Daily Update: Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time and 07-02 - Halfway Point of Year

Today is the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, and, with no Saints to honor today, we note that today is the Half-Way Point of the Calendar Year (at 1:00 pm at my locale here in SouthWestCentral Louisiana).

Our Gospel reading for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time comes from Matthew 10:37-42: Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” I would also like to note that today is the half-way point of this calendar year; there were 182 days before today since January 1st, and there will be 182 more days before we reach December 31st. The precise midpoint of the year will occur at 12:00 pm, or at 1:00 pm in locations that observe some sort of daylight savings time (like my own location, here in SouthWestCentral Louisiana); this is when 182 days and 12 hours will have elapsed and there are 182 days and 12 hours remaining in the year.

Last night I removed the polish from my toenails, and continued reading Beethoven’s Skull: Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond by Tim Rayborn via Kindle on my tablet.

When I woke up to get ready for work today I posted to Facebook that today was the Half-Way Point of the Year, and did my Book Devotional Reading. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Today was another Heavy Business Volume Day for the Fourth of July. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Poker, and I was on Pai Gow.

On our way home I continued reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet. Once home from work I read the Sunday Papers. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish, I will do some reading, then go to bed for the duration. The Half-Way Point of this non-leap year will arrive at 1:00 pm local time.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle (died c. 72). In astronomy, the Earth will reach Aphelion tomorrow.Richard and I will return to the casino tomorrow, and I will continue reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet. In the afternoon I will work on my weblog, and Earth Aphelion will occur at my location at 3:00 pm.

Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Elie Wiesel, Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, and activist. Born as Eliezer Wiesel in 1928 in Sighet (now Sighetu Marmației), Romania, his Jewish father encouraged him in literature, while his Jewish mother had him study Torah. His family spoke Yiddish most of the time, but also German, Hungarian, and Romanian. When Wiesel was at the age of fifteen the Jewish community was relocated to two ghettos in the town, then the Jewish population was deported to Auschwitz, where his mother and little sister were killed; his father and Wiesel were kept alive to work and eventually sent to Buchenwald, where his father died. After the liberation of Buchenwald in 1945 he joined a transport of 1,000 child survivors of Buchenwald to Ecouis, France, where the Œuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) had set up a rehabilitation center. He was reunited with his older sisters, who had survived the camps. Wiesel subsequently joined a smaller group of 90 to 100 boys from Orthodox homes who wanted kosher facilities and a higher level of religious observance; they were cared for in a home in Ambloy under the directorship of Judith Hemmendinger. This home was subsequently moved to Taverny and operated until 1947. Afterwards Wiesel traveled to Paris where he learned French and studied literature, philosophy and psychology at the Sorbonne. He heard lectures by philosopher Martin Buber and existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre and he spent his evenings reading works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka, and Thomas Mann. By the time he was nineteen he had begun working as a journalist, writing in French, while also teaching Hebrew and working as a choirmaster. He wrote for Israeli and French newspapers, including Tsien in Kamf (Zion in Struggle) in Yiddish. In 1946, after learning of the Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel, Wiesel made an unsuccessful attempt to join the underground Zionist movement. In 1948, he translated articles from Hebrew into Yiddish for Irgun periodicals, but never became a member of the organization. In 1949 he traveled to Israel as a correspondent for the French newspaper L’arche. He then was hired as Paris correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, subsequently becoming its roaming international correspondent. For ten years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. He began to reconsider his decision after a meeting with the French author François Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature who eventually became Wiesel’s close friend. Mauriac was a devout Christian who had fought in the French Resistance during the war. Mauriac persuaded him to begin writing about his harrowing experiences. Wiesel first wrote the 900-page memoir Un di velt hot geshvign (And the World Remained Silent) in Yiddish, which was published in abridged form in Buenos Aires. Wiesel rewrote a shortened version of the manuscript in French, La Nuit, in 1955. It was translated into English as Night in 1960. The book sold few copies after its publication, but still attracted interest from reviewers, leading to television interviews with Wiesel and meetings with literary figures such as Saul Bellow. After its increased popularity, Night was eventually translated into thirty languages with ten million copies sold in the United States. (I myself read the book while in high school in the 1970’s.) At one point film director Orson Welles wanted to make it into a feature film, but Wiesel refused, feeling that his memoir would lose its meaning if it were told without the silences in between his words. In 1955 Wiesel moved to New York as foreign correspondent for the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. He also played a role in the initial success of The Painted Bird (1965) by Jerzy Kosinski by endorsing it before revelations that the book was fiction and, in the sense that it was presented as all Kosinski’s true experience, a hoax. He married in 1969. In the United States he went on to write over forty books, most of them non-fiction Holocaust literature, and novels. As an author, he was awarded a number of literary prizes and was considered among the most important in describing the Holocaust from a highly personal level. As a result, some historians credited Wiesel with giving the term “Holocaust” its present meaning, although he did not feel that the word adequately described that historical event. In 1975 he co-founded Moment Magazine with writer Leonard Fein to provide a voice for American Jews. From 1972 to 1976 Wiesel was a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York and member of the American Federation of Teachers. He held the position of Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Boston University since 1976, where he taught in both its religion and philosophy departments. The 1979 book and play The Trial of God are said to have been based on his real-life Auschwitz experience of witnessing three Jews who, close to death, conduct a trial against God, under the accusation that He has been oppressive of the Jewish people. In 1982 he served as the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University. Wiesel and his wife started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity in 1986. He served as chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust (later renamed the US Holocaust Memorial Council) from 1978 to 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism; the Norwegian Nobel Committee described Wiesel as “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.” He received many other prizes and honors for his work, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1996. From 1997 to 1999 he was Ingeborg Rennert Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies at Barnard College of Columbia University. As a political activist, he also advocated for many causes, including Israel, the plight of Soviet and Ethiopian Jews, the victims of apartheid in South Africa, Argentina’s Desaparecidos, Bosnian victims of genocide in the former Yugoslavia, Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians, and the Kurds. Wiesel published two volumes of memoirs. The first, All Rivers Run to the Sea, was published in 1994 and covered his life up to the year 1969. The second, titled And the Sea is Never Full and published in 1999, covered the years from 1969 to 1999. In 2003 he discovered and publicized the fact that at least 280,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews, along with other groups, were massacred in Romanian-run death camps. In early 2006 Wiesel accompanied Oprah Winfrey as she visited Auschwitz, a visit which was broadcast as part of The Oprah Winfrey Show. On November 30th, 2006, Wiesel received a knighthood in London in recognition of his work toward raising Holocaust education in the United Kingdom. In September 2006 he appeared before the UN Security Council with actor George Clooney to call attention to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Wiesel was attacked in a San Francisco hotel by 22-year-old Holocaust denier Eric Hunt in February 2007, but was not injured. Hunt was arrested the following month and charged with multiple offenses. Also in 2007 Wiesel was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s Lifetime Achievement Award. That same year, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity issued a letter condemning Armenian genocide denial, a letter that was signed by 53 Nobel laureates including Wiesel, who had repeatedly called Turkey’s 90-year-old campaign to downplay its actions during the Armenian genocide a double killing. In June 2009 Wiesel accompanied President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they toured Buchenwald. In July 2009 Wiesel announced his support to the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. In 2010 Wiesel accepted a five-year appointment as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. In that role, he made a one-week visit to Chapman annually to meet with students and offer his perspective on subjects ranging from Holocaust history to religion, languages, literature, law and music. Wiesel was active in trying to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, stating that “the words and actions of the leadership of Iran leave no doubt as to their intentions.” In February 2012 a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performed a posthumous baptism for Simon Wiesenthal’s parents without proper authorization. After his own name was submitted for proxy baptism, Wiesel spoke out against the unauthorized practice of posthumously baptizing Jews and asked presidential candidate and Latter-day Saint Mitt Romney to denounce it. Romney’s campaign declined to comment, directing such questions to church officials. He also condemned Hamas for the “use of children as human shields” during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict by running an ad in several large newspapers. The Times refused to run the advertisement, saying “the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers” (died 2016): “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.”

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