Last Wednesday, I wished a joyous, even riotous, Purim to Hebrew readers. "Open another bottle!", I cried.
The Extraordinary Form Reading at Mass that morning was the Prayer of Mordecai from the Book of Esther ... who is the great theme of Purim; for Christians, of course, Lent is a penitential season, so Alcohol and festivity are not encouraged. (Similarly, the old Roman agricultural festivals became the penitential Christian Ember Days.)
For Synagogue Jews, Purim is a triumphalistic day. Whom better to burn in effigy than Haman! For us, the Lenten liturgical texts offer us the sobering thought that the afflictions to which we are subject are justly deserved; so we fast and we beg for mercy.
For Christian writers, Esther is the Type of which Mary the Mother of God, who stands before the King as the Mediatrix begging for Mercy, is the the Antitype. On Wednesday, the old Papal statio was at Sancta Caecilia trans Tiberim; on Thursday, this year the second day of Purim, the statio for the Papal Mass would once have been in Sancta Maria trans Tiberim. And the Roman Ghetto was, of course, in the Trastevere ... only a couple of years ago, another Jewish cemetery was excavated there.
May the potent Daughter of Sion pray for the coming of the Day when all Israel shall be brought in. Joys, then, indeed!!
UPDATE: I can't get these liturgical coincidences out of my head! Perhaps they aren't coincidences. Looking back over the last few years, I think that
2017: Purim was on the Saturday and the Sunday which is Lent II.
2018: Purim was on the Wednesday and Thursday after Lent II.
2016: Purim was on the Wednesday and Thursday of Holy Week.
Something is going on here! And in my ignorance ...
Do leap years come into the question?
Does the dissonance between the Gregorian and Julian Calendars get its oar in?
Surely, somebody has noticed all this and explained it ... before me? Does anybody have a reference?
As a working hypothesis, I assume that it was Gregory II (715-731), who introduced the Thursday Roman Stations, who arranged to go to the Trastevere on the Thursday; but the Trastevere visit on the Wednesday must have been fixed earlier. Those possessing a Breviarium Romanum could look at the comments made in his homily by S Gregory I the Great, on the Gospel of the Thursday after Lent II.
[Lent II, of course, was a dominica vacat when the Pontiff would have been ordaining in S Peter's at the Saturday/Sunday Vigil Mass.}