Apr 21, 2011

BEYOND DEATH: ¨...What no thief or time can steal from us, the love we have generously received and given...¨ Father Geoff Farrow

¨This week both Passover and Easter are commemorated by observant Jews and Christians throughout the world. What meaning do these “Holy Days” have for contemporary people who do not share the theological beliefs of orthodox believers?

Passover is the commemoration of the liberation of the Jewish slaves from tyranny. While that sounds wonderful, the story as related in the Torah (Bible) contains implications that make this less and less of a fantastic story and bears a strong resemblance to the human reality even today. The freed slaves find themselves in the middle of a desert facing a lifetime of uncertainty and difficulties, sound familiar? I have written on this subject before, if you wish to revisit those thoughts, follow this jump.

Christian Holy Week is bookended by Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. It is connected to the Passover, since the young Rabbi Jesus was visiting Jerusalem to observe the Passover with his disciples. There is a layering of new significance onto the older significance of the Passover.

The crowds jubilantly welcome Jesus as a Liberator/King on Palm Sunday. The popular opinion/understanding was that he would eject the Roman occupiers of Jerusalem and restore the Davidic Kingdom. Through this Kingdom and its expansion, Israel would fulfill her role in Salvation history by imposing the Covenant on the pagans (at the point of the sword).

This, was never the divine plan, according to the Prophet Isaiah (42: 43) and to Luke (2: 34), the Messiah of God would invite inner spiritual conversion and not impose external conformity. Not a crowd-pleasing plan, as the elderly priest Simeon prophesied in Luke’s Gospel, this was not the Messiah the crowds expected (or wanted). He still is not, people want the “Shell Answer Man and Julius Caesar” all rolled up in a neat package. Evil should be defined as people elsewhere, someone not like us (me). Evil should never be defined as something we each have to personally face and overcome within ourselves. That requires something of me, far too much work and highly disquieting.

In the course of the week, Jesus fails to deliver, 1) what people want, 2) how they want it, and of course, 3) on their timetable. The religious and political authorities of the day seize this golden opportunity to eliminate Jesus and maintain the status quo, along with their power, wealth and social status. The same crowds that shouted praise at Jesus on Palm Sunday shout jeers at him on Good Friday. This resonates with a truth about popular opinion; it is fickle and more often driven by emotion than by reason.

Another truth about human life revealed on Good Friday, is when Jesus is stripped of his garments. Life does that to each of us. Everything we think is essential for our life and happiness is slowly stripped away from us with the passage of years. Our youth, friends, loved ones, health, mobility, independence and in many cases and our other half. We, like Jesus, are left naked and in that nakedness discover what is truly essential. What no thief or time can steal from us, the love we have generously received and given. If you doubt this, or consider it emotional hyperbole, spend a day in the local oncology ward of your closest hospital...¨ please read it all HERE

·  Thanks to Father Geoff Farrow, sidebar


Fred Schwartz said...

You paint wit hwords as well as with brush!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Thanks Fred, but this time I´m mostly sharing the best of the todays best and that would be the words of Fr. Geoff Farrow who originally had a RC Parish near you (Fresno, I think).