George Galloway has come and gone, but when the furore caused by his visit has died down, one of his remarks will linger.
Confronted with criticism of his stance on Israel, he remarked that in view of the source from which it came, the criticism made him feel like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of Notre Dame!
I make no comment on the validity of his response, but the reference to Victor Hugo’s fictional creation recalls one of the best-known stories in literature, made accessible to different generations in film and animation.
One Sunday in 1467, runs Hugo’s story, a baby boy is found lying outside Paris’s great cathedral.
The child is ugly and hunchback, and even his mother could not love him. A priest took pity on the child, and when he grew up appointed him as cathedral bell-ringer, a position which added deafness to his list of problems. But love eventually played it’s part in the life of Quasimodo.
But why the name Quasimodo? The day on which the child was found was the first Sunday after Easter, and in he Latin prayers set for that day, the prayers begin with two words,’ Quasi modo’, which mean ‘Almost’.
Before our more enlightened times, such a deformed child was regarded as an ‘almost’. The Bible tells of two men who were ‘almost’ Christians, with one incident disputed, the other not.
The disputed incident involved King Agrippa before whom Paul preached. The king interrupted Paul’s sermon by saying, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26;28 in the King James version).
Questioned about the most important commandment , Jesus replied that that we must first love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. Secondly, said Jesus, you must love our neighbour as yourself.(Mark 12; 28-34). When the teacher of law remarked that Jesus had answered wisely, Jesus said: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
In the American Rockies, rain falls on the continental divide. On one side rain drains into the Mississippi while the other side drains into the Pacific. The drops of rain were so near, but ultimately so far apart. Make sure you’ re not an ‘almost’ believer.