Friday, May 3, 2013

The Friday called Good

As the day winds down, I look back on a very satisfactory day. My room is sparkling clean and ready for the Resurrection. The windows and drapes are washed, the room re-arranged, the rugs lifted up, and the floors are shiny. All the winter dust is gone.

The Good Friday service was very fine. I was able to pray during the service. It also helped to have two priests who could participate in the duties so that I am able to do the principal functions of a presider. I liked that dignity and reverence was brought to the service and that we did not feel rushed.

Last night, during the process to transfer the Blessed Sacrament, I was reminiscing on my studies of Catholic Medieval history when the concept of Transubstantiation was posited by Thomas Aquinas. Corpus Christi became a huge feast with a lengthy civic procession past banks, government offices, farms and fields, and homes for the influential. The Sacrament was raised and to bless the buildings and lands with the sign of the Cross. Christians reached out to touch the Sacrament and to be blessed by it - almost superstitiously. Many parishioners last night also reached out to touch the ciboria, which even the priest guards against touching, or to be blessed by its powerful presence. It shows that with the passage of centuries, we simply remain the same people.

The Arabic custom of having a coffin with the corpus of Jesus is an unusual one to me, but they really like it. It is as if the people are waking Jesus. I'm sure this depiction of the dead Jesus is helpful to many. As I see these customs, I begin to see what feeds people.

The real treat for the day was walking the streets of Jebel Hussein. I still can't communicate with people well, but I do try to engage as best I can. An elderly man was walking down the street with a cane behind his back and I told him it works better if his cane touches the ground. He wailed about the great pain in his back. I'm sure he hasn't enough money to see the chiropractor or a back specialist to ease his pain.

I saw a few older couples out for strolls where the husband and wife looked lovingly at each other and shared soft conversations. I passed by my barber as well. He is always chatty and I have no idea what he is saying. I speak through sign language and he continues to smile and laugh and chatter on. Teenage boys come up to me and say something in English. When I engage with them, their eyes light up. Life goes on here just as in any inner city. People seemed peaceful today because it is the weekend and they celebrated Labor Day yesterday. Therefore, they had time to relax. (We'll pay for it again in a few days when we want mail service. It takes a while for them to get back to normal levels of productivity.) However, it is nice to see people take their leisure and stay out of their cars.

Now, I have to plan for tomorrow night's liturgy. We have choir rehearsal today, but I still have to put together the program and color eggs for the coloring event for kids from 1 to 92. It is a peaceful day.


  1. I'm so glad that Holy Week has been going well for you. Now you can celebrate the Easter Vigil which will, no doubt, bring some new traditions for you. It is wonderful to see how others celebrate and to learn from them. Blessings.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. Yes, the vigil will be meaningful for me and for the people who are coming into the church. New adventures await.