Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006 (S2) Aspartic Acid

December 19, 2006 (S2) Aspartic Acid

Aspartic Acid - the Scourging at the Pillar (S2)

December 19, 2006 - (Radix Jesse) - Five days to the Vigil!

In our mystery today we recall how Jesus was bound to a stone pillar and whipped... yes, that same Jesus, once an infant asleep in the manger. But it was for us that He came! Yes, soon we shall celebrate that coming, and still we look forward in our countdown:

O Radix Jesse! O Root of Jesse! Come, bring Your strength and life, for we trust in Your unfailing power. Hurry, and do not delay!

For this mystery of torture, I use one of the two amino acids with acidic side chains. Don't be confused; remember the common part of the amino acid has a -COOH group, which means it is an acid - though an organic acid, most of which are relatively weak. But each different form of side chain has its own particular properties, as we have seen: some are hydrophobic, some are hydrophilic - and of those, some are neutral, some are "basic" (opposite to an acid) and two are "acidic" since they also contain the -COOH group.

For S2, I have selected Aspartic Acid, frequently termed Aspartate, for it ionizes readily in the water surrounding the proteins in the living cell.

Aspartic Acid - or Aspartate (abbreviated Asp or D)
RNA Codes:

Aspartate has only two codes, both of which begin with GA, and are followed byt a pyrimidine (C or U).

The side chain of Aspartate is a well-known chemical -CH2COOH (there's a hydrogen missing where the side chain gets attached to the central alpha carbon). You probably have some of in your home - in fact, you almost certainly have it in your kitchen! Chemically, it is called acetic acid - or ethanoic acid, since it is the acid form of the two-carbon ethane, and related to ethanol, the alcohol in wine and beer. When acetic acid is mixed with water to about a five percent solution, it is sold as vinegar.

Oh, yes. Indeed, several organic acids are edible; some are quite good when used the right way. But even a sniff will tell you about vinegar - when it was made by hand, people didn't bother to measure, and thus some forms are far more sour than others. Vinegar has been known for thousands of years, as it is really just sour wine, and we shall hear more about it on another day.

But for now, as we ponder the chemistry, let us not lose sight of the wine of Cana (L2) - even while we taste at a distance this sour Roman vinegar of S2, we know that promise of both Christmas and Cana included it.

Therefore, let us pray for light and strength - to reject anything and everything which would sour the good wine Jesus has brought for us!


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