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The Color Purple

March 20, 2010

In their Gospels, both St. Mark and St. John note that the cloak the soldiers used to mock Jesus was purple.

During the time of Jesus, purple was a royal color, a sign of power and wealth. Purple dye could be expensive. While plants and other items could be used to make the dye, the best purple color came from a spiny shellfish known as a Murex mollusk.

Liturgically, purple is a symbol of penance. It is used during the penitential seasons of Advent, Lent, and on fast days and vigils.

source: The Little Black Book: Six-minute meditations on the Passion of Mark

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