Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Christian Carnival fell on a little hard times

but it's reviving and is back. According to Jeremy at Parableman, the 170th Carnival will go on, as the show always must. Details at Parableman about how to get you submissions to this week's host, Brain Cramps for God. [The Carnival address no longer works.......part of the little hard times....]

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another synod's coming up

and your bishop could really use your input.

Here's the guidelines and opening queries for the synod coming in Fall 2008, on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. Your bishop needs to send in his written responses by November. Remember that us layfolk do perceive things much differently than the ordained folk much of the time, and that we need to tell each other, so we all know.

So, try on some of the questions, and if you have good answers, let your bishop know. And pray over the queries for your own edification...... and, when the time comes, pray for the synod.

[by the way, Milwaukeans, our bishops do read their email, and often reply, also. I can't vouch for bishops in other dioceses, but postal mail always works!]

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh, what a couple of weeks!

Went to CJ Pawlak's baptism on Sunday; new pictures are to come real soon now on the Pawlaks' blog Modern Commentaries. Bright Sunday is a wonderful day for a baby's baptism.

Have spent the last two weeks getting a refinance on the little anchor hold, having the porch rebuilt, an electric porchlift (a small outdoor elevator) installed, and today I took delivery of a beautiful reconditioned used Pride Maxima mobility scooter. I practice-drove around the neighborhood for three hours and am beginning to get the knack of it. Tomorrow or Saturday, I try to get on a city bus..... and if I'm successful, I'll scoot to church on Sunday.

No more waiting on the tenant or imposing on the next-door neighbors to lift the wheelchair or walker up and down the porch steps, and no more calling taxicabs to go around the block! Hip Hip Hooray, Sweet Liberation!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

pray for courageous bishops everywhere

[hat tip: cathworker listserv and www.justpeace.org]

'God Hears The Cry Of The Oppressed'
Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference


This Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference was formally released on the 5 April, Holy Thursday Mass evening, in every Catholic Church in Zimbabwe.

Please spread word about the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Zimbabwe, on Saturday, 14 April 2007

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (Harare) DOCUMENT March 30, 2007

Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference on the Current Crisis of Our Country Holy Thursday, 5 April 2007

As your Shepherds we have reflected on our national situation and, in the light of the Word of God and Christian Social Teaching, have discerned what we now share with you, in the hope of offering guidance, light and hope in these difficult times.

The Crisis

The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. More and more people are getting angry, even from among those who had seemed to be doing reasonably well under the circumstances. The reasons for the anger are many, among them, bad governance and corruption. A tiny minority of the people have become very rich overnight, while the majority are languishing in poverty, creating a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Our Country is in deep crisis. A crisis is an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty. Yet, it can also be turned into a moment of grace and of a new beginning, if those responsible for causing the crisis repent, heed the cry of the people and foster a change of heart and mind especially during the imminent Easter Season, so our Nation can rise to new life with the Risen Lord.

In Zimbabwe today, there are Christians on all sides of the conflict; and there are many Christians sitting on the fence. Active members of our Parish and Pastoral Councils are prominent officials at all levels of the ruling party. Equally distinguished and committed office-bearers of the opposition parties actively support church activities in every parish and diocese. They all profess their loyalty to the same Church. They are all baptised, sit and pray and sing together in the same church, take part in the same celebration of the Eucharist and partake of the same Body and Blood of Christ. While the next day, outside the church, a few steps away, Christian State Agents, policemen and soldiers assault and beat peaceful, unarmed demonstrators and torture detainees. This is the unacceptable reality on the ground, which shows much disrespect for human life and falls far below the dignity of both the perpetrator and the victim.

In our prayer and reflection during this Lent, we have tried to understand the reasons why this is so. We have concluded that the crisis of our Country is, in essence, a crisis of governance and a crisis of leadership apart from being a spiritual and moral crisis.

A Crisis of Governance

The national health system has all but disintegrated as a result of prolonged industrial action by medical professionals, lack of drugs, essential equipment in disrepair and several other factors.

In the educational sector, high tuition fees and levies, the lack of teaching and learning resources, and the absence of teachers have brought activities in many public schools and institutions of higher education to a standstill. The number of students forced to terminate their education is increasing every month. At the same time, Government interference with the provision of education by private schools has created unnecessary tension and conflict.

Public services in Zimbabwe's towns and cities have crumbled. Roads, street lighting, water and sewer reticulation are in a state of severe disrepair to the point of constituting an acute threat to public health and safety, while the collection of garbage has come to a complete standstill in many places. Unabated political interference with the work of democratically elected Councils is one of the chief causes of this breakdown.

The erosion of the public transport system has negatively affected every aspect of our Country's economy and social life. Horrific accidents claim the lives of dozens of citizens each month.

Almost two years after the Operation Murambatsvina, thousands of victims are still without a home. That inexcusable injustice has not been forgotten.

Following a radical land reform programme seven years ago, many people are today going to bed hungry and wake up to a day without work. Hundreds of companies were forced to close. Over 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe are without employment. Scores risk their lives week after week in search of work in neighbouring countries.

Inflation has soared to over 1,600 per cent, and continues to rise, daily. It is the highest in the world and has made the life of ordinary Zimbabweans unbearable, regardless of their political preferences. We are all concerned for the turnaround of our economy but this will remain a dream unless corruption is dealt with severely irrespective of a person's political or social status or connections.

The list of justified grievances is long and could go on for many pages. The suffering people of Zimbabwe are groaning in agony: "Watchman, how much longer the night"? (Is 21:11).

A Crisis of Moral Leadership

The crisis of our Country is, secondly, a crisis of leadership. The burden of that crisis is borne by all Zimbabweans, but especially the young who grow up in search of role models. The youth are influenced and formed as much by what they see their elders doing as by what they hear and learn at school or from their peers. If our young people see their leaders habitually engaging in acts and words which are hateful, disrespectful, racist, corrupt, lawless, unjust, greedy, dishonest and violent in order to cling to the privileges of power and wealth, it is highly likely that many of them will behave in exactly the same manner. The consequences of such overtly corrupt leadership as we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today will be with us for many years, perhaps decades, to come. Evil habits and attitudes take much longer to rehabilitate than to acquire. Being elected to a position of leadership should not be misconstrued as a licence to do as one pleases at the expense of the will and trust of the electorate.

A Spiritual and Moral Crisis

Our crisis is not only political and economic but first and foremost a spiritual and moral crisis. As the young independent nation struggles to find its common national spirit, the people of Zimbabwe are reacting against the "structures of sin" in our society. Pope John Paul II says that the "structures of sin" are "rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate them and make them difficult to remove. And thus they grow stronger, spread, and become the source of other sins, and so influence people's behaviour." [1]

The Holy Father stresses that in order to understand the reality that confronts us, we must "give a name to the root of the evils which afflict us." [2]. That is what we have done in this Pastoral Letter.

The Roots of the Crisis

The present crisis in our Country has its roots deep in colonial society. Despite the rhetoric of a glorious socialist revolution brought about by the armed struggle, the colonial structures and institutions of pre-independent Zimbabwe continue to persist in our society. None of the unjust and oppressive security laws of the Rhodesian State have been repealed; in fact, they have been reinforced by even more repressive legislation, the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in particular. It almost appears as though someone sat down with the Declaration of Human Rights and deliberately scrubbed out each in turn.

Why was this done? Because soon after Independence, the power and wealth of the tiny white Rhodesian elite was appropriated by an equally exclusive black elite, some of whom have governed the country for the past 27 years through political patronage. Black Zimbabweans today fight for the same basic rights they fought for during the liberation struggle. It is the same conflict between those who possess power and wealth in abundance, and those who do not; between those who are determined to maintain their privileges of power and wealth at any cost, even at the cost of bloodshed, and those who demand their democratic rights and a share in the fruits of independence; between those who continue to benefit from the present system of inequality and injustice, because it favours them and enables them to maintain an exceptionally high standard of living, and those who go to bed hungry at night and wake up in the morning to another day without work and without income; between those who only know the language of violence and intimidation, and those who feel they have nothing more to lose because their Constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes rigged. Many people in Zimbabwe are angry, and their anger is now erupting into open revolt in one township after another.

The confrontation in our Country has now reached a flashpoint. As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the State responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions, banning orders, beatings and torture. In our judgement, the situation is extremely volatile. In order to avoid further bloodshed and avert a mass uprising the nation needs a new people-driven Constitution that will guide a democratic leadership chosen in free and fair elections that will offer a chance for economic recovery under genuinely new policies.

Our Message of Hope: God is always on the Side of the Oppressed

The Bible has much to say about situations of confrontation. The conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed is a central theme throughout the Old and New Testaments.[3]

Biblical scholars have discovered that there are no less than twenty different root words in Hebrew to describe oppression. One example is the Creed of the chosen people, which we read on the First Sunday of Lent:

"My Father was a homeless Aramaean. He went down to Egypt to find refuge there, few in numbers; but there he became a nation, great, mighty and strong. The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders . . " (Deut 26:5b-8).

The Bible describes oppression in concrete and vivid terms: Oppression is the experience of being crushed, degraded, humiliated, exploited, impoverished, defrauded, deceived and enslaved. And the oppressors are described as cruel, ruthless, arrogant, greedy, violent and tyrannical; they are called 'the enemy'. Such words could only have been used by people who in their own lives and history had an immediate and personal experience of being oppressed. To them Yahweh revealed himself as the God of compassion who hears the cry of the oppressed and who liberates them from their oppressors. The God of the Bible is always on the side of the oppressed. He does not reconcile Moses and Pharaoh, or the Hebrew slaves with their Egyptian oppressors. Oppression is sin and cannot be compromised with. It must be overcome. God takes sides with the oppressed. As we read in Psalm 103:6: "God who does what is right, is always on the side of the oppressed". [4]

When confronted with the politically powerful, Jesus speaks the language of the boldest among Israel's prophets. He calls Herod 'that fox' (Lk13:32) and courageously exposes the greed for money, power and adulation of the political elite. And he warns his disciples never to do likewise: "Among the gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor. With you this must not happen. No, the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves" (Lk 22:25-27). And he warns Pilate in no uncertain terms that he will be held to account by God for his use of power over life and death (John 19:11).

Throughout the history of the Church, persecuted Christians have remembered, prayed and sung the prophetic words of Mary:

"[The Lord] has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly. He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty" (Lk1:50-53).

Generations of Zimbabweans, too, throughout their own long history of oppression and their struggle for liberation, have remembered, prayed and sung these texts from the Old and New Testaments and found strength, courage and perseverance in their faith that Jesus is on their side. That is the message of hope we want to convey in this Pastoral Letter: God is on your side. He always hears the cry of the poor and oppressed and saves them.

Conclusion

We conclude our Pastoral Letter by affirming with a clear and unambiguous Yes our support of morally legitimate political authority. At the same time we say an equally clear and unambiguous No to power through violence, oppression and intimidation. We call on those who are responsible for the current crisis in our Country to repent and listen to the cry of their citizens. To the people of Zimbabwe we appeal for peace and restraint when expressing their justified grievances and demonstrating for their human rights.

Words call for concrete action, for symbols and gestures which keep our hope alive. We therefore invite all the faithful to a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Zimbabwe, on Saturday, 14 April 2007. This will be followed by a Prayer Service for Zimbabwe, on Friday, every week, in all parishes of our Country. As for the details, each Diocese will make known its own arrangements.

May the Peace and Hope of the Risen Lord be with you always. Happy Easter.

Prayer For Our Country

God Our Father,
You have given all peoples one common origin,
And your will is to gather them as one family in yourself.
Give compassion to our leaders, integrity to our citizens, and repentance to us all.
Fill the hearts of all women and men with your love
And the desire to ensure justice for all their brothers and sisters
By sharing the good things you give us
May we ensure justice and equality for every human being,
An end to all division, and a human society built on love,
Lasting prosperity and peace for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be to the Father .


+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare (ZCBC President)
+Pius Alec M. Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo
+Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, Bishop of Mutare (ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer)
+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo
+Angel Floro, Bishop of Gokwe (ZCBC Vice President)
+Martin Munyanyi, Bishop of Gweru
+Dieter B. Scholz SJ, Bishop of Chinhoyi
+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange
+Patrick M. Mutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Mutare


References:
[1]John Paul II (1987), Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, paragraph 36
[2]Ibid
[3] The Kairos Document (1985), Challenge to the Church, A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa, p 19 f
[4] The Kairos Document (1985), Challenge to the Church, A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa, p 20 Forward Ever (by any means necessary)! Karen C. Aboiralor

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Christ is Risen!

He is truly risen!

Yes He is
We have seen Him

I thought He was the gardener at first, but then He called me by name and I recognised Him

When I went to anoint the body God's messenger told me He'd meet us in Galilee

The two of us talked Scripture with Him on the road all afternoon, and when we stopped for supper we recognised Him in the breaking of the bread

The bunch of us had locked ourselves in, we didn't want to get arrested, and He came right in to see us, right through the locked door

It was definitely Him we recognised Him we know His voice the wounds are still there and He lives He really does

He met us at the lakeshore and cooked us breakfast after our long night fishing

We know His voice the wounds are there it's definitely Him and He lives!

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This is the night!

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

R. Amen.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

We have an invitation

As we finish preparing to celebrate the Great Paschal Vigil, here is our open invitation, from St. John Chrysostom.

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.

If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.

If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!

"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns!

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.

To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.


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God.....is dead.......?

To all human appearances this day, hope has been crushed, the light extinguished, darkness is triumphant. But, this is only an appearance.

There is one who has guarded the Light with her whole life, who knows that even this cannot be the end, and continues to guard and cherish the Light in her heart as she always has. She waits, and gathers in the crushed and hopeless disciples and encourages them to wait with her and not despair; and so they wait.

the icon Mother of God, Light in All Darkness --- a special treasure of Cathedral Parish

Mother of God, Light in all darkness,
intercede for us.
Be a companion to us,
and bring to our confusion and darkness
the Light you bore,
the Light you guard and cherish.
Although we do not yet see light,
do not let us fall into the abyss,
and assure us that there is still light
until such time as the Light shall return.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

her only-begotten Son

After Jesus died, two very well-placed followers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, got permission to take Jesus' body away, and hurried to the execution site with the minimal requirements for burial.

the pieta, by John Carroll Collier.  The body of Jesus in the lap of His mother, with Joseph of Aramathea reminding her she has to let go, Sabbath is coming.

Sunset, and Sabbath, was approaching too quickly, so they hurriedly prepared the body and put it in a borrowed tomb (was it Joseph's own?) that happened to be nearby. The womenfolk resolved to return right after Sabbath to do a more complete and respectful anointing .....
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what we have done, what He has done

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to God to attain that state wherein we freely cease from fighting. ....Whoever rightly attains to it, does in some degree feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave His life for us. (John Woolman)

Behold, behold, the wood of the cross,
on which is hung our Salvation;
O come, let us adore!
(Liturgy of Good Friday)

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.


image of the crucifixion morphed from a photo of the crucifix of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles California.

O my Lord, Messiah and (truly!) King,
You have been lifted up, and have triumphed.
You Yourself mend our lives, and draw us to Yourself,
and make Yourself our greatest yearning, greatest gift.

We who lifted You up from the earth ---
not far, not nearly to the sky, let alone the heavens ---
intending only evil; or not intending at all, "just following orders,"
just another execution in a busy day

It was for us that You took everything we gave,
that You offered Yourself, unresisting,
(and You, our Messiah and Lord, are God;
You had the power to save Yourself)
so that when we had done our very worst
Your forgiveness and Your triumph would rescue us,
very thankful and truly humble.

We know what we have done.
We know of what we are capable.
We look upon Your cross
and our sin remains before us,
we cannot ignore the truth of ourselves.

We deny You. We are cowards and run away from You.
We drag You all over the city, from courtroom to courtroom.
For You, our King, we weave a crown of thornbush to force upon Your head.
We beat You. We mock You. We parade You through the streets.
We disdignify You, stripping You of everything.
And, clothed only in welts and bruises and Your own blood,
we nail You to a cross to torture You to death.

Our sin is always before us,
and yet,
and yet,
so also is Your mercy,
so also Your forgiveness,
so also Your great offering.

And, in time's fullness,
the sign of Jonah ---
even Death itself is conquered, vanquished;
so we might proceed from life to Life true and eternal,
Life that knows no end.

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it continues, hither and yon

Jesus was marched all over town --- to the High Priest's, to Pilate's palace, to Herod, back to Pilate. He was beaten, then the soldiers had their fun by giving Him a robe and a crown and a sceptre. When that wasn't diverting enough, they banged Him on His crown with His sceptre.

the icon usually called the bridegroom, Jesus with His hands bound and with His royal attire

"My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!"

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

At the olive grove,

quiet, where Jesus took His disciples to watch and pray (and He to agonize, and they to mostly doze); Judas arrives, with company

the kiss of judas, from a fresco by Giotto

and betrays the Lord with a kiss. Placing Jesus in the hands of those who believe Him to be their enemy. It begins.

---------

We humanbeings are expert at betrayal, unfortunately.

The Institution, by Lisa Basarab for Gerard

Like a wrench turned inward
Flashing pain, and gone
Then squeezing, pounding
All of life

A grip of fear so real
That all becomes hell
Swirling, mashing black
In dreams

Nightmares without release
With jeering, fractured finger
Seeping unholy accusation
Pointing, pointing

Like a knife backstabbing
Like a serpent striking
Like a nail in my heart
A plea

To kill my God in me
To sever bonds with Him
And make of me a shade
Pulled so down

Down in mire so weak and pale
The squalid self abyss,
Marrow-deep fatigue (and
Endless night)

No light, no piercing stream of light
No hint of water
For me on a jury's slate
Only guilt

Of my own making, breaking a
Heart so cold from stone
Jabbing guilt, always guilt
Never mercy

Never.

Why no priestly absolution,
Just a toll to pay and pay?
A slim, tortuous road bending
So far, so far

You promised in His words to me
A feast on my return
A fatted calf
Not noose

To string along and up a swaying
Body in surreal ease
Poked like a child on a swing
Whee!

But the glee of games is gone
For my heart's hunt-ripped effigy
Searing, burning,
Flamed

On the spit of upright clerics
Turning folly into shame
Shame, shame!
(An ancient game.)

And so, alone, I hurt
Slipping into nowhere else to go
Except a shrinking Body
Tree-hung

Battered limbs, blood-splashed
Spittle-strewn and slung
With friends looking up
In misery

Save me, sweet Convicted One
In faint aches of rage I spew
that steal Your breath
From mine

Lift the noose away, heal the ache around
To squelch only every urge to bolt
And not Your pain
In me


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Re-presentation: Passover and Eucharist

Jesus and his disciples went to a certain upper room (that happened to be not very far from Jesus' mother's apartment), and there they shared the Passover meal together, and inconceivably more.

The Lord's Supper by Fritz Eichenberg for the Catholic Worker newspaper

As the Passover made each generation of Israel actually present in the exodus from Egypt, so the Eucharist makes us truly present at the Lord's one Sacrifice through all the ages. Remember that it is the evil child who says, "The LORD brought our ancestors out of Egypt." Note, not himself, just his great-great-grands. We are as much present, as much implicated, as our ancestors in the first century AD.

And we believe that it was in this night when the Lord Jesus instituted His first priests in the new covenant, saying to them, "This is My Body... this is My Blood of the new everlasting covenant..... do this in memory of me." [anamnesis, we still call it, it means "to not forget"] Now, of course, this doesn't mean priests are perfect. Even the first ones, Jesus' Twelve, weren't such a great lot. One would sell Jesus for 30 silver pieces before the night was over. Nine others would scamper away like a bunch of scared mice. Another, before morning dawned, would deny repeatedly ever having known Jesus. Yet, they were the ones chosen by our Lord.

[Pray for priests!]
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and He humbled Himself

Jesus was invited to dinner by a well-to-do gentleman, Simon the Pharasee, one day. The dinner party was crashed by a woman of rotten reputation. When Simon asked why Jesus did not rebuke this sinner-woman: Quit harrassing her! You invited Me to dinner, and didn't even provide a basin for Me to rinse My dusty feet, yet she has been washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair, and she has not stopped kissing them since she got in here. She loves much; she has been forgiven much. Those who are stingy with their love will receive stingy forgiveness .......

It wasn't all that much later



that Jesus took up a towel and basin, and got down on the floor, and performed for His disciples that menial guest-service that was one of the less-enviable chores of the most junior house-servant, washing the dust and grime from their feet in those days of open sandals and dirt roads.

This is My command: that you love one another.

The one who would lead must be the servant of all, the slave of all.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Triduum is here

and I get to attend!

I've been grounded for the last two weeks with leaky skin lesions. Antibiotics, leg elevation, try not to leave too many puddles.... but this time it was stopped _before_ catching MRSA or Strep G. My followup appointment was today, and I've been declared healthy and cleared to be out in public again. So, Triduum, here I come! (Not even to mention CJ Pawlak's baptism come Bright Sunday!)

I also sign the final papers for my porchlift financing tomorrow morning, so the porchlift should be installed by farmers' market season.

And, when I left for the doctor's this morning, both rhubarbs were sprouted out of dormancy. Spring is definitely on its way when the rhubarbs wake up.

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