1988 Aug 9 – 21st Sun Ord Time (Prison Writings)
AUGUST 9, THE 43RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE DROPPING OF THE A –
BOMB ON NAGASAKI, JAPAN
(I asked Larry Morlan to give us a reflection on this week’s Gospel. Larry as you know is a 28-year-old Plowshares activist who is doing six years for his act of disarmament on a missile silo in Missouri. He has been my major support person and prayer partner here at Marion.)
In this gospel, it seems we hear the early community remembering what it had been like to have the person of Jesus among them. They missed this man. As hard as the struggle had been, being one of his following, this man who lived as “the downfall and rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed.” (Lk. 2:34) This man was a unique source of encouragement, “spirit and life” to his friends.
Yet this early community still felt in a powerful way the presence of Jesus–the Risen One. lt was in the ongoing struggle to be faithful to God’s law, in imitation of Christ Jesus that they found their faith confirmed rather than shaken. Even as their hearts were pierced with the sword of God’s law this community exclaims in Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
According to the scriptures eternal life is not something we float into after death, nor do we follow Jesus in hopes of getting into heaven. Rather in Jesus we now experience history as God’ s gift of wellbeing indeed we participate in God’s own life. By submitting to the sanctity of every human life, which is submission to the Law of Love, by enfleshing the Sermon on the Mount, we leave the land of slavery and enter into the Holy Land, into God ‘s own house.
This is the experience of Christ Jesus as the sacrament of God and us, as church being the sacrament of Christ. God is closer to us than the deepest intimacy of wife and husband. God’s presence is our refuge–is Life itself.
By baptism into Christ we travel from slavery to consumer gods into freedom, the freedom of sisters and brothers who are citizens of God’s household. All creation is holy.
We travel from separateness from “quiet desperation” into unity. The reign of God is within us we are within God. We are holy. Coming together for Eucharist we remember, in a peculiar way, the meal Jesus ate “the night before he died.” So often a guest at meals he who had no roof to
welcome others under that night acted as host, inviting presiding.
Now we are invited into the House of God, this sharing of the one bread and one cup. The House of God is the human family. We are invited to build it up by disassociating ourselves from what breaks people, from injustice and all evil with no regard for consequences. Like Jesus we must seek first to be obedient to the reign of God. We must risk and pray, as did Jesus, that he is with us in the struggle and will provide.
The wondrous hospitality of God, where God is host, fellow quest and our very food. With believers in the Lord Jesus from all ages we break the bread and share the cup and become what we eat and drink.
Now when God sees us God sees in us who God sees and loves in Christ Jesus. Now as we love one another, as we choose life, as we ensure a future for the children “in memory of him” we experience the One in whom we live and move and have our being. “Amen, Come Lord Jesus.” Peace be with you.
88 08 09
VISITS GALORE: This past week was a week of many visits. On Tuesday Marsha Cady and Roger Drial from Channel 3 News in Omaha came down to interview me. I felt it was a good interview and suspect some of you saw it. Hard to say what they finally used. We talked for over an hour and a half. (Kathryn told me it was a good interview except that it sounded like I was going to cross the line again as soon as I get out) This is not true. I certainly plan to cross the line in the future but I have no plans of doing so soon. I fully intend to get back into the full swing of past work and reestablish myself in Harrison County. As long as I am in the Omaha area the S.A.C. campaign will be part of my life but not all of it. On Wednesday, Msgr. Paul Connelly visited. He was on his vacation on his way to Indiana for a workshop. It was good to see Msgr. We never got a chance to say goodbye and put closure to our working together. He looks good and is doing well in Des Moines.
Then on Thursday Fr. Jim Kiernan and Fr. Fred Reischl visited. It was great to see these two guys. We had our first priest team meeting from inside a Fed. Prison Camp. Has to be a first for the Diocese if not the country! Talking to both Fred and Jim got me excited about getting back home. I love them both; they are two very good men and GREAT priests! We lucked out in Harrison Co. There will be some changes in our understanding of Team ministry, which is to be expected with a change of two priests. Whatever the changes, I am sure, you will come to Love these two men as much as I do. When they left to go home I got another acute case of homesickness. I will need to sit on my emotions in this regard. They say the two most difficult times in serving TIME are at the beginning and at the end. The closer I get to freedom the longer the days drag on. Einstein was right when he said TIME was elastic-it can shrink and it can stretch. The more I think about getting out the longer the time stretches for me.
04 05 02
TRAGEDIES HIT A COUPLE OF INMATES: The one thing a man dreads the most when in prison is that something terrible would happen to a loved one and they cannot be there to share it with them. This happened to two inmates here this week. Dennis, my cube neighbor lost his 13-year-old son, when a train hit him while he was on a motorbike. Another fellow inmate’s wife and friend were seriously hurt in a car wreck just outside the prison grounds right after a visit. The authorities let Dennis go home on an emergency furlough. Dusty, whose wife is still in a local hospital in serious condition was not allowed to go see her. It’s a real shame. I had a chance to talk to both of these men. It’s a helpless feeling. The best I could do was to share the moment with them.
88 08 09 – Prison Garden
AUGUST DOES HAVE ITS BENEFITS:
The one good thing about August here are the inmates gardens are coming into their own. Guys are bringing peppers and zucchini to supper to help supplement our otherwise institutional diet. The big item is the tomatoes. There are a lot of them and there is no way to store them. Most are generous with their abundant produce.
NOTE: Fr. Frank asked me to let you know we have been working to get him an early release date so he can get back to his parish. Others and I have written letters to Magistrate Kopf, prison officials and others. Finally, last week the Magistrate signed new orders to the Bureau of Prisons. The Bureau has chosen to ignore the orders. Because many courts have declared the law Fr. Frank was sentenced under unconstitutional and the prison officials do not know how to administrate the law we thought we had a chance. To no avail though. Right now the release date is Sept.24. 0nly another thirty days to go. Fr. Frank has been keeping the parish in his daily prayers. We need to do the same for him.