"Who are you?" "Why do you baptize?"

In today's Gospel reading [John 1:6-8,19-2], priests [in the line of Aaron] and Levites [i.e., of the tribe of animal sacrifice ministers in the temple] come to John the Baptist [who is preaching a baptism of repentance in the River Jordan] to ask him "who" questions. He was not sent by them, but by God, so their "who" questions are aimed at how he is connected with scriptural prophesy. Each "who" question asks whether he is someone identified in that prophesy as one who is to come.

The pearl of great price

God examined all of human history, found the pearl of great price, picked it up and polished it so that it shone with a divine sparkle. That pearl was Mary. The polishing began with bestowing the unique privilege of being conceived without original sin, giving her the privilege of being the mother of his son, Jesus, and asking her to share with him the role of redemption. Her obedience, even to the point of suffering internally as she watched her son suffer and die, yet not excluding even his tormentors from her merciful love, was her response to God, her “let it be done!”

Solidarity and Subsidiarity: God's identity politics

Dictionary.com defines solidarity as (in definition 1):

union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples, etc.:

The Pietà

A little language experiment using Google translate:

First, notice the curious similarity, in English, between "pity" and "piety", words which are quite distinct in meaning.

Then, translate each of these two words into Latin, Italian, Spanish and French, the Romance languages. Notice the curious differences, pointing to very complex language histories.

And, finally, do the same translation for the English word "lamentation." Notice the remarkable similarities.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

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