Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mystery Day

  
      A tradition has it that today is Mystery Day.  

     Otherwise I can see no possible reason for hiding chocolate eggs around the place and sending the young and their parents off to quarrel at a chance to find the most eggs and maybe end their Mystery Day with a visit to a magistrate. And Mystery Day is well named, because in the next few hours, some years ago, the Son of God, rises from the dead.  He then hangs around for forty days so he might say goodbye to those who loved him, share a few opinions, and then he's off into the sunset, and is never heard from again, except in the whispers of the fearful, and maybe in the wishes of the self important. 

    If a person believes the tomb was empty, it's entrance undisturbed, he can call himself a Christian. And certainly those who call themselves Christian must grasp the Paschal Mystery, or at least make some attempt to challenge it, and by so doing define their faith and better understand what it is they claim.  But mostly, it is an answer to the question what happens to me when I am alone, because my body has failed.  Where do I go, and why do I go there, and wouldn't it be nice if I never saw my next door neighbor again.
  
     "You don't necessarily have to wear the hat in church, or wave the bloody flag, you just have to be there."  The Protestant understanding is a more empirical understanding, I'd like to think. Words reflect, they do not actually exist and are not real, but spelling and grammar and theory and routine, are like whips. Or else it's anarchy and we all go to hell. Which is why I hope God too thinks Protestants are graceless, plodding and very proud to be dull. 

     So whose fault was it.  And oddly, while debating with Saint Augustine, it was a fourth century Briton claimed that a person was free to obey or disobey and therefore able to make his own laws.  But Augustine, who was from a North African port town called Hippo, stuck to his book. "We are all sinners," he assured, and he pointed to the antics of teenagers back when it was Eden here on earth. "Pater Noster," Augustine added with that passion of the born again. "Que es in caelis."  The Lord's Prayer.

    More recently, bureaucratic wrangling has been blamed. I read a claim somewhere, probably in the literature of the maladjusted, that Pontius Pilate had a political ambition that included the overthrow of the Emperor Tiberius, and to satisfy that ambition he had to control the unruly Province of Judea, which meant Gentle Jesus had to go, along with two thieves.  One of whom was penitent.  The other not so.

    And what an incredible day this must be for the faithful.


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