Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sukkot and last week's Catholic Gospel, Mark 10: 17-30

Last Sunday, we had for me the harshest Gospel. It was about the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus mentions Mosaic Commandments and was pleased by the man's response that he followed them but then was crestfallen when Christ told him to give away what he had to the poor and follow him. The man left. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot happened the week before. In that festival, people sit around outside in a temporary shelter and symbolically are represented by four fruits, one represents Torah learning, another good deeds; one of them however represents being a nothing. All of the individuals or fruits atone for each other and are part of the community, part of the group in the Sukkot. Perhaps the difference in the Gospel and in the Sukkot in regard to the person with nothing is in the active or passive voice in the way they got there. In the Gospel, you have achieved and given away. In the Sukkot, you may not have achieved, couldn't, or what you had might have been taken from you; and yet you still have value and it is said that everyone to some extent at different times is represented by one of the four fruits of the Sukkot. Thus being a nothing perhaps subtly represented by being 'poor' in the Gospel leaves you still having value.