1996 March 31 – Palm Sun (Bulletin Letters)
Cycle A Palm Sunday
Mt 21, 1-11 Procession
Mt 26, 14 – 27. 66
“As he entered Jerusalem the whole city was stirred to its depths, demanding, ‘Who is this?’” (Mt.21:10)
“My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers. (Mt. 21: 13)
“Put your sword back into place: for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt. 26:52)
“My God, my God why have your forsaken me” (Mt. 27/46)
This coming week, I’ve been asked to talk to students at Grinnell College and Carroll Kemper H S. I plan to share something of my personal Faith journey; who I am, where I come from and why I do what I do. I will tell them why I feel compelled to continue to protest nonviolently against nuclear weapons and how I see this as part of my way of being a Faithful Christian. And in the process, I hope to convey to them some measure of my faith in Jesus.
Holy Week is a good week to speak on the issues of nonviolent resistance and faith-base íd law breaking. This is the one week out of the whole year that the Church focus it’s attention on the dramatic last days and hours of Jesus’s life. It is in these last days and hours that Jesus taught by example how to do nonviolent resistance and faith-based law breaking, the Holy Way.
The Church teaches that Jesus’s Divine mission also has a social and political dimension. If creation was transformed and made a new with Jesus’s resurrection, than this transformation will have a direct effect on the way things are done in the hear and now, within the realm of human affairs. In other words, the Jesus movement has a certain social and political agenda and a define means by which to achieve these ends.
In many ways, the historical Jesus looked much like other Apocalyptic prophetic characters who were common in first century Palestine. Each of these prophetic characters claimed some kind of divine mandate, many with their own followers and scripture versus to back them up.
Some with large followings lead their followers to violently rebel against the Roman’s. Twice, the Roman’s meet these violent out burst with their own brand of Imperial Violence. In 68 A.D., the RomanÕs killed tens of thousands, destroyed Jerusalem and rebuilt a Roman city in its place. Than in 135 A.D., they killed hundreds of thousands in their effort to liquidated all Jews residing in Palestine.
Much of the social and political agenda advocated by Jesus were also advocated by others. The critical difference being, the means by which to bring them about. Almost always, in revolutionary movements of the world, prophetic or otherwise, divine or secular, when it comes to the use of violence, sooner or latter, they all opt for it. Jesus refused to succumb to this violent option. This insistence on nonviolent means is what sets Jesus’s Kingdom in the hear and now apart from all other social reform movements.
The above four quotes serve as good sign post in Matthew’s Gospel in identifying the pattern Ö of nonviolent resistance set by Jesus in the last days of his life:
*Mt. 21:10 Jesus is in the streets of Jerusalem’s, at the center of a major street demonstration. This was no legal demonstration. It was large and loud, a political demonstration that got the whole city up in an up roar.
*Mt 21:13 Jesus kicks out the money changers in the Temple. In today’s legal terms, he’s looking at major felony charges, destruction of property, intent to do bodily harm The Roman’s routinely crucified people for doing far less.
*Mt 26:52 The trap is sprung, Jesus is betrayed and captured. The “Powers That Be” finally catch up to Jesus. Their reaction to Jesus’s nonviolent rebellion is obvious, get rid of the leader, end the rebellion. His followers are prepared to put up a sword fight. Jesus stops it before it gets started. Violence, even violence in self defense is not Jesus’s Way. Jesus has another means in mind. His enemies have their way with him.
*Mt 27:46 The end, that’s it. That’s all the world ever sees. Dead meat on a tree. Or so it would seem, except for the Resurrection. And that’s the difference, the cosmic difference.
96 03 31
Fr. Frank talking at Grinnell College & Carroll Kemper H.S.
Monday and Tuesday, April 1 & 2, 1 will be speaking on the Campus of Grinnell College. I’ve been asked to talk in several social justice classes and give a talk in the Student Union on the Nonviolent Jesus and a Call for a Resistance Church.
I’ve a!so been asked to give the main talk for Carroll Kemper Catholic H.S. Lenten Retreat Day, Wednesday April 3rd. There will be no 8:00 a.m. Masses on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week.
Do it Right This Year! Attend Full Triduum
Make sure you do it right this year. Attend all three Triduum Church Services- of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil Mass! All three services make up what the Church calls the Triduum. To do it right – you’ve got to attend all three