First Reading: Joshua 5:9-12

Life's Transitions

9 YHWH said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.” Therefore the name of that place was called Gilgal, to this day. 10 The children of Israel encamped in Gilgal. They kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho. 11 They ate unleavened cakes and parched grain of the produce of the land on the next day after the Passover, in the same day. 12 The manna ceased on the next day, after they had eaten of the produce of the land. The children of Israel didn’t have manna any more; but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

World English Bible

Life transitions are difficult. Some are joyful, like a moving into a new job or a better house, the arrival of children or grandchildren. Some are painful, like the loss of a spouse or employment. These transitions require personal change in new and uncontrollable directions. Sometimes the best way to face these transitions is to celebrate them.

In the first reading, Joshua prepared the people to enter the Promised Land. The days of nomadic survival were over; the time of conquest and settlement were at hand. Just the people celebrated Passover before they past through the Red Sea to freedom, the people ate the Passover before they crossed the Jordan River into Palestine. So, Passover became a transition ritual. It bid farewell to life in the desert (represented by the manna that disappeared); it welcomed the life of settlement (represented by the promised yield of the land) [12]. It celebrated transition with the rations that they had: unleavened breaded and parched grain [11].

Our rituals of transition (weddings, baptisms, funerals) mark a goodbye and a hello. And sometimes it marks a return.

How do you celebrate rituals in your life? How are they transition points?