Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Ode to a Popover
The readings at Mass today reminded me of popovers. The Queen of Sheba travels north because she has heard of this King named Solomon who is wise unlike anyone before him. She brings with her loads of treasure, because even then there was "no such thing as a free lunch", and she expected to have to pay to have this wisdom all to herself. When she gets there, she's impressed by the palace, the servants, the food, the tableware, even what the waiters wore. But more than what she saw externally, was Solomon's wisdom. "King Solomon explained everything she asked about, and there remained nothing hidden from him that he could not explain to her." Like a popover, what came from inside Solomon was more impressive than all the bling outside.
Jesus in the Gospel today tells the people not to worry so much things of the outside world being "bad". We shouldn't underestimate what he said today; it would have left Jews who heard it drop their jaws in disbelief. "Whoa, no more bad foods? The Maccabees died for these laws of clean and unclean animals; you're saying they don't matter?" He changed it all: now uncleanliness is not about what goes into the body but what comes from a man's heart. Again, the popover.
Ash Wednesday is coming. A day when every Catholic comes out of the woodwork to make sure they have a ash-drawn cross on their forehead. But what's on the inside? How will they spend Lent? As the "People of God" or just as "Popovers of God"?