Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday: Technology, Symbols, Frond Folding, and My Family

It's Palm Sunday, when the parish church sprouts palm fronds.


Palm Sunday, Our Lady of Angels church. April 1, 2012.

They're imported, of course. You'll find palms in places like Florida, Louisiana, or the Bahamas: central Minnesota, not so much.

Folks in this area fold palm fronds into the shape of a cross while they're still green and pliable, then put them somewhere in the home where they'll be visible. We return them to the parish church as the next Lent approaches, where they're burned to make ashes for Ash Wednesday.

Actually, that's what we're supposed to do. I see that I missed the one hung near my desk. Writhing in guilt and anguish over that procedural lacuna would, I suppose, be an option. Instead, I plan to make a point of including the one I missed in next year's batch.


March 6, 2011.

Lanyards and a Video

My family folds our palm fronds a little differently. The sequence of folds is a technique used by cowboys to make lanyards. We use it because my father-in-law worked as a cowboy, and that's another topic. This video shows how we do it.

"Making a Cross from Four Palm Fronds"

Brian Gill, YouTube (April 1, 2012)
video, 4:27

St. Andrew's Cross, Palm Fronds, and Being Catholic

I enjoy remembering where we learned this technique. I also like the way it produces something like a St. Andrew's Cross. That's the saltire which showed up in Scotland's history about a thousand years after St. Andrew was executed on an X-shaped cross. Scotland's national flag is only about four centuries old, and that's yet another topic.

The video I embedded in this post doesn't show the 'right' way to fold palm fronds: it's the way my family makes our palm crosses.

There's a solid core of Catholic beliefs, and two millennia of accumulated customs from around the world. Catholics living in one place, like Sauk Centre, Minnesota, tend have similar habits - like our palm crosses, and a Lenten chaplet we learned about a few years ago.

But there isn't so much a global 'Catholic culture,' as a way to be Catholic in every culture: and for every individual.

I didn't decide to become a Catholic because here are about a billion ways to be Catholic, though: and that's another topic, too. (December 9, 2012)

Folding palm fronds can be fun, but the parish church doesn't provide take-home pieces of palms to encourage arts and crafts activities. We're remembering what happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem and got a royal welcome. (Mark 21:1-9 and John 12:12-15)

Technology and Symbols

Technology and cultures changed quite a bit over the last two thousand years. These days, we have to be reminded of what it means when a leader makes his entrance on a colt:
"...The animal chosen indicates that it was not a triumphal entry, but that of a king meek and humble of heart...."
(John Paul II (March, 23 1997)
These days, in America, I suppose a fairly close equivalent would be showing up in an airport limo: special, but not all that much.

Then there's what we read in Revelation 19:11:
"7 Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was (called) 'Faithful and True.' He judges and wages war in righteousness."
(Revelation 19:11)
The way I've described it to my kids is 'when Jesus came the first time, he was in a limo: next time, he'll be riding a tank.' There's more about the colt colt in John 12 and the warhorse in Revelation 19 in footnote 7 to John 12:15 and footnote 7 to Revelation 19:11.

I'm a Catholic, so I take Judgment Day very seriously, by the way. That's not even close to getting scared silly over the latest 'End Times Bible Prophecy,' and that's yet again another topic. Topics. (June 14, 2011; May 20, 2011)

Betrayal, Execution, and a Rock-Hewn Tomb

Luke 22:14 through 23:56 aren't particularly cheerful reading. Jesus is betrayed; Peter denies any involvement with the other apostles; my Lord is tortured, dies, and put in a new tomb. There wasn't even time for the usual preparation of the body. (Luke 23:55-56)

To this day, some folks don't believe what Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, found when they returned to the tomb. Or, more to the point, what they didn't find. (Luke 24)

It apparently took several meetings and a working lunch with my Lord to convince the surviving 11 that Jesus had stopped being dead, and that's - what else? - another topic. (March 11, 2012)


Palm fronds at Our Lady of Angels church. April 1, 2012.

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