I finished my high school at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Most would say that a person’s happiest years – some of those were spent during high school. It was also true in my case. For me, High School was not so much about learning, but more of an exciting part of a young person’s formative years. I was never a serious academic student then, but was instead more leaning on the extracurricular activities that high school offered. High School afforded me great opportunities to build lasting friendships and relationships, which I took full advantage.
As a Catholic School, UST HS has in its curriculum religion subjects, this apart from the weekly Bible Studies that students have to attend as well as the weekly hearing of masses. We students have our hands full of religious activities during the month of October, which is the Rosary Month, and the time when the procession of La Naval is held.
I remember our religion classes tackling everything about Catholicism such as Seven Holy Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation and so on), heaven and hell, The Holy Trinity, The Blessed Virgin Mary, The Holy Spirit (notice the “Holy” word is quite frequently used), Jesus Christ, the angels, the devils, Satan. And oh, heaven and hell wouldn’t be without Purgatory.
I wrote on this topic because I was really wondering on whether we also discussed even if broadly about Judaism and Israel. Did we? Because we are Catholics - and Judaism is whole different religion.
But if I were to think now about anything that I might have learned about them in High School, the term Israelites first comes into my mind, and how as a people they were forced to go to exile. And that they were led by Moses away from the hardship in Egypt.
I also knew from our Bible lessons that Jacob was given the new name of Israel. I also remember about the 12 tribes of Israel. Which were actually the 12 sons of Jacob, the most popular (I think, as they are the ones I can remember for now) of which were Joseph and Benjamin.
Another is that Jesus Christ was often referred to as the King of the Jews. I thought then that the Jews must be so very special – they have Jesus only for themselves. And who would think otherwise, with all the miracles and blessings as well as the protection God provided them from the plagues and in their exodus from Egypt – the Israelites are indeed the Chosen Ones.
Come to think of it, Moses is a Jew, right? And so is Jesus (He is King of the Jews, so definitely He is one). And the apostles and disciples, they are Jews too.
So indeed, in all the religion subjects of my four years in High School, we did discuss so much about the Jews albeit not really delve into the Jewish religion. We have to learn about them because, they were there – I mean the Biblical characters are Jews. (Which leads me to another question – were there already Catholics during the time of Jesus?)