We just love our “the threes.”
How many jokes are told in threes, “A priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar…” Then there’s Patty, Maxine, and Laverne, and how about “Ready, set, go?”
“Father, Son, Spirit,” anyone? We honor this weekend welcoming three people fully into the Catholic Church when receiving not two but three sacraments; Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. (Too bad we didn’t have this service at 3:00 p.m.)
Jesus didn’t die at five o’clock, nor did he spend a week in the tomb. The whale story was not about four days. Judas received three times 10. Peter doesn’t just lie once, ohhh nooo, he had to hit that magical number. Wisconsin has three of them: summer, fall, and drawn out winters.
The number three. Living life’s triad. Baby, adolescent, adult. Morning, noon, and night.
There’s a biblical story that’s not found in the Bible. This story explains living our lives through three objects. The story’s called “Jack and Beanstalk.” The objects are “magic beans,” “a harp,” and a “golden egg.” Life’s mystery trying to be interpreted.
The “magic beans” are gained by selling the animal that makes milk or (Sorry, moms) “mother.” Eventually, we need to trade mother for our own maturity, our own responsibilities, “to be on our own?” anyone? With those “magic beans,” a “vine of life” rises before and above us; “the sky’s the limit?” anyone? Those beans create a life vine enabling us to steal that “harp” and that “golden egg.” Stolen to become our own. “Nothing in life is free?” anyone?
More religious stuff after this short break.
There’s Larry, Curly, and ? Later there was Larry, Curly, and ? Ummmm. “Five Musketeers?” No, subtract two. How about three soldiers with one match? “Shake, rattle, and __?” I don’t follow sports, but I do know about the Chicago Bull’s threesome. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and…and…Dennis Rodman. And then there’s “six legs and a bra.”
Now back to the good stuff.
The “harp” is our professional lives – recognizing and using our gifts. We say to ourselves before our first job interview, “to make something of ourselves.” You almost need to steal the job you want. Rarely, just handed to you. Then your contribution to this world is the beautiful sound of the harp. The melody of your life is fulfilling your passion, as any occupation ought to be.
We all know that eggs break easily. That’s why the “golden egg” from our fable is the fragility of this human life. The egg of our personal, private lives. Twitter, Facebook, and others can unknowingly but easily crack the “golden-ness” of that precious gift. The precious gift of our own self-esteem, our worthiness before others, and most especially before God.
One traded, two stolen—the critical “threes” for a thankful, gratifying God-like life journey. The three sacraments received this weekend makes “Jack’s” fairy tales gifts come true. The rituals are the graces freely given by God. The Holy Spirit’s gifts of fortitude, strength, the awe of God, and the rest of them breathe life into Jack’s fabled gifts. To own them, to live them, to witness them and to share them with others. All empowered through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m done but here’s three more. You remember, “Faith, hope, and charity?” Tony Orlando’ sang don’t hit the pipes but knock that many times on the ceiling. And, do you remember the Motown sound of Diana, Mary, and Florence calling themselves…?