The orbits of these two greatest feasts, Holy Week and Passover, for my Jewish/Catholic family are celebrated far apart or right on top of each other. This year, Passover began within Holy Week. The drama of the mighty deeds that God did for our ancestors with outstretched arm was not lost on us. Overlaid upon it was the unveiling of our Uncle Al’s tombstone and the continued litany of death anniversaries for those who had passed in 2016.
[Tweet "The measure of our mortal limit is the unit by which God transcends. @TribePlatypus"]
Everyday objects are mixed with seasonal, less-familiar objects. Wine, unleavened bread, karpas, maror, and charoset are blessed and shared. We also share our story from slavery to redemption. It’s an Emmaus-like meal recounting all that has happened. We are still amazed by God’s strange actions in our lives. Not just for our ancestors, but for us today!
I have a number of friends on social platforms. As a moderate user on Twitter, I don’t get a lot of traffic. During this season, I received daily notifications that said one basic thing: Your friend(s) liked @Pontifex’s tweet!
Why wouldn’t my friends like @Pontifex? He’s emerged as a vibrant and compassionate church leader. Only the stalwarts on one side or the impatient agitators on the other could possibly find cause to grumble.
But no one ever quoted what Pope Francis actually said. Even though I follow @Pontifex, the notification never displayed the tweet in my feed. So my overall impression, in the meme of FB, was just to log a mental “thumbs up” and go on with my day.
Finally, heading into Holy Week preparations I had a chance to read one of his tweets. He wrote: [This] is a period of repentance aimed at enabling ourselves to rise with Christ, to renew our baptismal identity.
I thought of the journey of the Elect to font and altar. They profess their faith and we renew our baptismal promises becoming members of Christ’s body. I often imaged this like John the Evangelist: we beneath the Cross baptized with the blood and water flowing from his pierced side. I never thought of the simplicity of THESE Elect of THIS faith community literally rising with Christ in our Profession and Renewal of our Baptismal Identity.
What else could I do...I liked his tweet! And commented, “Ok, I liked it too. #anamnesis.”
Memory and Life
To live is to remember. To remember is to live well. We are at a time where “Always remember,” “Never Again” and “Never Forget” are being subsumed by false narratives of “Never knew,” “Didn’t learn,” “Wasn’t Taught,” “Refuse to believe” . . . or perhaps “Just don’t care.”
We believers are familiar with the antagonism our religious faith attracts in a secular world. But even science is scrutinized by those who want to deny its inconvenient truths. We find ourselves going down roads we’ve already been with short-term goals that do not bring us to new life and good news.
Our uneven weather produced flowers in winter frozen by late snow or withered by sudden heat. Cherry blossoms bloomed early or late. But gardeners and landscapers are out now. Earth is turned over and school children are itching to go outside.
We are activists at heart. We clamor for the life well lived like divers rising to the surface for breath. This is the time to take it all in. Seek the light. Grow strong roots. Nurture life in others.
There are lessons and stories to be handed on. The familiar and unfamiliar need to break through in prayers and blessings. We continue to need God’s surprises and companionship.
O Lord, we come to see you when you remind us
In the simplest things that we partake
And the blessings we share.
How can you share your Emmaus Monday story so that others become breathless activist with the urge to share strange, life-giving news?
Copyright 2017 Jay Cuasay
About the Author
Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations, and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. Jay ministered to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish for 13 years. He can be reached at TribePlatypus.com.