Yesterday morning we went to mass at the uber-liberal ghetto Catholic church that we've decided to attend. (See previous posts on the decision about school/church choice).
I grew up Catholic, so there is something familiar, comforting even, about the ritual of it all.
At the start of lent, BioMom told me that one Sunday was the last sunday we could use the "A" word before Easter.
I love that shit!
And BioMom sings in this groovy Easter vigil where the church is lit completely with candles and everyone packs into the little place.
But yesterday I was not so inspired.
The priest (obviously gay) was discussing the story of Jesus' friend Lazarus. I literally have forgotten everything I learned on those Wednesday night CCD classes. In retrospect, as I spent my time thumbing through what I perceived as the poor, repressed catholic school girl-who-had-to-wear-the-same-ugly-dress-to-school-every- day's desk, my parents had a handy sitter during which they could go out for a little drinky-poo without paying a fee!
Anyway, I'm listening to this story* thinking What the hell? I DON'T BELIEVE A WORD OF THIS!!! Am I SUPPOSED to believe this? Or is this a story to get me to think about something else? What is the purpose of this? Is this worth my time? Am I here just for BioMom and the FYO? What good does this do the FYO anyway?
And on and on.
The FYO was busy playing with some cool magnet dress-up dolls she got for her birthday and munching on a cheeze stick when out of nowhere she whispers:
So, if I believe then I won't die?
Is it true? Is it true, Mom?
Oh, God. I think. Is this all going to turn her into a THUMPER??? How do I explain THIS? Death. Afterlife. Reincarnation. Heaven. Shit. Shit. Look away. Pretend you didn't hear. Shit.
BioMom responds. Um. Well. Yes. But. . .
Being a defense attorney, BioMom is an expert at only answering the question that has been asked. No more. No less.
As an aside, you can imagine, being *married* to someone like this has its pros and cons. We sometimes divide hairs over legal versus ethical lines. Is a lie of omission really a lie? Is it ethical to send the FYO to school knowing that she had a fever a mere 8 hours ago, but seems fine now because both of us have to be at a meeting in 10 minutes? Was it really o.k. that you bargained down the number of miles over the speed-limit that you were going with the judge because 9 miles over won't increase your insurance premium whereas 11 miles over would?
BioMom thinks: How do I explain that Great Grandma and Great Grandpa died?
But the FYO went on playing.
Lazarus (Gk. Lazaros, a contraction of Eleazaros--see II Mach., vi, 18--meaning in Hebrew "God hath helped"), the name of two persons in the N.T.; a character in one of Christ's parables, and the brother of Martha and Mary of Bethania.
I. LAZARUS OF THE PARABLE
(1) The Story
The dramatic story of the rich man and the beggar (only in Luke, xvi, 19-31) is set forth by Christ in two striking scenes:
* Their Condition Here: The rich man was clothed in purple and byssus (D.V. fine linen), and spent each day in gay carousing. The beggar had been cast helpless at the rich man's gate, and lay there all covered with sores; he yearned for the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, but received none, and was left to the dogs.
* Their Condition Hereafter: The early banquet is over; the heavenly banquet is begun. Lazarus partakes of the banquet in a place of honour (cf. John, xiii, 23). He reclines his head on Abraham's bosom. The rich man is now the outcast. He yearns for a drop of water. Lazarus is not allowed to leave the heavenly banquet and tend to the outcast.
(2) The Meaning
Catholic exegetes now commonly accept the story as a parable. It is also legendary that the sores of Lazarus were leprous. The purpose of the parable is to teach us the evil result of the unwise neglect of one's opportunities. Lazarus was rewarded, not because he was poor, but for his virtuous acceptance of poverty; the rich man was punished, not because he was rich, but for vicious neglect of the opportunities given him by his wealth.
II. LAZARUS OF THE MIRACLE
This personage was the brother of Martha and Mary of Bethania; all three were beloved friends of Jesus (John, xi, 5). At the request of the two sisters Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John, xi, 41-44). Soon thereafter, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, Lazarus took part in the banquet which Simon the Leper gave to Jesus in Bethania (Matt., xxvi, 6-16; Mark, xiv, 3-11; John, xii, 1-11). Many of the Jews believed in Jesus because of Lazarus, whom the chief priests now sought to put to death. The Gospels tell us no more of Lazarus (see ST. LAZARUS OF BETHANY).