Friday, April 2, 2010

Got Jesus?

Of course I’m craving a hamburger on Good Friday.

Too bad! I can NOT have a large, juicy, mouth-watering piece of meat today because my Catholic background states that Jesus was buried today, and we followers must sacrifice.

Personally, I don’t think Jesus would have a problem with me eating a burger. (He’d probably also give me permission to wear white pants all year round, and not wait until the day he rises from the dead, but, hey, I didn’t make up these rules.)

I went to an all-girls Catholic High School in New Orleans, and every Friday during Lent they only served fish sticks and cheese pizza in the cafeteria, no ifs, ands or buts.
The lunch ladies didn’t care if you were Jewish or an atheist — no meat, end of story.

We had to go to mass during school once a month (twice during Easter!!), and we had to wear these horrible wool blazers.
The priest at our school had a speech impediment and had to talk in a sing-song voice or else he would stutter.

The only reason we knew about his stutter/sing-song problem is that Joy, my twin sister, laughed aloud at his musical range on our first day of school and got into trouble.

Joy figured there was a time and place for singing in church, and it wasn’t during the greeting and homily.
She tried to muffle her laughs into the large shoulder pads of her blazer and pretend she was coughing, but a school official spotted her and snatched her from the “pew” (gym bleachers).

Father has a speech impediment and it’s not funny!” the large lady who worked in the sanctuary told her. That lady was always lurking around campus looking for troublemakers.
“Oh, I didn’t know he had a speech problem,” Joy said. It was the first day of school.
“How would you feel if someone made fun of you when you were trying to talk to a large crowd?” she scolded.

Joy wanted to ask why he was talking to a large crowd if he had a speech impediment, and still maintains that our friend, Nicole, was the one who started the giggling.
No matter, she still got a detention for it.

We took four years of religion in high school and some classes were taught by a nun with a funny accent.
It was especially entertaining when the nun was chosen to teach human sexuality class.
I wasn’t sure she knew anything about human sexuality, proven by her opening lecture: “I am married to Jesus!” she proclaimed, showing off the gold band on her ring finger.

"Where's the diamond?" someone asked aloud. Everyone laughed.

One year, we took a Bible study class. We had to pick a verse from the Bible we were particularly “moved” by and read it aloud to the class along with a journal entry reflecting on the message.
We also had to play a song from a CD that went along with the passage’s “theme.”

I got a “B” grade for my pairing of a Bible verse about how “God will provide” with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”
I protested.

“How did I get a B on this?” I asked. “The song goes, ‘every little thing….gonna be allright!’” (In Sing-song, like the priest!!)

The teacher looked at me and blinked.
“Like, with God, every…little…thing…gonna be…allright?? Get it???? Get it???”
When she didn’t change the grade, I wrote her off as someone who didn’t appreciate the Rastafarian culture.

At least she didn’t stop my song in the middle, like she did to another classmate. I guess she didn’t see the relation between a Bible verse and the song “Tennessee” by Arrested Development.

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Rachel, the student, had attempted to make a connection between the song and going to Heaven, since the lyrics state at one point, “take me to another place, take me to another land.”

“Ok, Rachel, that’s enough,” the teacher said.
I’m pretty sure she got rid of that lesson after our class.
The only people that got A’s were those that played Brad Paisley songs. Blech!!

I went with my parents to church last week when they came to visit me in South Carolina, and I promised them I would attend Easter mass on Sunday.
Since I normally don’t go to church (unless it’s Christmas or a wedding), those times I do attend, I’m reminded of mass at school.

Oh, there was lots of drama during school mass.
I remember how certain students were selected to hand out communion and us commoners were overly judgmental.

The students chosen for the task of handing out communion were the ones who “embodied the religious spirit” (and had an A average). But, (uh, the horror!) one girl handing out communion would smoke cigarettes in her school uniform at the nearby park after school. NOT RELIGIOUS, we’d say. NOT RELIGIOUS AT ALL! DON'T GET COMMUNION FROM HER!

During mass, we all sat with our class and had to shake hands or acknowledge one another during the “peace be with you” portion of the service.
Often, high school girls would be in fights with one another, and we’d sometimes go out of our way to ignore our neighbors. NOT RELIGIOUS.

“Uh, did you see her totally snub me during peace? I mean, GOD!” (haha)

Nearly 10 years (gasp!) have passed since I graduated high school, and I’d like to think I’m a bit more reverent these days.

I have my palm fronds from Palm Sunday mass in a vase in my house and I don’t ignore people anymore during the “Peace be with you” portion of church. I hardly even judge those handing out communion. Unless they're wearing a horrible outfit.
Just kidding.

Now, excuse me while I scarf down this cheese pizza.


1 comment:

  1. I realize that I'm one of those "heathens" who would have been excommunicated a long time ago anyway, but I've never seen the connection between Jesus and not eating meat on Fridays.

    I mean, what if instead of fish and bread from the famous basket, Jesus had pulled out ribs and cole slaw? Could Catholics eat fish on Fridays then?

    I think I've decided that's how I want to remember that story anyway.


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