Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Titanic Fraud

You may have seen in the news this past week the audacious claim by movie maker James Cameron (of Titanic fame), that he has filmed a documentary about a group of archaeologists who claim to have found a tomb in Jerusalem containing the physical remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and perhaps their child, Judas. Once the claim was made, of course, the media seized the opportunity to once again attack our faith and trample on the name, the memory, and the story of Our Lord and Savior. Since you have probably seen this story, and since the media seems to lack any attempt to see what the Truth is, I thought it helpful to point out a few things:

1. This is not a “new” discovery. These burial boxes, called ossuaries, were not discovered recently. They were discovered by renowned archaeologist, Amos Kloner, in 1980. Kloner has disavowed already any of the claims being made by Cameron and Co., as nothing more than hype and an attempt to make money off the name of Jesus. Kloner said, “The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any proof, and is only an attempt to sell. I refute all claims and efforts to waken a renewed interest in the findings. With all due respect, they are not archeologists.”

2. The claim is that the changes are very unlikely to find a tomb that includes people with names like Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The reality that any Biblical or archaeological scholar would tell you is that the likelihood would be about the same of finding someone in New Milford named Michael, or Kathleen. These were perhaps the most popular names of the day.

3. It is completely unlikely that there would even be a family tomb, as we know the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were extremely poor – so poor you’ll recall that Jesus had to be buried in a “borrowed tomb” after His crucifixion. Not to mention, the family was from Galilee and not Jerusalem.

It seems as though this is becoming a seasonal fascination with the media: It is the holiest time of the year for Christians, so let’s attack Jesus. The reality is that this is nothing new, the only thing different is that we don’t name it clearly. There is a good, old-fashioned name for this – it is called heresy. In the early centuries of Christianity, there were many people who attacked the nature of Jesus. Some would say that Jesus was not a human being; He was only God (or an angel) in human form. Others made the claim that He was not God, that He was not Divine and was just a man. This would be the type of heresy that Cameron (and Dan Brown, the last attacker) would fall into. They essentially make a claim that, if Jesus was dead and buried, there is no resurrection. They want to make Jesus just another man, that lived just another ordinary life.

Yet, we know that Jesus is no ordinary man. He is and for ever shall be the Son of God; He is and for ever shall be the singular person in the history of humanity. When these teachings were attacked in the early Church, the Church responded by creating the Creed, reminding us that Jesus is “God from God, Light from Light; True God from True God; begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.” We also know from the Creed and the consistently held faith of the Church for 2,000 years that “we believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

Let us not get caught up in yet another charlatan’s smoke and mirror show once gain. Let us use this Lenten season to remind ourselves of just who our Savior is, and not be pulled into this “heresy du jour.”

My brothers and sister, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Praised be Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, the First Born from the Dead, now and forever!

Love, Fr. Tom

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