Yom Kippur

Sunday marked the highest holy day in the Jewish tradition: Yom Kippur. Historically, this was the day that Moses received the second set of the Ten Commandments. In practice, Yom Kippur is the day one searches deep in the heart and mind and seeks forgiveness of all wrongs done against neighbors and God and makes atonement.

From Exodus, the Israelites cry out against Moses because they are thirsty. In truth, they are crying out against God because they perceive He is not taking care of their needs. Their quarrel is not with Moses but with God Himself.

In Matthew, Jesus speaks Truth to the Jewish leadership in that they have seen the witnessed the word of truth from John the Baptist and yet they do not believe in the reality of John’s proclamations.
Paul speaks to the Philippians to “be of the same mind” and “be of one accord.” But we are all so different, so how can we be of the same mind: Jesus Christ. Paul continues by saying “in humility regard others as better than yourself.” WOW! This is SO powerful…and so hard to do!!

Fr. Seraphim Rose, a Russian Orthodox monk, said these very words of Paul: “Don’t criticize or judge other people. Regard everyone as an angel, justify their mistakes and weaknesses, and condemn only yourself as the worst sinner. This is step one in any kind of spiritual life.”

Do we cry out against others because we aren’t getting what we think we need/deserve…and, being honest, is our frustration actually with God? We have heart the Truth, but do we really believe? Do we truly see ourselves as the worst sinner or do we justify ourselves and our actions?

Let us respond to this Highest Holy Day in our Judeo-Christian heritage by removing all blinders and tricks of concealing our true selves. Let us gaze upon ourselves and recognize who we really are. And, like Paul encourages, may we take the hand of Jesus and accept His mercy. Only then… ONLY THEN will we be able to be of one mind and be of one accord.



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