Monday, March 10, 2014

Thumb on Ya Forehead

My take on Ash Wednesday: people like the intimate, blunt touch of the priest's thumb against their foreheads, and being marked by the touch. It gets right to the fundamental wisdom of sacraments.

Of course it's not a sacrament. And as a symbol of repentance you could could mark your own forehead with a cross of ashes. But that would be skipping the bit where someone with Jesus' authority reminds you of your sinfulness and mortality; and you meekly accept that gentle chastisement. Without necessarily understanding the fullness of the ritual, I think that's the main reason so many non-Cats want to receive ashes.

Not Like Magua

For what ails ya

I heard this story at Mass this week:

The serpent said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden..." 4* But the serpent said to the woman, "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So..the woman...took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate...The LORD God said, "Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman...gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13* Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate." (That's 10 eats.)

A Whole Lotta Eating going on. And I was thinking how Adam & Eve weren't forbidden from looking at something, or holding something, or wearing something, or using something; but eating something. Which makes sense because what you eat becomes part of you, whether it's nutritious or poisonous. And sin is as much a part of me as say, the DNA I also inherited from my parents.

But here's another Whole Lotta Eating episode:

"Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever... The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56* He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58* This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." 
(That's also 10 eats. More than coincidence?)

Another nice OT-NT couplet. Humans freely ingest the poison of sin; but they can also freely ingest the antidote.
This is a concept the kids will grasp immediately. But John 6 doesn't show how. The how comes at the Last Supper. This year we've already covered Genesis and John 6.  So during tomorrow night's Last Supper class, I'll start with a quick backtrack to the eating in Genesis. Then when we get to "this is my body, this is my blood" we'll recall John 6 and eating the fruit, the kids will figure out how they combine to say something significant about Mass. Then in our Mass classes at the end of April, I expect I will be able to ask, "What does eating the fruit in Genesis have to do with Communion," and hear back something like, "Adam and Eve ate the bad food but now we eat the good food." In 6th grade that's an A.

Next year this idea will run from the first class to the last class: Genesis/ Passover/ John 6/ Last Supper/ Mass.

Audio based on the above content here.