breakfast

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Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
Because they realized it was the Lord.

It’s still Easter. Some events are so grand and so significant they stop time. Easter is one of those events. Time stops that we might ponder the resurrection and come to understand it. The gospel story is a Resurrection story, it is an accurate description of how the Apostles interacted with a risen LORD. It is a confession of their vision, but note the details. They do not describe that risen Lord as a painter or sculptor might. They do not give account of a vivid visual description. They do not describe His height or weight or eye color, or musculature or the apperance of wounds or abnormalities or infirmaries. They give testament to what they witnessed when they walked with Him. Their time on the boat, the storms at sea. Most important they describe the presence at the breaking of bread, at the end of a fast. That recognize and testify that Jesus the Christ was truly present and walked with them, and dined with them, and talked to them. Jesus the Christ did this after he was Crucified and died and was buried. That’s the definition of the resurrection. It’s the encounter of Jesus after he was crucified, and believe me the Apostles were crucified for their encounter with the risen LORD. That’s the definition of a martyr.

Hoshanah in the highest

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Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Hosanna is a plea for help: Save! Deliver! Rescue! Defend! Preserve!

Sometimes it is good to look back at Judaism when thinking about Christianity. Psalm Sunday commemorates Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The chant “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” The word Hosanna is important on this day. Hosanna is a plea for help: Save! Deliver! Rescue! Defend! Preserve! The day also involves processions, and the waving of branches of palm or willow. Willow is used often where palms do not grow. I think England calls this day Willow Sunday. There is a Jewish day that also involves the word Hosanna, and the waving of branches, and processions. It is the last day of Sukkot. As a side note Pope Benedict linked the Transfiguration to Sukkot , the similarity is illustrated with the proposed pitching of tents. The following (including links!) comes from a collection of Jewish websites explaining the origins and customs of the Jewish holy day  “Hoshanah Rabbah” Its a thought, not a commentary. I found the similarity between Hoshanah Rabbah and Palm Sunday curious. The investigation was quick with only a few similarities sketched out for my notes.

Hoshanah Rabbah,  the seventh day of Sukkot is a semi-holiday in its own right. Still counted among the days of Hol Hamoed (intermediate days of the festival), this day’s name means “the great hoshanah.” A hoshanah is a series of seven liturgical poems calling upon God to rescue and redeem the Jewish people, primarily by sending rain. Hoshanah Rabbah was viewed by the rabbis of the Talmud as a mini-Yom Kippur, a day on which the entire Jewish community is judged by God to be worthy or not of the seasonal rains. All seven hoshanot prayers are recited in seven hakkafot, or processions, around the sanctuary. At the conclusion of the seven processions, a special ritual is conducted in which the branches of the willow (the lulav ) are struck upon the ground. This is a symbolic attempt to rid ourselves of any remaining sins (the leaves representing these transgressions) that might influence God’s decision to send the seasonal rains.On the evening following Hoshanah Rabbah, the festival of Shemini Atzeret begins. While for many Jews, Hoshanah Rabbah is the last day one shakes the lulav and etrog and dwells in the sukkah , a number of traditional Jews continue to dwell in the sukkah through Shemini Atzeret.

The Lulav: a bundle of branches representing three species — willow, myrtle and palm — which are shaken together with the etrog on Sukkot.

 

 

Purple and Green

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One of the customs of Saint Lucy’s Day (shortly after Christmas) was to plant some wheat seeds. The plants will then be presented in procession at Easter, it’s not seen everywhere but it is a custom. The gospel today mentions a seed that is planted and dies, but then bears much fruit. It is the reminder of the Passion of Christ. Passiontide begins today, and this day is marked by the covering of the church’s statues. The Church begin its process of dying, so that the Light may be seen at Easter. The artist’s Christo and Jean-Claude use to wrap things, buildings and such. They were famous, I wonder if they have ever wrapped statuary during Passiontide in Church? I wonder if they found it inspirational.

Today’s vigil Mass occurred on a saints feast day, it was Saint Patrick’s Day. On this twilight there was an abundance of green in the pews. What a contrast with the congregation tinted green. Such a contrast against the Church and clergy’s violet. Violet is the color of the Lenten Season. The contrast of green and purple are so similar of another day, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Both Patrick’s day and Mardi Gras are days of great revelry. They are days of party and drink and music. Patrick’s day celebrates heritage more than a saint, Mardi Gras celebrates itself more than Lent. Funny how Patrick’s day could not be quieted to celebrate Passiontide. Patrick himself would have approached Passiontide with great sobriety and reverence. Fat Tuesday used to end with the strict fasting season that began on Ash Wednesday. It’s hard to pass on a good time. It’s hard to be that seed buried, to succumb to a death that promises life.

In pondering Passiontide, ponder a war. The war in Syria. Think of the death and destruction and greed and hatred and the pain and the horror that exists there today. Also think of when the last bomb falls and the last vulgarity spoken and the last bit of hatred spewed, when everything once worth possessing becomes worthless. One is this season, the other the beginning of the next. That is the great battle of this season, it is the great battle between God and Satan. It is no small event, but some miss that. There is a battle that occurs before the Cross, and Passiontide is a reminder of that battle. Palm Sunday is next Sunday, the parade is about to begin

the repairman

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If a doll maker were to restore one of his dolls no one would think it strange. If he were to repair the porcelain face or repaint it’s face, nothing would seem out of the ordinary. The same of a carpenter, if he were to repair something he crafted. Nothing strange in fixing a crack or resetting a joint. Nothing extraordinary in refinishing the finish. Christ mixed spittle and dirt, and smeared it on a blind mans eye so that he might see. The LORD repaired what the LORD had made. To repair is to restore and Jesus restored sight to the blind, the blind man of His creation. The hint is in the spit and the dirt that formed the mud: it is from mud or clay that we were originally formed. But we become damaged, worn with use? Damaged through neglect? Mistreated and not cared for? It doesn’t really matter. The creator cares for creation, the LORD restores. It’s not really complicated, but it irritates a lot of folks.

Timothy and Titus

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Timothy and Titus, early bishops whose feast we celebrate today. They are disciples and companion of Paul. Gentiles and Jewish-Gentile ethnicity. Some say wow! The right hand man of Paul, for certain they must have been important. But wait, stop and think. Paul as not revered in society, they tossed him into jail. If Paul was the criminal, they were much less. Outcasts and deviant the three of them, yet these two served Paul, in the name of the LORD. Fact from fiction, truth separated like fire tried gold. For those that pray the Liturgy of them Hours, Paul is celebrated as Apostle. The other two with the Common of Pastors. Peter the Popa , and the Church is served. Outcasts, prisoners, and warriors; they fought for the faith. Timothy and Titus did not gain respect from men, their celebration is because they taught the will of the LORD. Esteemed now, not then. One must look at them in their culture and not through the rose-colored glasses of today. They went against the grain, they challenged and provoked and served. Uncelebrated, downcast, persecuted, yet resolute. Think about the outcast and mumble the reading of today:

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

They were the seed that bore fruit, against all odds. Trampled and scattered, yet they still grew; and they did so against all odds. Let me correct myself, it was not they who grew. It was the message they spread, and scattered, and nurtured. It took hold, that word of God. For they were simple servants, let’s celebrate them. Today.