We celebrated Easter on April 2nd. as per the Western Calendar (Orthodox and Eastern Christians will be celebrating first week of May). It was, of course, another Virus celebration and unlike the usual way we used to celebrate when joyful friends and family filled the house. Nevertheless, I recalled an Easter some twenty years ago when my grandson was about five years of age. My daughter wanted her son to attend a church service, so we all went as a family. The sermon was all about Jesus’ Life and the events that led up to his Crucifixion. It also mentioned his Baptism and how that ritual cleanses us of our Original Sin. After we came back home, and as my daughter and I were preparing for our Easter meal, we heard the water running in the upstairs bathroom. It was surprising, because only my grandson was up there. What was he doing? We ran upstairs only to find him having taken off all his clothes, sitting in the bathtub and pouring water over his head and body.
“What are you doing?”
“I am baptizing myself so that I’ll become as good as Jesus.”
My daughter and I suppressed our laughter, told him that he was a good boy, that Jesus loved him and that we loved him. With that, his mother helped to dry him off and get him into his clothes and we proceeded to enjoy our Easter meal. It was a hilarious moment, but also a beautifully innocent moment of a child’s interpretation of Baptism.
I also recalled another Easter about nine years ago when my husband was getting more frail as dialysis and his other health issues weighed on his body. Over the preceding few years he had become more religious than he had ever been and had expressed a desire – which we fulfilled – to go to Church, Confess and take Holy Communion. Studies show that many people become more religious with age. Is it fear of what awaits us in the afterlife? Is it a sense of awe at a Power up there who orchestrated life as we know it? I have no idea! In any case, and being that it was getting close to Easter, I took my husband to Church. The Priest, seeing that he was painfully trudging along with his walker, suggested taking his confession in the office, which was close to the entrance, as the distance to the Confessional, as well as kneeling would have been next to impossible in my husband’s case. I waited outside until they came out. We then attended Mass and left.
“How thoughtful of the Father for taking your confession in his office,” I said.
“Son of a bitch,” responds my husband angrily. “Do you know what he asked me?”
“He asked me if I (a very personal sexual question that I am even embarrassed to write down!)”
I was stunned, shocked that a Priest would ask such an explicitly lewd sexual question from an old and sick man!
“Are you sure?”
Fuming, he almost shouted: “Yes! Of course, I’m sure!” He was obviously so perturbed and disappointed!
In a sense, I wanted to laugh, to snicker, to opine of what I thought of Organized Religion and all who wear “the cloth,” so to speak. I wanted to rant and rave that irrelevant of what religion, or what sect anyone follows there are corrupt leaders within all these religious institutions, pedophiles, lewd abusers, thieves, liars and ego maniacal figures, etc. etc. who prey upon the fears, vulnerabilities and piety of people. And, especially these days, during this time of Easter, and as I look around the world and see extremists from every religion; discrimination; vile racist rhetoric; uprooting, killing and hatred against anyone who is “Not Like Us” and the wicked divisiveness all around, I cringe with revulsion and horror. I confirm to myself that the unholy alliance that has always existed between Politics and Religion has now become a more dangerous mix, especially when we add television, radio, print and social media to that concoction. We can pretend not to see, or to downplay, or to dismiss all this fascistic behavior and words as “fringe.” However, they are real, tangible and becoming more treacherous every day and in quite a few places across our miserable world. So disgusting! So irreligious! So uncivilized! But, here I am, preaching to the choir, because the “extremists” from whatever religion, sect, ethnicity, nationality or other, would not read anything even remotely like my posts, or listen to any reasonable voices. Frightful!
Anyway, these past two weeks have been “newsy,” to say the least. Of course, our mainstream media, and as usual, highlighted the trivial and underplayed the important. No surprise, is it? However:
Headline News: Trouble in the Jordanian Kingdom!
We, the people, do not know what was really going on in Jordan during that first week of April. We may find out, or we might never do so as we continue to wonder whether it was Palace Intrigues that rattled the Kingdom and the airwaves? Sibling Rivalry? A “Cherchez La Femme” scenario, where the modern, trendy royal wives – one a Queen, the other, who has dubious connections, feeling jilted out of the title? Or, is it their Royal Mothers stirring the pot? Or, is it plots, conspiracies and geo-political issues that have caused this stir? Whatever the story, I believe that it was a perfect moment for another Oprah scoop where she could interview the concerned characters, open her eyes wide and form her mouth into that artificial “O” as she unveils another salacious, gossipy factoid a la the Meghan and Harry interview that was played nauseatingly over and over and over again by television, radio and print press reporters dumbing down the viewers even more than they normally do in order to distract us from the ominous background of a world that is Falling Apart? My, oh my!
In any case, I was not the only bright star who thought of the Oprah connection. While scrolling on Facebook I saw a post that had a simulated, photo-shopped picture of Oprah and Hamzah, the Royal Prince, talking in that same garden where the Meghan/Harry interview happened, with the Prince saying: “And they even confiscated my TikTok account” as Oprah forms her mouth into that aghast “O!” Exquisitely Hilarious!
All this as the world is having a serious meltdown, a nervous breakdown whereby there is an “Active Shooter,” “Serious Incident,” “Unwarranted Police Shootings,” or Citizen Protests and Upheavals every single day, somewhere or the other and for one reason or another. Is it all The Virus and “Pandemic Fatigue?” Is it Incompetent Leadership? Is it our damn Ignorance as Humanity? Or, is it that people have had enough of lies, corruption and injustice from a political class that can adjust the laws willy-nilly to serve their purposes and to turn the clock back to the Middle Ages, such as what the Republican Party is aiming to do in the US, as well as occurring in other places across our world? Disconcerting! Foreboding! Extremely dangerous as the voices of the billions of good people are being outweighed by the wicked!