Yesterday marked the beginning of the Hanukkah celebration for my Jewish friends. When you begin to understand the significance of Hanukkah, you begin to realize that it is a holiday that should be seen as an inspiration to all people of faith. Due to the removal of Maccabees from the protestant Bible, many non Catholic Christians are ignorant as to the significance of the holiday (I would encourage everyone to read those books free online, as the recorded events explain so many other parts of scripture).
In short, a Greek king invaded Jerusalem, desecrated the Jewish temple in an act described as “The Abomination of Desolation” in which the Greeks sacrificed a pig on the altar of the Temple and set up a statue of Zeus. The act was intended to suppress the faith of the Jewish people and discourage them as a people, by attacking the source of their identity. A Jewish revolt against the occupiers led to the restoration of the Temple and a rededication. Hanukkah is a story of a people standing up for their beliefs and working to restore what had been perverted.
It is a lesson we could all learn in this day and age. We should all seek to redeem the places of this earth where poverty, corruption, and subjugation are prevalent. Now, we do this by embracing those with whom we differ, by welcoming the outcasts of society, through the destruction of societal injustice, and the lifting up of those who have been passed over.
Tikkun Olam – or the repair of our world – is the concept of redeeming, repairing, and rededicating our city, nation, and world to the God who demonstrates and extends love and grace to each of us. It begins in each of us with a selfless love for ALL people.