After the devastating Hurricane Katrina of 2005, many people wondered if Mardi Gras would return to New Orleans six months later. With more than 80 percent of the city flooded by the hurricane, was it too soon to don a party hat?
Yet Mardi Gras could mean a financial boost to the strapped city (pre-Katrina, Mardi Gras would provide up to $300 million in revenue.) Many residents also saw Mardi Gras as an opportunity to show the nation that New Orleans wasnt giving up.
City officials opted to go ahead. While attendance was down and the schedule was abbreviated (eight days, instead of two weeks of parades), participants gamely carried on, some even dressing as sandbags, or wearing blue tarps.
The French word for Tuesday is mardi, and the French word for fat, rich is gras. Thus today is Mardi Gras with its feasting and carnivals a final celebration before the penitential Lenten practices that begin tomorrow.
Lent begins tomorrow. Spend some time on the plans you wrote February 18th.
Each of the Gospels has its own characteristics a distinctive writing style, some content the others do not have, and differences in the order of events.
One of the characteristics of Matthews Gospel is the frequent citation of Old Testament texts that relate to an event in the life of Jesus. It is in Matthew that Jesus says at his arrest: All this has come to pass so that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.
Matthew also uses vivid details that catch the imagination. In the Infancy Narrative, for example, He has Magi who come from the East, a star, precious gifts, dreams.
In the Passion account, it is Matthew who has Judas throw the 30 pieces of silver into the Temple and then hang himself, Pilates wife intervene with a dream in the middle of the trial, and Pilate wash his hands in front of the crowd.
And when Jesus dies, there is an earthquake, and the dead rising from their tombs and entering Jerusalem. These are not told for their own sake, but to bring out a deeper meaning. Matthew wants us to realize that what is taking place affects the earth and the heavens, and affects both this life and life after death.
Despite their differences, in the Passion account, the four evangelists have the most in common. This is because it was a story told and re-told long before the evangelists put it in writing.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.