1990 April 8 – Palm Sun (Bulletin Letters)
This week, Holy Week, we are immersed in the central mystery of Jesus’ mission, his passion, death & resurrection. This weekend we have the reading of St. Matthew’s Passion account and on Good Friday we read St. John’ s version. It’s a shame we only read these texts during Holy Week. They are the central and defining text for each of the four Gospels. Scripture scholars maintain that each of the Gospel writers began with a well-formed Passion account before they wrote their Gospel stories. In fact they wrote their whole Gospel around their Passion account.
What strikes me most about these accounts of Jesus’ last days is how clearly political they are. For all their cosmic spiritual ramifications, the arena in which Jesus fulfills his mission is unquestionably the political arena. This weekend, Palm Sunday, we read of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Matthew tells us “the whole city was stirred to its depths by Jesus’ procession into the city.” It was a major street demonstration by any account, one that put the leaders of the nation on edge. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s versions Jesus does his temple-cleansing thing in the middle of the week. (St. John’s Gospel has Jesus’ temple cleansing. effort in the 2nd chapter.)
A nonviolent direct action akin to our own anti-nuclear demonstrations and protest, every bit as forceful as a modern day Plowshares witness, this militant act of rebellion sealed Jesus’ fate. The political & religious ‘powers that be’ knew they had to do away with this activist-Prophet at first opportunity. Judas, the betrayer, led them to Jesus in the garden on Holy Thursday night, where Jesus was arrested. He was brought to trial on Good Friday morning, found guilty of a political act: treason, and sentenced to death. Jesus was than hung on a cross, crucified, a form of capital
punishment reserved for enemies of the state. It amazes me how quickly we re-interpret these events in Jesus’ life in solely spiritual and personal ways. Yes, these events have far reaching & cosmic spiritual significance. Yes, they do free the individual from the burden of their sins and makes them whole and in union with God. Yet they cannot be separated from their political content.
I recently saw the film, “Romero”, the movie about the life and times of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the Bishop of San Salvador, and the capital of EI Salvador. Archbishop Romero was murdered ten years ago while celebrating the Eucharist. He was an outspoken critic of the EI Salvadorian Government and military. He sided with the poor and the defenseless people of his country. He publicly pleaded with his fellow countrymen in the military not to continue killing their own people. He strongly opposed any continued military aid from the U.S.A. to his war-torn country. It was for these strong stands that the Bishop was killed. The movie “Romero” is now out in video stores. I highly recommend viewing this powerful film. It is a modern-day Passion account that takes us into the same essential struggle that Jesus was in his last days on earth.
90 04 08 Resistance
- FRANK’S TRIAL DATE SET: My trial date has been set for Monday, April 30th at 9 :00 a.m. at the Federal Court House in Omaha. Judge Wood from Arkansas will preside. Judge Wood is being brought up to Omaha to help with the overflow of Federal Court cases in Omaha. We will have a Pre-trial Eucharist and celebration Sunday, April 29th at 7: OO p .m. at St. Anne’s.
Everyone is welcome to join us at St. Anne’s on the 29th and the trial will follow the next day. My past experience tells me that if I am found guilty I should expect to be sentenced to another six months of prison time. It is best that we anticipate a. six-month sentence. Any sentence of less than six months will be most welcome.