Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two Things I Learned About A Crucifix of Jesus

I learned two things about the Crucifix last week that I probably should have know, but didn't.

The first, I kinda knew, but never took the time to learn the detail.  I always knew the sign posted above Jesus read INRI and stood for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.  But I never really understood  how those letters stood for that phrase.  Turns out there was no "J" in Latin, and the letter "I" was often used in its place.  So the phrase in Latin is Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm.  

The second, embarrassingly enough, I never even thought about.  In some crucifixes and paintings, Jesus' head is tilted straight down on the crucifix.  In most, however, it is tilted down (or up) but slightly to the right.  Why the difference?

A person that was crucified would have likely died from asphyxiation, and thus, their head would have slumped straight down.  So, crucifixes that show Jesus' head in that pose are attempting to be more realistic in their depiction.

Those that show His head tilted slightly down (or up) and to the right are taking some artistic liberties.  The right hand, in Christian faith, is the hand of blessing.  Since Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself for our sins, He, in turn, gave us the ultimate blessing.   This is why His head faces right in some crucifixes - to show that His death is a blessing for all of us.

Since my "lesson" last week, I did a little more research and found two other explanations for the right-leaning head tilt.  One stated that Jesus was facing the good thief, whom He saved before dying.  The other said it was to reinforce that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

I've looked at crucifixes of our Savior thousands of times.  Who knew I still had so much to learn about them?

God Bless.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don Draper, Frank Purdue and the Pope

After a solemn weekend in the US, I thought we could all use a smile.


Don Draper walked into the Vatican with Frank Purdue to try and sell the Pope on his latest Ad campaign.

"Mr. Pope ... Frank and I want to integrate chicken into the rituals of folks around the country, and we were thinking ... what better way than The Lord's Prayer."

The Pope looked at Don with bewilderment.  "I'm not sure I understand, Mr. Draper."

"Mr. Pope," Don continued, "we're willing to offer you .... fifty thousand dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day, our daily chicken.'"

The Pope's bewilderment quickly changed to agitation.  "Mister Draper ... I will not hear of such nonsense.  Absolutely not."

"Ok, ok," Don responded, "You got us.  I must have misread the contract and missed a zero.  We're really willing to offer you five hundred thousand dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day our daily chicken.'"

The Pope's agitation softened for just a second as he processed the new offer.  "Listen, guys, those words are sacred to our religion.  I just can't change them for five hundred grand.  Sorry.  Thank you for your time.  Good day."

"Wait, wait, wait," Don quipped, sensing a tiny crack in the armor, "I get it.  I get it.  Ok .. .how's this ... we'll offer you one million dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day our daily chicken'.  That's one...  million ... dollars!"

The next day, the Pope gathered his staff and announced, "Folks, I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that I think I found a way to raise all that money we need to feed the poor."

"And the bad news?" a staff member asked.

"I think we're going to lose the Wonder Bread account..."


Please join me in saying a real Our Father for all of the victims of terrorism, wars, and natural disasters around the world.

God Bless.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.(Luke 14:26)

I remember reading this passage in Catechism class when I was a young boy.  

It nearly sent me running from the Church.  (Or at least to the pay phone to call my parents to pick me up ...)

Read literally, it is too harsh to handle.  Hating your parents or spouse makes Jesus' next request to give up possessions seem rather simple.

Luckily, my teacher noticed the terror in my eyes and quickly explained to all of us that a more accurate translation of the word "hate" was "to love less" - and Jesus was really telling us that our love for He and His Father should not be surpassed by that for any other.

She then went on to give us a simple rule for "assigning" our love and attention:


Jesus first.
Others second.
Yourself last.

I've never forgotten that. 

Especially when I read a scary passage like Sunday's gospel.

God Bless.