Jesus singing Fiddler’s “If I were a rich man, daba, daba …”? Not so far fetched! by Mgr. Paul Watson
by Brian Ingram
There’s a famous image of Janus – with two faces, one looking backwards, the other forwards. It could be an image of Advent, looking back to Jesus’ coming and to the heritage he carried, and also looking forward to a final day, when the King will be seen by everyone! This forward look also includes the next hours, days and years of our own life and times, in which Jesus is King today!
But, it’s the backward look that I have in mind at the moment. On Saturday last week, on the Radio 4 programme “Saturday Live”, the actor Alan Davies, presented his “inheritance tracks”. Every week a celebrity chooses and speaks about two sound tracks or pieces of music. The first captures something of the heritage of the celebrity. Davies chose “If I were a rich man” from the soundtrack of “Fiddler on the Roof”. The song captured the actor’s home life as he was growing up. His father was often singing, or rather “Daba, Daba, Dabbering” in the kitchen while cooking breakfast. Davies spoke about his father and what he received from him. His other track, a song by Billy Bragg, was the one he would want to pass on to his children, along with the explanation.
Although I’ve often listened to “Saturday Live”, it’s only this time that I thought about choosing my own inheritance tracks – and I had the idea of speaking about it at Mass over the weekend – the first Sunday of Advent. In fact, I invited everyone to join me in choosing an inheritance track and writing an explanation. We might want to share it, at least with our families, but why not post it also on the parish website – either anonymously, to keep everyone guessing, or not. I invited the children, and the teenagers to have a go too! It really seemed to capture everyone’s interest – and some have already started on it.
Interestingly, “Fiddler on the Roof” put me in mind of the history, or heritage of Israel. And more significantly, made me ask: what would Jesus’ inheritance track be. Immediately, I thought: it’s bound to be one of the Psalms! In fact, it could be any one of them! The Psalm of the day – Psalm 121 – ostensibly about the Temple in Jerusalem. But Jesus is now himself the place of contact with God. And the Psalmist also sings: “For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!'”
I could really also imagine Jesus singing: “If I were a rich man … Daba, daba, daba, daba, daba dum!
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