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Second Exodus is first and foremost a tool for evangelizing Catholics. It works at two levels:
Catholics who already know their Faith often still do not know its Jewish origins. We can explain to our friends that the Jewish origins are so deeply integral to the Catholic faith that it cannot be properly understood apart from them. Some examples:
Jesus told Nicodemus, Jn 3:5 “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach. It has overtones of wind, breath, and soul. Water and Spirit were matter and form for the Creation itself. Gn 1:2 “…and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” Gn 2:6 “…a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground - then the Lord God …breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Gn 8:1 “God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.”
In the ancient days, when the Jewish priest had killed the last lamb of the Passover, he uttered the Hebrew word Kalah, “it is finished.” Moments before He died on the cross, Jesus said, Jn 19:30 Kalah (it is finished).
The ancient Jews had a special ritual meal called the Todah (Hebrew: thanks). Although the Todah sacrificed an animal, it was greater than other animal sacrifices be-cause it added the suffering of one’s own life. David wrote, Ps 40:6,8 “Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. … I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart.” The seventy elders who went up with Moses to see God offered the Todah: Ex 24:11 “They beheld God, and ate and drank.” Twelve centuries later, twelve apostles beheld God, and ate and drank as Jesus prepared to offer His Todah sacrifice: Lk 22:19 “He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it…” From the beginning, Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity has been called Holy Eucharist (Greek: eucharistia, thanksgiving.) The ancient rabbis believed that when the Messiah would come all sacrifices except the Todah would cease, but the Todah would continue for all eternity. In 70 AD the Temple fell to earth and all of the bloody animal sac-rifices stopped. Only the Todah remains, the eucharistia, the Final Sacrifice at which the last words spoken are todah laEl, “Thanks be to God.”
Christ’s first command is Mt 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Loving God with our mind specifically means knowing who He is and what He asks of us. Second Exodus is a concise review of the whole Catholic faith.
More important, it is a complete and consistent review. Far too often the Catholic faith is taught as a series of lessons. In this one we learn that the Catholic Church has three branches: the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. In the next we learn that there are three kinds of persons: divine, spiritual, and human. In the one after that we learn that the Church opposes contraception, abortion and euthanasia. After the last chapter the author rests, reflecting that all he has taught was faithful to the Magisterium, while his readers scatter and are soon lost. Second Exodus teaches the Catholic faith by starting with the tree of life from which all else grows: how we can know that God has objective existence, that His Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth, and that Jesus the Good Shepherd made Peter and his apostolic successors shepherds to tend His flock. A reader who clearly understands that everything he learns comes from Christ’s public revelation through the apostolic succession and is directly connected to love for God and for God’s image and likeness will hold fast to the Catholic Church.
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