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A LION'S LOVING LIFT

    Meril Jeffery John.J
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    By Meril Jeffery John.J
    A LION'S LOVING LIFT

    There is an old folk tale popular among the Jews. Once the Jews of Jerusalem had to endure a severe famine. Many died due to starvation. The Jewish Council met to discuss the situation and recommend remedial measures. It was decided to seek urgent help from the Jewish colonies of different countries to meet the crisis. A holy Rabbi was deputed to collect money from the Jews of Egypt. He readily agreed and started the tedious journey through the desert. For safety he joined a caravan of merchants mounted on camels. They travelled through the desert following their regular route. They refreshed and renewed their supply of food and water at the oases on the way.

    By the evening of the first Friday of their journey, The Rabbi announced that the Holy Sabbath Day has started. The Rabbi was very particular about observing strictly the rules and rituals of Jewish Rabbis. Thus he had to stay away from travel and work and engage in prayers and reading of the Holy Scriptures till the evening of Saturday. He requested the fellow travellers to stay with him, have a rest for a day and join the celebration of the Sabbath. But they were in a hurry and left immediately, angrily refusing his request and leaving the poor Rabbi all alone in the desert. He immersed himself totally in the prescribed prayers, hymns, meditations and the rituals of the Holy Sabbath.

    When it was dark, a fierce lion appeared before the Rabbi. Though frightened by the fearsome sight, he continued to recite his prayers and hymns. The lion behaved cordially and silently witnessed the prayers. He gave a piece of bread to the lion which the lion accepted gracefully like a tame domestic animal. The Rabbi spent the next day reading the Holy Books of the Torah. By evening on Saturday, he recited the concluding prayer. The lion then came near him and lowered his body as if to invite him to mount on the lion's back. The Rabbi mounted on the lion, carrying his personal bag with him. The lion ran swiftly through the desert carrying the Rabbi on his back. The lion stopped when they reached the Caravan which had left the Rabbi on the way.

    The travellers were frightened to see the lion and were struck with wonder to see the Rabbi travelling on the lion. The lion slowly lowered his body to let the Rabbi dismount from the lion's back. With a mighty roar the lion ran away into the desert and disappeared from their sight. Realizing the sanctity of the Rabbi, the travellers bowed down and fell at his feet and asked his pardon for abandoning him in the desert. The Holy Rabbi came to be known as ARIEL, meaning 'the lion of God' combining the Hebrew words 'ARI' for 'lion' and 'EL' for God.

    The Holy Scriptures indicate several instances when God used His creations, including the animals to protect His children. Daniel was saved from the hungry lions {Daniel 6: 16-27} and Balaam was transformed through the words of the donkey {Numbers 22: 12-35}.

    Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the Sabbath it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day Sunday: {Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): 2174}.

    Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ {CCC: 2175}.

    The Sabbath which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ {CCC: 2190}.

    The Church celebrates the day of Christ's Resurrection on the "eighth day," Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord's Day {CCC: 2191}.

    "Sunday... is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church". "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass"{CCC: 2192}.

    "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound... to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord's Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body" {CCC: 2193}.

    The institution of Sunday helps all "to be allowed sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives" {CCC: 2194}.

    Meril Jeffery John.J

    Meril Jeffery John.J

    If This is God's Will then no man can Fight it

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