The Romans will come and take away
our land and our nation.
John 11: 48
The chief priests are afraid of the consequences of Jesus’ preaching. They see it as provocative and a threat to the Romans.
How we have domesticated Jesus. He is no longer a threat – neither to our lives nor to the status quo.
Or we see him only in terms of culture wars – rather than in terms of the in-breaking of the Reign of God, the covenant of peace that Ezekiel promised (Ezekiel 37: 26).
Yesterday, walking the Way of the Cross in Dulce Nombre with the parish here, I witnessed all the sin and evil that afflicts us here in Honduras. A story and photos can be found here.
What would happen if we started to live as Jesus called us? What if we lived as people who care more for others than for our selfish interests? What if we lived like Jesus, giving ourselves over to living the mercy and love of God? What if we spoke truth to the powers around us, as Jesus did?
Would we be persecuted as he was?
Would we be maligned and martyred as Monseñor Oscar Romero was. thirty-five years ago?
Or would we be lauded?
Woe to you when people speak well of you! (Luke 6:26)
How can we begin to follow a non-domesticated Jesus – on the Way of the Cross?
Today’s Stations of the Cross in the Dulce Nombre Parish brought me to tears several times.
But what most struck me were the photos and names of people who had been murdered in the past year.
One community has suffered much: four deaths in the last five months – and it’s a community where visitors from the sister parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames helped with the foundations of the church about two years ago.
I realized that I knew one of the persons killed; in fact, we had worked with Daniel on the church building.
I was also struck at the photo of one of the young people killed – so young. He was very recently killed at 17. The photo is from a few years ago and he appears much younger.
I talked several times with the family members. One young man, the son of the man I knew, was especially stricken, many times close to tears. All I could do was put my arm around him. During the greeting of peace, we hugged.
As I look back on this, I realize that one of the most important things we can do is accompany them, to be present to them, to show them that we love them.
How I wished that some members of St. Thomas Aquinas Church or some of my friends could have been there, showing their care by their presence.
We need lots of things here; we need to work on alternatives to violence; we need to find ways that people can improve their lives and the lives of their families.
But I think we also need the accompaniment of people, people willing to be with the people.
More photos of the stations can be found here.
The Spanish text of the stations can be found here: Via Crucis Romero DNM.
This Friday the parish of Dulce Nombre de María, in Dulce Nombre de Copán, Honduras, will pray a parish Way of the Cross in the streets of Dulce Nombre. Until 2012 there were diocesan celebrations of the Way of the Cross in Santa Rosa de Copán.
Diocesan Via Crucis 2009
We have prepared the text [in Spanish] for the Stations from the writings of martyred Salvadoran, archbishop Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, as well as a text for which I do not know the source.
We have also included prayers for the needs of the parish and of Honduras.
You can access the text in Spanish here: Via Crucis Romero DNM
Today, the Catholic Church celebrates Our Lady of Sorrows, recalling how Mary shared in the sorrows of her Son, Jesus.
Here in Central America the feast is over-shrouded by the celebration of independence. There are parades and early morning firecrackers.
Some countries also celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows on the Friday before Palm Sunday. Here in Santa Rosa we have celebrated that feast with the diocesan Stations of the Cross where thousands come from all over the diocese (some traveling six or more hours in bus) to walk the streets and pray the stations.
The stations are most often related to the sufferings and injustices the people suffer. (You can read more about the Stations on my other blog here, here, here, and here.)
What strikes me is how the sufferings of Christ – and of Mary – are related to the sufferings of the people. Christ and Mary are in solidarity with the struggles of the poor.
Shouldn’t we also be in solidarity with them? Isn’t this what the first paragraph of the Second Vatican Council’s “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” [Gaudium et Spes] calls us to be?
The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.
This is for me the meaning of this feast. Sorrows are real but there is hope since Jesus and Mary are with us in our suffering and in the struggle for life and justice.