From the Pastor: A Sad Way To Spend Easter
Last month I was reading the local news when I came across the headline, “Top things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend”. The weekend in question included Easter Sunday but the article was completely secular in nature, although it did include an Easter Egg Hunt at the Glazer Children’s Museum on (Holy) Saturday and a scuba-diving Easter Bunny at the Florida Aquarium on both (Holy) Saturday and (Easter) Sunday, without, of course, a mention of either of the two being HOLY DAYS. The rest of the list would have been typical of any other weekend of the year. There were things going on at Busch Gardens, at Lowry Park Zoo (before it was renamed to the oh-so-hip ZooTampa). There were concerts and crafts and all sorts of other things to do as if it were just any old weekend of the year. It really was sad reading the long list and seeing nothing whatsoever about Faith in God, about Jesus’ Resurrection, or even about spending time at Church before bringing the family out to any of the events. But there was one really sad one that caught my eye, for it was one that could have been scheduled for any weekend of the year, as far as I can tell, and everyone would have been better off for it. Yet they chose this particular weekend and fully expected a large crowd of people to spend the weekend at this particular “international competition”. It was an event that I would have liked to have attended myself though with it being on a weekend and not an “I just gotta go!” type of event, I most likely would have missed it anyway, regardless of which weekend it occurred. But it was that type of competition: one at which a Catholic priest would have enjoyed himself and would not have caused a scandal if he were seen there.
I am giving it this big build-up, not because it is such a great event or such a terrible event but because it is neither. It just struck me as typical of the “blah-ness” which our society finds itself in right now. An event which is not morally objectionable but which has no basis in Faith whatsoever is seen as perfectly proper to hold on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. It is an event which brings competitors from not only the local area but also from other countries, showing that it is seen as important by at least those competing, and, it almost goes without saying, seen by both them and the “spectators” as more important than mourning the death of Jesus Christ, and even seen as more important than celebrating the same and only Son of God proving that He has power even over death itself by resurrecting from the grave on the third day. And yet it is a competition so unimportant that MaloogaCon was listed before it in this news article. Plus, the fact that multiple large articles and headlines appeared in the week leading up to this competition with nary a word about the Holy Days it was trying to supersede, showed just how “blah” the newspaper’s attitude toward Christianity is. It also showed that the newspaper’s attitudes were expected to be shared by their readers, or they would have barely reported on the story in the first place. Like MaloogaCon. Whatever that is.
So what is the “international competition” that took families away from worship during the last of the Holy Triduum and Easter Sunday? The Cuban Sandwich Festival. What? You didn’t know anything about that? Well, let me clue you in. The children’s competition took place on Holy Saturday (destroy the family, destroy the Faith) and the adult competition took place on Sunday. The goal of the competition was to make a sandwich. Yep. To make a sandwich. Not just any old sandwich, though. It had to be a Cuban Sandwich, which made the competition pretty darn tough. After all, there are special ingredients that must comprise any sandwich which claims to be a Cuban. First, there must be Cuban bread. Several local bakeries make Cuban bread a little different from each other, so the choice of bread is a major bone of contention in this battle. Inside there are either 5 or 6 ingredients: ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and (this is where the real fighting comes in) maybe salami.
Whew! As I was pondering this great substitution for Easter I could imagine a man spending a small fortune flying his family in from another country (or even just driving here) to make this sandwich, telling his wife and kids that “God doesn’t mind us missing Mass just this one (more) time, because, gosh darn it all, we are going to prove once and for all that a real Cuban must have salami which must be placed just so between the ham and pork without ever touching the pickle and, by golly, that’s the way you make a proper Cuban! And remember, children, that anyone who dares to put tomato or--gasp!--mayonnaise on it to make it taste better is going straight to Hell.” Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read the newspaper.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka