It is entirely possible that some of you have not read Victor Hugo’s book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In French it is called simply Notre-Dame de Paris. I darn near killed my brain one summer reading it in French. I had read some Hugo in French before but this one… much harder. I digress. You don’t know the thing if you have only seen a movie, or to put it another way, “It don’t mean a thing, if you ain’t got that swing.” Read the book.
Since it is the ultimate nickname Sunday, we might just pause to remind people that today is called “Quasimodo” Sunday from the first word of the Introit.
As I have written here before the Introit is from 1 Peter 2:2-3 which says:
“Like (Quasimodo – from a Latin Scripture translation that pre-dated the Vulgate by St Jerome) newborn babes (infantes), long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
The Victor Hugo character, poor Quasimodo, born with various defects, was abandoned as an infant in Notre Dame on this very Sunday… “Quasimodo” Sunday. He is raised by the Archdeacon of Notre Dame who makes him the bell-ringer of the Cathedral… which makes poor Q deaf. You may remember that the cathedral just had its bells renewed. I wrote about that HERE.
Poor Quasimodo. His name, with the “quasi… almost”, indicates that he is only nearly human in the context of the society in which he was called by God to live. But he utters some of the most human things, shows moments of the most poignant human agony ever penned. Who in reading the book will forget his first, great, burning tear? “Alors, dans cet œil jusque-là si sec et si brûlé, on vit rouler une grosse larme qui tomba lentement le long de ce visage difforme et longtemps contracté par le désespoir. C’était la première peut-être que l’infortuné eût jamais versée.” His cries of “ASILE!”? His pathetic, “Le hibou n’entre pas dans le nid de l’alouette.”
Are not we all at some time he?