Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A *Alternate* First Reading


*Alternate* First Reading: Excerpt from “Learning the Grammar of Animacy” essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I remember paging through the Ojibwe dictionary [my sister] had sent… All kinds of things seemed to be verbs: “to be a hill,” “to be red,” “to be a long sandy stretch of beach,” and my fingers rests on wiikwegama: “to be a bay.” Things I know with considerable scientific certainty to be nouns and adjectives are presented here as verbs. “Ridiculous!” I rant in my head, “there is no reason to make it so complicated. What a cumbersome language, impossible to learn, and more than that—it’s all wrong. A bay… is most definitely a noun and not a verb.” I was ready to give up this struggle.

And then I swear I heard the zap of synapses firing… In that moment I could smell the water of the bay, watch it rock against the shore and hear it sift onto the sand. A bay is a noun only if water is dead… But wiikegama, to be a bay, the verb releases the water from bondage and lets it live… To be a hill, to be a sandy beach, to be a Saturday… all are possible as verbs only in a world where everything is alive.

The words of Robin Wall Kimmerer