Masopust - Carnival

by Thomas Zahn

A lone rider circles in a snow-covered field. From the sky above, to the earth below, all is white, except the horse and rider. At a distance, they are dark, colorless figures that do not stop. They cannot stop, lest the spell would be broken. The view from my window is that of a music box, open and full of magic. I dare not close my eyes….   


Today is Tuesday, second day of the new week, but unlike so many other Tuesdays, this is the day when pigs fly. It is the day before Ash Wednesday, when our fast begins. The height of Winter’s starvation, when children, parents and grandparents die in their sleep. Less than 2 months after a miraculous birth, we begin this journey, the path through the desert of the soul, from feast to crucifixion. The way of redemption…


What has this to do with us? What message do we take from the carnival? What mask do we wear? Certainly, we cannot dance in this parade without good reason.


We are alive. In the dead of Winter, in the midst of pandemic, we stand strong against the wind of change, and hold fast to the grace that surrounds us. We celebrate as joy unbound propels us to another day. One last meal, both feast and sacrificial offering. We come as ourselves, though we do so unknowing. This madness, a festival of life we celebrate in the presence of death, is Winter’s last stand. It’s symbolic of the hibernation we as mammals still carry in our DNA.


When we awaken, after the Lenten tide retreats, the world will be clothed in Spring’s first colors. The Son of God will rise, even though we may not recognize him. For all we know, it will be just another day, a green Thursday or good Friday.


And so, the circle of sacrifice continues to unwind. It unfolds before our eyes, from one feast day to another, sunrise to sunset. Through snow, wind, rain and fire, the earth endures. It is renewed, alive. We are the ones who are passing by. Passengers in time…  

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