1988 Aug 29 – 24th Sun Ord Time (Prison Writings)

1988 Aug 29 – 24th Sun Ord Time (Prison Writings)

Cycle B

Jas 2, 14 – 18

Mk 8, 27 – 35


Dear Friends:


Proclamation/Acceptance   Mark 8/27-35

Jesus asked the disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter jumped up proclaiming, “You are the Messiah!” Jesus told him to hush up and began to explain what being the Messiah was all about. He told them he will suffer much, be rejected by the leaders of the Nation,” be put to death and rise three days later.”  Peter, the proclaimer, was not ready to accept the Proclaimed meaning. Jesus pushed Peter aside. He would have nothing to do with Peter’s Way. It was his Father Jesus was to obey. He turned to his disciples and told them plainly the demands for following Him. “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow in my footsteps.” Jesus said, “You must be willing to lose your life for the Gospels sake to save your life.” Acceptance of this meaning must follow any proclamation of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus said it must be so.  There is no other way.


James writes plainly again. This week he asks, “What good is faith without practicing it?” It is like feeling sorry for the homeless and saying some prayers for them, yet not doing one thing to help solve their problems.  James called this type of faith “thoroughly lifeless.”

In some places in the world the mere proclamation of Jesus’ name is enough to bring on suffering and the cross. Not so in our Great Nation. Our hard-fought freedom of religion is now part of our democratic tradition.   It is the envy of many throughout the world. Yet, this freedom has its dark side. We tend to be a people of faith who are long on proclamation and short on acceptance. This kind of faith lacks the practice to back it up. It is what James calls “thoroughly lifeless.” TV evangelists aside, we have a long way to go.


88 08 29


This week there was a major shakeup here at the camp.  I was reassigned to the Power House. The camp is short of inmates. The camp administrator eliminated all so-called, non-essential jobs in education, recreation and religion. Rehabilitation is just a word, a word with little or no meaning here. This is a work camp whose main purpose is to help sustain the ongoing lockdown at the prison next door.

I spent my first three days on a crew cleaning the inside of a 100-foot coal silo.  After several years of use, coal cakes on the inside walls of the silo and must be scraped off. Equipped with overalls, gloves, headgear, air mask and safety rope, we climb into the silo from the top and work our way down.  The work is hard, dirty and a tad bit dangerous.  They say a little hard work never hurt anyone.  I hope that means priests too. I’m holding my own.  It sure is a drastic change from the education job.  I am grateful the camp administrator kept his word and did not send me inside the prison to work.


88 08 29


As many of you already know, I’m now going to do the entire six months, day for day.  That means I will hit the streets on October 11th, exactly one month from the time you read this bulletin.  Personally, I’ll do all right.  I’m worried about you all.  It’s been a long haul.  You need an ‘in the body’ priest to be with you.  As long as you are holding on, I’ll do OK.  Let us continue to keep each other in prayer….I miss you all a bunch!



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