1988 Dec 25 – Christmas (Bulletin Letters)
Lk 2, 1 – 14
“SHE GAVE BIRTH TO HER FIRSTBORN SON AND WRAPPED HIM IN SWADDLING CLOTHES AND LAID HIM IN A MANGER. ” LUKE 2 / 7:
The stories of Jesus’ birth are found only in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each one tells the Christmas tale from a different perspective. Luke’s infant narratives are told from the perspective of two pregnant women, Elizabeth and Mary. These two women are the main characters of Luke’s infant narratives. The events surrounding their pregnancies and the birth of their two sons make up the bulk of Luke’s infant narrative. This is in keeping with one of Luke’s major themes throughout his Gospel that when God the Almighty, the Creator of the universe acts in human history he acts through the most vulnerable, weak and obscure members of the human family. This contrast between the all-powerful and the all powerless is no better demonstrated than in today’s Gospel story of the birth of Jesus. Caesar Augustus, the most powerful man on earth calls for a census to be taken. The whole world must obey. The town of Bethlehem was about as far away from the centers of worldly power as one can be. Yet, the people of Bethlehem must obey Caesar’s command. Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem to be counted. It is the law. Too poor to buy their way into the local inn, Mary is forced to give birth to Jesus, the Savior of the World, in a manger on the edge of town in a town on the fringe of the Roman Empire.
These humble beginnings do not dampen the joy experienced in Heaven. So excited was God about the birth of his Son, God sent a multitude of the heavenly angels to fill the skies surrounding Bethlehem with the first and greatest Christmas concert. A special effects display, that would rival anyth1ng movie wizards do in today’s theaters. A heavenly concert that only a few scattered shepherds could enjoy. Shepard’s were so insignificant Caesar’s census did not even bother to have them counted.
88 12 25
A. IS VINDICTIVE: The Federal District Attorney in Omaha has no cause to keep Mike Palecek in Jail. Mike is a prisoner of conscience. Mike was acting on his conscience when he crossed the line at S.A.C. No one was hurt. No property was destroyed. The whole effort of crossing the line at Offutt takes but a few minutes of the authority’s time to accommodate. A line crosser has little more than no effect on the overall mission of S.A. C. Headquarters.
Other than line crossing, Mike Palecek poses no threat to the community.
Last week Mike promised never to cross the line at S.A.C. again. Mike is experiencing deep emotional and mental anguish in jail. He misses his wife, Ruth, and three-year-old son, Sam. Mike is seeing a doctor and is on anti-depressant medications. He has written Judge Storm and the District Attorney’s office promising never to cross the line again. Mike fears long-term damage to his spirit if he remains in jail. Mike is a casualty in the struggle for a Nuclear Free World. He is willing to concede his conscience to the government in order to get out of jail. What more does the Government want from Mike? They have broken his spirit. He will not cross the line again. The Judge could free Mike only if the D.A.’s Office promises not to contest the Judge’s actions. This was done last September for Kevin Maguire, Rich Koeppen and myself in getting us an early release. Judge Storm has indicated that he is willing to release Mike. He needs the assurance of the D.A.’s office not to contest the release. The D.A. refuses to give such assurances. The D.A. has no cause to keep Mike locked up. The D.A.’ s Office is being vindictive.
DEC.28TH FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS: I will be participating in the Retreat and Witness at S .A. C. commemorating the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December27 & 28. This annual Retreat and Witness has been a part of my life for the past nine years. I missed the gathering only once since 1979 when I was locked up at the Federal Prison camp in Leavenworth in December of 1982. I will not be crossing the line this year and will serve as a support person for those who do. There will be a number of people staying with me at the Rectory during this time, mostly Catholic Worker types who are attending the retreat.