Reflection on the Readings

How do you pass on a living faith to the next generation? Robert Wuthnow, sociologist of religion, conducted research among people who considered themselves religious and asked what influences from childhood had helped their faith take root. One of the factors that scored high among people who grew up to practice their faith was that they were raised in homes where religious objects, artwork, and symbols were commonplace. It may have been a family Bible, an icon, or a crucifix, but that treasured family possession stood as a daily reminder of the importance of faith.

In my childhood, the palm fronds handed out on Palm Sunday played a big role. Not only did we keep our palms all year long, I saw them quietly displayed in the homes of close family and friends. The palm frond is a powerful symbol, standing at the gateway to Jesus’ Passion, death, and Resurrection. It speaks not only of victory and glory, but of the price involved in our own lives if we are going to follow Jesus’ way.

Is this magic? No. Is it superstition? No. Is it an aid to memory? Certainly. And according to Wuthnow, such reminders are very effective teachers and shapers of lives of faith.

Quote of the Week

It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky