SAINT JOHN BOSCO-TU BISHVAT-FULL OLD MOON
Sirach, Chapter 40, Verse 7
As he reaches safety, he wakes up, astonished that there was nothing to fear.
Our loving God wants us free; He speaks to us at times through our dreams and reassures us of His assistance. Rest is an important part of God’s care for us and the world.
In the Jewish calendar God specified that we are to rest one out of seven days but it goes further with a rest after seven weeks ending in a year of Jubilee after the 49th year called a Shemitah (9/2014-9/2015).
The Shemitah Year is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel and still observed in contemporary Judaism. When Moses received the Levitical law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day… the Sabbath. Moses also applied the cycles of "seven" to weeks and years. A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Pentecost. And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee (9/2015-9/2016) is based on letting the land rest every seventh year as follows; "For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord." (Leviticus 25:3-4)
Before the Exodus, the Israelites had been slaves in the land of Egypt, without freedom and without possessions. When they reached the land of Canaan, Joshua divided the land among their tribes and their families… so that each had his own inheritance. Every adult male among them became a land owner. This land was a permanent possession that could never depart from his family. If a man became poor he could sell part or all of his land… but only temporarily. It would always revert to him or his descendants at the “Year of Jubilee.” If he became even poorer and was unable to pay his debts, he could sell himself into slavery, and work to pay off his debts. Again that slavery could only ever be temporary. When the great “Day of Atonement” in the “Year of Jubilee” came he became a free man once again and repossessed his inheritance. The most unusual observance that God commanded the Israelites through Moses was… the keeping of the Year of Jubilee. For most people this celebration occurred only once in their life time and for many not even that, as it occurred …only once every 50 years. At this year of jubilee all Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery were set free… and all land that had been sold reverted to its original owner. This meant that the Israelites could not ever be in permanent slavery; nor could any Israelite permanently lose his inheritance!
God’s purpose for the jubilee is to set men free from slavery. Are there people and things you are enslaved too? Now is the time to break free from them. If others happen to be enslaved to you; now is the time to release them and god’s mercy will shine on you! If you are enslaved to alcohol, drugs, pornography, food or any other thing or person. Free yourself to be able to give yourself to God.
St. John Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, and of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, "Apostle of Youth." He had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. Don Bosco decided to go ahead fearlessly with his educational mission stating,” “Timid souls refrained from making any kind of fresh start for fear of the coming storm.”
Things to Do
· St. John Bosco at a young age learned how to juggle and do other tricks to attract children to him. This provided opportunities for him to give catechesis to these children. Think of different activities that you could do to attract children—perhaps juggling, putting on puppet shows, storybook time—and use that opportunity to teach a virtue, catechism lesson, or just to be a good example. Good clean fun or a wholesome activity is a lesson in itself in a world where there is so much corruption.
· Read this article from Catholic Culture's library, Don Bosco, Seeker of Souls.
Today is also the Hebrew New Year for trees-One wonders if our Lady celebrated this with Christ in happier times.
Tu Bishvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט, literally: the 15th of the Lunar Month of Shevat) is the New Year for trees (similar to Arbor Day). It falls in January or February each year, typically when almond blossom is seen in Israel. It is one of the four New Years in the Jewish Calendar. According to the Jewish Law (Halachah), the 'New Year for trees' defines the beginning of the year for separating tithes for the poor and Levite. Tithes are 10% portions of a product, which are allocated as charity to either the Levites or the poor. Torah Law requires, that when the Holy Temple was standing, these tithes would be removed from the produce, before it was 'fit for consumption'. There was a seven year cycle, culminating in the Shmittah year, when fields lay fallow. After every seven seven year cycles, a Jubilee, 50th year was celebrated.
Tu Bishvat Facts & Quotes
· It is customary on Tu Bishvat to eat fruits of the Land of Israel, particularly those of the Biblical verse A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey (Deuteronomy 8:8). The honey in this verse refers to date honey, according to tradition. Another custom is to plant trees in Israel.
· On Tu Bishvat, we remember that Man is a Tree of the Field (Deuteronomy 20:19). It explains that we may not cut down trees during the siege of a city. The tree of the field is man's life to be used in and after the siege.
· The Code of Jewish Law states that on Tu B'Shevat fasting and eulogies are forbidden, and all penitential prayers are omitted. One of the most important authorities, the Magen Avraham, adds (131:16): It is the custom to eat many different kinds of fruit. The Arizal suggested the eating of fifteen kinds of fruit (on the fifteenth of the month).
· It should be noted that all Jewish holidays begin at sundown one the eve before the Gregorian date specified for the holiday.
Tu Bishvat Top Events and Things to Do
· Make a Tu Bishvat Fruit Plate. Magen Avraham, a leading Jewish authority suggested the eating of fifteen kinds of fruit (on the fifteenth of the month).
· Say Blessings for new Fruit. Two blessings are said for new fruits (which have not yet been eaten that year), namely the standard blessing for fruits ..Who created the fruits of the tree and ..Who kept us alive, and sustained us and allowed us to reach this day.
· Attend a Tu Bishvat tisch which is popular in Hasidic communities. A Tisch is the Yiddish word for table. It refers to a festive meal with Holy Land fruits, wine, bread, fish and other foods.
· Sing a Tu Bishvat Song. There are many songs on YouTube about Tu Bishvat in both Hebrew and English.
Full Old Moon and Eclipse
According to the almanac we are having a full old moon and eclipse today. Take the oldest person you know out and ask them to give you an eclipse of their life and ask them to advice you what is the greatest virtue you can practice. If you are old write a letter to the youngest in your family doing this!
· Please pray for me and this ministry