It’s almost Easter and I thought I should acknowledge that somehow. I don’t go to Mass anymore, since 13 years of Catholic school pretty much gave me more than enough cumulative hours for the rest of my life. I consistently cook and eat brisket and matzo balls with Jewish people, so that seems like a jaunt away from Jesus territory as well (even though I think he was considered a Jew…but later converted? I’m not sure how that works).
So yesterday, Good Thursday if I’m not mistaken, was the day that I was sure they had gone ahead and crucified Jesus. But on the phone, my mom tells me, “No, that was Holy Friday.”(OKAY...I WAS mistaken. I had those reversed. It was SUPPOSED to be Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I'll fix it in the rest of the post.)
“So,” I asked, “Is
Holy Good Friday the day when we had to go to
church and reenact all the stations of the cross and then listen to some
horrible, bloody retelling of Jesus’ awful, humiliating death?”
She said yes, but I was confused.
“But on the third day he rose again?”
“Yes. On Sunday.”
“But Friday to Sunday is only two days.”
“Well he died around 3 p.m. on Friday, I know that. We're supposed to be quiet and mournful at that time.”
“But that makes it even less than 2 days. Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is more like 36 hours. That’s a day-and-a-half.” I wasn’t trying to be belligerent. The information was not computing.
“Well, Friday is the first day and then Saturday is the second day, and so on,” my Mom sounded like she was caught between laughing off the conversation and screaming into a pillow. “I don’t know why you’re asking me this. You went to Catholic school.”
“I just think that maybe they measured time differently in olden times. Like maybe a day was only 12 hours back then? And it got written into the Bible that way and no one ever bothered to fix it? Of course, I guess if he’d stayed dead for too long, people would’ve lost interest and no one would be around when he came back?”
“Lacey, I can’t talk to you about this anymore. Would you be interested in talking to your dad?”
Dad got on the phone.
“On the third day, Jesus came out and saw his shadow,” Dad began the conversation.
“And then we had 1,980 more years of Easter?”
“But seriously, what’s with this three days thing? It just doesn’t ADD UP.”
“The Bible doesn’t say, ‘Then, three days later, Jesus rose from the dead.’ It says ‘On the third day,’ so you have to start Friday as day one.”
My brain was hurting a little by this point, but it didn’t change the fact that the Catholics had somehow duped me yet again. Somewhere in there, all those years ago and for so very long, they managed to have me at Mass three times in one week.
I let the issue go for the moment—my Dad had had a long day.
Here’s the thing: Christians, but Catholics really because most other Christians aren’t self-loathing masochists, can really find a way to ruin a good time. Mass itself is such a workout: sit, kneel, stand, kneel, stand, sit, stand, shake, kneel, kneel, kneel, kneel. Christmas is great because of presents and Santa and Christmas break. But Easter, the one that’s supposed to be the MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF ALL TIME, is so awful. You’ve got Mass on Thursday, which my mother tells me is NOT the day Jesus died, but the day he was SENTENCED to die. Then you’ve got Mass on Friday, where they go into extreme detail about just how awful his death was. You get Saturday off to rest up and then you’ve got to go back on Sunday, and now the Church is full of beautiful flowers, but sadly, Mass is an additional half-hour long. And let’s face it: the Easter Bunny is a weak tradition that gets dropped pretty quickly after you’ve turned 8 or 9. And, to top it all off, unless Easter happens to fall during Spring Break or you happen to go to Catholic school, you don’t get any time off. The Jews planned it right: all of their high holidays last a week or more and you get all kinds of time off from school.
Where was I going with all this? I seriously don’t know. Oh yeah: so right now, in the height of the Passion and the horrendousness of the days leading up to the wonderful holiday that is Easter, the Supreme Court is doing some serious thinking about Gay Marriage Rights and whether or not to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act and so on. It seems like a great time to bust out the old: "what would Jesus do?" question. I’m told this guy was pretty nice and open-minded and a bit of a loving, free spirit type. Like, if you went to college with Jesus, he's be that guy that was always barefoot under a tree on the quad playing the three guitar chords he knows over and over and showing up at "Take Back the Night" rallies. When I try to wax political or religious I always come off sounding like a bona fide moron, so I’m not trying to do either. Alls I’m saying is: I think Jesus would be all about gay marriage.
|My picture for Easter.|
*Jimmy Carter. Wow, I never thought I'd be quoting him, but stranger things have happened. Of course, the quote would be nicer if he hadn't tacked on the little qualifier at the end.