torah and giving joyful thanks for the word of God.  God's people rightly understood the gift of this sacred text and responded with an enthusiastic commemoration.  This special occasion is marked by the last reading in Deuteronomy and the first reading of Genesis.  Symbolically, the two readings represent the never ending cycle of God's word and the eternal nature of the Giver Himself.

 As Christians, we, too, are called to give joyous thanks and praise for Christ: The Word Incarnate.  He who became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14) so that we would be reconciled to our Creator — He is the reason for our own rejoicing.  When the time was right, God chose to empty Himself (Phil 2:7) and in the most humble of ways reveal His glory to mankind.  The time of prophets had passed and the Creator deemed that the Son was to speak so that all might hear and believe.  Using parables, analogies, and anecdotes, Christ's words became alive in the hearts of men.  Relying on everyday experiences, He likened faith to a mustard seed, the kingdom to yeast in bread, and our attachment to God to fruit on a vine.  He reminded us of the innocence of children and talked of the widow who, in giving her few cents, gave all, while others who gave a greater sum, parted with a portion.  He used ordinary men to do extraordinary things.  He gave hope to an ailing and sinful world and called all to the banquet.  He assured us that He did not come to replace the law but rather to complete it.  The Son, sent by the Father, was to satiate man's need to know and hear, in tangible ways, the message of the sacred text that had always been cause for celebration.

People who spend time in Scripture often call the Bible "living," "alive," and "relevant."  They feel its pulse, understand its depth, and recognize their own need to immerse themselves in its life-giving words.  It is alive in their hearts.  When, in His incarnation, the Word became flesh, it was to take up residence in our hearts as well; individually and collectively.  As Christians, each sunrise has the potential to be a celebration of the Word Incarnate and an opportunity to fully rejoice in His call upon our lives.  Simchat Torah became an everyday reality.

Cheryl Dickow

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Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. Cheryl’s newest book is Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Womenwhich is co-authored with Teresa Tomeo and is published by Servant (a division of Franciscan Media); there is also a companion journal that accompanies the book and an audio version intended for women’s studies or for individual reflection. Cheryl’s titles also include the woman’s inspirational fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Elizabeth is available in paperback or Kindle format. Her company is Bezalel Books where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith and is located at www.BezalelBooks.com. To invite Cheryl to speak at your event, write her at Cheryl@BezalelBooks.com.

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