It's unlikely that Martin Luther just happened to be walking through Wittenberg on 31 October 499 years ago today and had nothing better else to do with his time than nail his 95 theses to the church door. Perhaps he chose it because of the pagan beliefs that the demons could come down from heaven and the souls of the saints go up to heaven at this time of the year. I reckon he was deliberately looking for a moment in time that would grab the full attention of the church, so why not a feast day?
Perhaps there was a connection with souls being in purgatory and people paying indulgencies to Pope Leo X to fund his extravagant building programme in Rome.
This is the notice Martin Luther wrote: "Efficacy of Indulgences commonly known as The 95 Theses by Dr. Martin Luther. Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing. (31 October 1517)"
On a more light-hearted note, here is a fanciful flight of imagination bringing things up to date:10 Tweets Martin Luther to Pope Leo X
1 - Hey, Leo, what gives with this mega-expensive building project in Rome? Why don't you pay for it out of your own coffers?
2 - Since when did God give you the authority to free people from Purgatory?
3 - Re that last tweet: “As soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out of purgatory” - all I can say is nice con but pull the other one!
4 - You know those indulgences you are selling? Well, they aren't worth the paper they're written on.
5 - Since when can anybody buy their way into the Kingdom of God?
6 - Look, I know you're not best pleased with me Leo, but don't you think excommunication is a bit drastic?
7 - Whoa! A death sentence now? I only wanted to get a meaningful dialogue going here.
8 - Just to let you know that while I've been hiding I've come up with a German translation of the Bible. That's what happens when you lose your cool, man.
9 - Methinks thou doth protest too much, Leo. Can't you take a bit of criticism?
10 - I haven't got long to live (it's 1546 now) but I reckon we haven't heard the last of this....