Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lent, 2011: Baptism; Gospel Readings; a List, and a Movie

We're at the 'hump' of Holy Week: Wednesday.

Tomorrow is "Maundy Thursday," which has nothing to do with pretending that Monday falls on Thursday this week. I like the Church's ancient traditions and language - I also think it's a good idea to call tomorrow "Holy Thursday." It's my considered opinion that being incomprehensible is not next to holiness - and that's another topic.

Like what "invention" means. Another topic again.

I've done a little better this Lenten season than most, in terms of following through on what I intended to do. No bragging - more like an expression of relief. Taking a book of readings with me to the lavatory, as some fellows do with the sports section, worked: As of today, I've been (on average) keeping up. ("I Read It Where?!" (March 24, 2011))

My family and I will be eating in about 40 minutes - assuming today's schedule goes normally. I'd like to be wrapping up a brilliantly-written, insightful, profound, witty monograph on something spectacularly spiritual. What I'd have settled for was something coherent on a topic that was recognizably 'Lenten.'

What I've actually got is this post.

Excuses, Excuses

I could blame the weather: Today started out gray with light snow, and was gray with light drizzle when I drove to Melrose, some 10 miles down the road, to pick up medications.1 My mood was a pretty close match with the weather - this hasn't been my perkiest day ever.

I could blame a secularized society.

I could even blame the Mr. Ed theme song. (Which I cited in another blog today: "Lemming Tracks: Soap Operas and the End of Civilization As We Know It," Apathetic Lemming of the North (April 20, 2011)) That would be silly, though. At least I think so.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that I haven't thought of an exciting topic for today's post. Why that's the case might be interesting, from a psychological or metaphysical point of view. But the answer probably has little practical use just now.

20 Minutes Later - and I Still Have Nothing

I'd hoped that rambling on like this might flush an idea out of the labyrinthine corridors and crawlways of my mind. So far, that hasn't happened - and probably won't. Not in a reasonable length of time, anyway.

The weather, by the way, has cleared up: there's a wonderfully blue sky, bright sunlight, and temperatures above freezing.

Earlier this afternoon, realizing that I had about a metric ton of creative block to deal with, I started a sort of task that's helped me before at times like this.

I researched.

Lent 2011, Gospel Readings, Baptism, and All That

A quick look at the English-language section of the Holy See's website brought me to "Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2011," Pope Benedict XVI (November 4, 2010).

News coverage of the upcoming British royal wedding is probably a quicker, easier read than what the Pope wrote last November - but I think you might get more out of that Lenten message.

I hope I remember to go back to "Message ... for Lent 2011," because I definitely didn't 'get' all of what the Pope was saying.

I did, however, gather that Baptism and Lent are connected:
"...In his Letters, St. Paul repeatedly insists on the singular communion with the Son of God that this washing brings about. The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives 'the mind of Christ Jesus' (Phil 2: 5), is given to men and women freely...."
("Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2011," Pope Benedict XVI (November 4, 2010))
The Holy Father also discussed the Gospel readings during this Lenten season.

That gave me an idea. Or a council of desperation. I decided to make a list of the Gospel readings for the Sundays of Lent, and the ones coming up in the Holy Thursday-Easter Sunday sequence.

Looking at the result, with the first few lines of each Gospel reading, I see the makings of a sort of epic drama. In a way, it's the greatest story ever told. Someone could make a movie out of that. Come to think of it, someone did.2
  • First Sunday (March 13, 2011)
    • Matthew 4:1-11
      "At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil...."
  • Second Sunday (March 20, 2011)
    • Matthew 17:1-9
      "After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves...."
  • Third Sunday (March 27, 2011)
    • John 4:5-42
      "So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,4 near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph...."
  • Fourth Sunday (April 3, 2011)
    • John 9:1-41
      "1 As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'..."
  • Fifth Sunday (April 10, 2011)
    • John 11:1-45
      "1 Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha...."
  • Palm Sunday (April 17, 2011)
    • Matthew 26:14-27:66
      "Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, 7 went to the chief priests..."
  • Holy Thursday | Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper (April 21, 2011)
    • John 13:1-15
      "1 2 3 Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end...."
  • Good Friday of the Lord's Passion (April 22, 2011)
    • John 18:1-19:42
      "1 2 When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered...."
  • The Resurrection of the Lord | Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter (April 23, 2011)
    • Matthew 28:1-10
      "1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, 2 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb...."
  • Easter Sunday: Solemnity of the Resurrection of The Lord | The Mass of Easter Day (April 24, 2011)
    • John 20:1-9
      "1 2 3 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb...."
    • Or Matthew 28:1-10 (same as Saturday's Gospel)
    • Or (at an afternoon Mass)
      Luke 24:13-25
      "5 6 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred...."
Not-completely-unrelated posts:

1 Besides major depression, I'm also dealing with ADHD-inattentive. Or maybe Asperger's syndrome. Both (all?) of which are controlled - finally - with prescribed medicines.

Which is fine, as far as Catholic teaching goes. (I checked (March 4, 2010))
2 The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

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I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.