US Catholic Faith in Real Life

That's sun tradition

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Imagine saying a prayer once every 28 years. You only utter those words a few times in your life.

That’s exactly what tens of thousands of Jews did this morning in Israel, AFP reports. At the Wailing Wall or wherever they were, they turned toward the rising sun and offered a blessing to the sun with the Birkat Hakhama prayer.

Why just 28 years? In Jewish tradition this morning marks the time when the sun returns to the position it held the moment the universe was created 5,769 years ago. This year is special because this moment falls at the beginning of Passover, which starts at Sunset today.

I’m sure many of those people praying today know that the earth is more than 6,000 years old and that the earth revolves around the sun, but I would think being part of a crowd of thousands praying at sunrise, performing a ritual that happens so rarely, is quite a spiritual moment.

Catholic traditions—a Mass in Ordinary Time or our upcoming Holy Week services—make me feel part of something bigger than myself. That feeling must be even stronger for Jews participating in the 28-year prayer, knowing that it takes the cooperation of generations to pass on this practice. The last time this happened, I wasn’t alive. Who cares if it isn’t based on scientific knowledge?

Image from Wiki Commons.