Sunday, April 01, 2007

Who are the palms for?

Just read a remarkable and uncomfortable post on the Country Contemplative's blog.

Don says, "At Mass today the Passion was read and during its reading and Fr. Bob’s homily I came to realize a significant point, at least for me. The crucified Jesus has become and abstraction. We go to Mass, go through the motions, worship the crucified Savior and don’t see the crucified in our midst. They include the folks on welfare, the wounded and crippled soldiers of our armies, the gay people, the disenfranchised of every sort. They are the crucified today. They are the presence of Jesus in our midst. Whoever is the acceptable victim in our midst can be the crucified Christ for us."

"To accept that sometimes we have to stir up trouble and become very unpopular is to take up a Cross. In Brazil the Bishop said, 'When I give money to the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why they are poor, they call me a Communist.' Surely this is the Franciscan way." Tim Tucker, Slogans and Labels, TSSF Studies UK.

To worship the crucified Christ in spirit and in truth is to see the crucified everywhere. Surely that is the point of Jesus' saying, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (Mt 25:40) And surely Paul's great concern for the poor and the marginalised in the very early church came from his decision "to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Cor 2:2)

Jesus came that all who believe in him might not perish, and died that all might be free. His death is for, first of all, those who know no freedom. It doesn't matter whether slavery is the 18th century variety, or whether it is more up to date sexual or economic slavery, it is still radical unfreedom. And the Gospel is radical freedom. As Jesus quoted himself (Luke 4:18ff, quoting Isaiah 61)

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour."


  1. Thanks for posting and writing even more. I enjoy what you have written and it means even more that you are a TSSF. I have read some about the TSSF, but I don't know much about how we are similar. Have a blessed Holy Week. :-) Don

  2. Thank you, Don - you have a blessed one too!

    We're pretty similar, I think, at least we are in the UK: to the extent that a Secular Franciscan from the RC church in our village attends the local TSSF group, it being much closer than her own nearest group... We're all just "following Francis following Christ..."