Many Christmases ago, a little girl who was reading the prayers of the faithful at a parish Epiphany Mass listed the Magi’s gifts to the Christ child in Matthew’s Nativity fable. They included, she told us, “gold, Frankenstein, and myrrh”. It was a happy slip and a good story, which can still alert us to our own ancient, ingrained (mis)readings – via atonement, expiation and blood sacrifice – of the Passion and Resurrection accounts that those three symbolic presents have traditionally prefigured. Can a child’s lisp in the last millennium restore us to the smell of frankincense in this year’s Holy Week?
Aidan Matthews: Married with two daughters and three granddaughters, Aidan’s old enough to have served the Latin Mass, but naive enough not to mind the tumult in today’s Church. As a child of the second Vatican council, he and his ageing cohort have been through Christian forms of Captivity and Exodus – and sometimes both at the same time. Schooled for ten years by the Jesuits, and teaching with them for a time, Aidan finished up at Stanford, where he studied the scriptures under René Girard. He worked for forty years as a Religion producer in RTE, and his writings mix fiction (stories, plays, philosophy) and non-fiction (poetry).