Loved by pranksters, but loathed by many (including those who are easily spooked or tricked), we can all agree that April Fool’s Day is one of the world’s silliest holidays. But did you know that the Catholic Church might have had a hand in cementing it on the calendar? According to the Catholic News Agency, it was Pope Gregory XIII who unknowingly gave rise to April Fool’s Day by ordering all Christian nations to adopt the Gregorian calendar. Those who didn’t were called fools, and would have paper fish or ‘poisson d’avril’ (April fish) attached to their backs, said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Speaking of foolishness …. At the Daily Mass for today (Friday of the Fourth week of Lent), the Church offers us this from the Book of Wisdom 2, 1: “Foolish people reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, ‘Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end, and no one has been known to return from below.’” Similarly, in John 7, the leaders of the Jews claim, “We all know where Jesus comes from.” They were saying, in effect, “we know that He comes from Nazareth, a little village in the hills.” In reply, Jesus declares that He really comes from God, the Almighty One who sent Him. To “know” that Jesus came from Nazareth falls far short of “knowing” who He really is! It is generally the case in St. John’s Gospel that those who say “we know” don’t really know and are proven quite foolish.
Let us take to heart today that there is always more to Jesus than we realize. When it comes to the Lord, we are always on a journey of “discovery.” What really matters is to keep traveling that journey, to keep striving to know Him more fully, and to avoid all foolishness along the way.