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Sunday, May 30, 2004
Spirit of the Founding Time
Challenge for Today

"John the Baptist sent two men to the Lord to ask,
"Are you the one who was to come,
or should we expect someone else?"
When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist
sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come,
or should we expect someone else?' "
Jésus replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John
what you have seen and heard:
The blind receive sight, the lame walk,
those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
and the good news is preached to the poor." (Luke 7: 19-22)

That was the work of the Spirit in the man Jesus.
The same Spirit is at work today in the movement Jesus got going
throughout the earth

But: who are the sick and who are the healers?

The blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf, the dead, the poor…
are they a social, physical category only?

I think not. Sometimes it's me sometimes it's you
sometimes it's they and sometimes it's we

Sometimes we need healing and sometimes we heal
The Spirit of Love - today's pentecostal vibration - is actualised
when we try to love each other and to show it. That is healing!

Enjoy Pentecost's gentle wind! Let it blow warm and strong

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Flames and wind!

This God experience called Pentecost, happens in our lives, I think,
when, suddenly you know you just have got to roll up your sleeves
and get things done. Without counting the cost! Whole heartedly.

You have experienced the reality, social, political, cultural, economic
and even religious, you have lived the reality together with others
and you see and fathom the gap there is between God's idea of the "Kingdom"
and this very reality.

The highly educated look down on poor and ignorant
the powerful reign over the powerless
the well integrated push aside the foreigners
the rich despise the poor
and the hirarchical Church leaders fail to meet Jesus at grassroot!

Jesus lived in such a social reality. He lives on today.
He proclaimed the Good News that "another world is possible",

that we are brothers and sisters, that we are equal in our Abba's eyes,
that we have a common destiny, that, if we share whatever we can share
He is with and in us!

The system killed Jesus. He lives on this very day!
His burning Spirit is the wind that blows in our hearts and soul
and inflames us to continue his Mission.
The Spirit blows over the world…
a breath of tenderness in any relationship…
and the world around and beyond us looks more human,
that is more divine.

Happy Pentecost

Thursday, May 27, 2004
Amnesty International

Yesterday, 26th May, the 2004 annual report of Amnesty International
was made available to the public.
The terrorists, using any means to spread terror, are mentioned,
and the governments using any anti terrorist means are mentioned.
AI condemns the murder of the UNO reprentative in Bagdad
as it condemns the USA for its war against terrorism in Irak.

For years, I have been consulting, on and off the AI documents,
to learn more about the socio political, cultural,
religious and economic realities of the asylum seekers
I met and tried to help in this country, Switzerland,
where they are not easily welcomed!

We thank all the people working in AI, here and beyond!
A tough job that forces one to touch man's cruelty to man,
as we never stop dreaming of a better world,
and working to construct it. Praying too.

I think, this better will remain an empty dream until,
politically :
"nations will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nations will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war" (Is 2:4 and Mi 4:3)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

>"Do you love me?"

St Sulpice near Lausanne
Third Easter Sunday, 10.30 a.m.
Ecumenical cult in the Reformed Temple

A group of pilgrims en route for Compostella from Lucerne,
invited me to join them in St Sulpice Reformed Temple
in the vicinity of Lausanne, where they were to arrive for
the 10.30 ecumenical service.

I was there long before the time. In the Temple, a breath
of peaceful tenderness inundated me, a warm friendship
that seemed to bent over me from the austere vaults
of this beautiful Temple! Time no longer existed.
Being was praying.

They then arrived, pilgrims and parishioners, and got ready,
body and soul, for the common prayer.
Just a few flowers, one candle only, chairs in circle around
a wooden table for the shared meal. Like the breakfast Jesus had
with his friends on the Tiberias' shore.
A catholic man priest and a protestant woman pastor. Hand in hand!

On the lake shore, Jesus and Peter talked to each other
for the last time on this earth. What did they say?
John 21:15, "Jesus said to Peter, do you love me?"
Answer: "Yes I do, you know that!"

Allright Peter, you passed your final exam successfully.
Go now and live out that Good News, proclaiming to every man alive
on this earth the most important question: "Do you love me?"

You see: it isn't first a matter of knowledge, dogmas, doctrine,
competence, doctorates and the rest, that matters.
The sine qua non qualification simply is the honest, earnest answer
to the question: "Do you love me?"
"ME" whom you will find in the little people of the earth
until the end of the world… If you can say "Yes, I do". Then go
to all nations and spread the message of the sharing of ahard won bread.
What vigour! What bliss!

Imagine Jesus asking the same question to me, to you, to priests and pastors. Who would qualify for preaching the Good News in our hirarchical ridden society today?

I came back from St Sulpice comforted, strengthened and thinking of my own answer, sometimes in so feeble a voice, to Jesus' question.

Saturday, May 22, 2004
Cannes Film festival

Just a few hours ago, the "Palme d'Or" of the 57th edition
of the Festival de Cannes was attributed to "Fahrenheit 9/11"
by Michael Moore.

*Quite some years past, I saw "Roger and me",
a Film realised by Michael Moore about whom I never had heard a word!
This movie attempted to show the daily reality of General Motors workers
in the USA et elsewhere in the world. Dismissals, joblessness,
homelessness, and the consequences!
Having worked in industrial zones in Southern Africa,tThe picture,
for me, was so true to life!

*Later on, the world was appalled at the sight
of the Columbine school wild killing! M. Moore revisited the tragedy
in "Bowling for Columbine". I saw the film.
Again having lived in an apartheid land and time, where rifles
of all sorts were bought on the open market "for use"(!)and having seen
the ravages it did in the mind and soul of anguished children
and parents, it seemed to me that the film could and would bring about
a heightened consciousness of the danger of violence and a desire to work
together for Peace.

*Tonight I heard some virulent critics
of M. Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", qualifying the film:
an anti-Bush propaganda trick. Is it, really?
On november 11th 2001, I happened to be in one of the Fribourg
regional hospital waiting room with TV turned on. We saw, live,
we were told, the crumbling down in flames of the huge towers
and people jumping through the windows, to rather die smashed
on the ground than burnt alive!
I thought, it can't be true, that must a terror film.
Yet it was only too true!
Today, it seems at the same time courageous and daring
to make a movie of the tragedy. Yet to put the event in context,
to try analyse what led to it and where it leads us to, worldwide,
seems deserving of acknowledgement. Or a palm.
Also knowing that "no prophet is accepted in his own country,be it USA!".
Michael Moore dedicated the golden palm to children in the USA and Irak.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Ascension (continued)

To receive a critical feedback to an entry in the Blog is an
encouragement to deeper and more earnest reflection. It opens a window
to new horizons! Thank you to my partners in dialogue!

Here goes! Children, and even grown-ups, often, still visualise
the ascension of Jesus as a "climbing to the heights".
Many have told me so. A going up to heaven leaving earth below.
A sort of hierarchical ladder. In my concordance (Jerusalem Bible)
the word Ascension does not appear. The nearest, being "ascendant"
(Si 9:2 in French).

As so many os us believe, know and experience, Jesus is actively present
and alive on our earth today. He didn't leave our planet
as I heard a priest say at this morning Mass today.

Since the moment he disappeared, in some mysterious way,
from the eyes of his friends, He truly is, for them, and now for us,
for me, a tremendous energy for action for a more humane world!
Fire. Burning on and on and on!

"I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish
it were blazing already" (Lc 12:49).

But to what purpose? Simply, as I see and experience it:
to allow LOVE to be, to create, to heal. As the inflamed Paul of Tarsus
proclaimed to the Corinthians:

"Prophecies, tongues, knowledge and much more… all that will vanish.
There are three things that last: faith, hope and love and the greatest
of these is love" (1 Co 13: 1-13).

First then, love: "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Lc 10:27).
And who is the neighbour? It simply isn't anyone and no one!
Jesus tells a story to explain what he means:
"The good Samaritan" (Lc 10:29-37).
It is crystal clear isn't? We know the story by heart!

Jesus further indicates the criteria of admission
into heaven for all of us:

"Then the King will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matthew 25: 34,35).

Oh! yes, but "When did we do all that? many of us will ask.
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes
and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did
for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"
(Matthew 25: 38-40).

There we've got the quadrature of the circle!
Is it that difficult? Isn't logical after all.
We all so crave to be loved… as we love!

So the day the aramaïc Jesus disappeared from his beloved friends' sight
(the ascension), He reminded us that he lives on, suffering,
hoping, struggling, dying, rising in his
"least brothers of him and of us".
Normally those little pople are Jesus himself.
He identified with them. He said it clearly.
That is His real presence amongst us:
often crouching at the lowest step of the hierarchical ladder.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Ascension 2004

When Steve Biko died (as a result of torture from the South African police)
on September 12th 1977, Grassroot people all over the land
"knew he was risen"
and lived on in their hearts, as a tremensous energy to continue the struggle.

Idem with Archbishop of San Salvador,
Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez ... 24 March 1980:
"If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people".

Long before that our Yeshuah had said: "… And they shall mock him,
and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him:
and the third day he shall rise again...."

And so it happened. His friends felt his tremendous energy
burning on in their hearts for days on end. Forty days, says the Scriptures.
(So many times 40 in the Bible!).

And then, on a certain day, near Bethany, his friends realised they have to get to work, building His kingdom as He had begged them to do!

The angels spoke with a loud voice:
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?"
Act 1:11

They are, from now on, to look down to the grassroots, to the little people,
the prisoners, the excluded, and there, they are to burn on and on and on -
building a better world - until they burn out!

That is indeed ASCENSION up side down… Gospel Truth!
Happy feast!

Monday, May 17, 2004
2010 World Cup, continued

It is such a wonderful experience to get feedback to an entry in the Blog
that I hasten to pick it up in a most simple way. "I'll do it my way".
Explaning why I felt like the township people when FIFA's president showed (on TV):

South Africa!

Looking back just a little:
football (or soccer) in South Africa: in 1950 I was teaching
in a black township Secondary Mission school, near Pretoria.
It was fun, vibrating, hard, harsh, exhilarating, meaningful and
much more still!

At break and after school, during the weekends,
football was the young people's sport.
On the dirt roads also named streets, on the squares,
on some rough grass man made football fields with four sticks
to mark the goal places.
A ball, and what hand made balls we had. And there you go:
kicking with your bare feet, how the boys big toes resisted
I do not know to this day! Winning, losing, cheering and fighting,
too, at times as when the catholic team lost to the dutch reformed team.
Gee! That was real fun! After a game or two the ball was in shreds! And mended.

Healthy sport. You see. Little people' sport! That's what football is
in our beloved South Africa! Surplus people's sport, later on
when they were forcibly moved from their township to some
God forsaken dumping grounds! The football game went with the people
and the play went on! Surviving oxygen!

Later on it became more sophisticated according to "foreign lands' standards".
No problem with that at all. The footbal games goes on in the townships
as well as in the huge stadiums even today.

You see, Kyalami motor racing course, horse breeding, racing and "betting",
hockey, cricket, golf, rugby, tennis, swimming and the rest! All that was,
and still mostly is, duly practised by the rich people…
We were and are not jealous. Let them play, may be we'll do that later.

For now: football is fun. It breaks down barriers,
it fosters a community spirit!
Football was and still is the poor people's wonderful sport!

So when on the May 15th, I saw Madiba weeping, holding firmly, lovingly,
the 2010 World Cup emblem, I exactly knew what made him tick, laugh, weep: his people!
I too, shed a tear! Cheers!

Sunday, May 16, 2004
Former South African president Nelson Mandela
holds the Jules Rimet World Cup on Saturday at the Fifa
headquarters in Zurich after the world soccer governing body
announced that South Africa will host the 2010 Soccer World Cup,
the first to be played in Africa. (Franck Fife, from AFP)

When we are saturated with pain, the pain of suffering people,
the pain of a suffering world, it is, Oh!, so life giving
to hear our dear Rainbow Nation explode in Joy at the news!
Surely God is in the picture and
"plays soccer with those who play soccer tonight!"
and in 2010!
Cheers! Madiba, cheers! Fellow South Africans!

Sea and mourning

You have mourned, all of you. No doubt!
We all have mourned or are presently mourning
getting use to a loss, a void, a starless hole, a grave
getting use to an invisible presence
because we know Life goes on and he /she lives on
as never before, as you will soon… or late

but you stay put meanwhile in this vale of tears
desiring death and fearing death
all in one same human breath
in one single heartbeat

a pitch black sea of turbulent waves
your soul's picture of pain, rising sinking
a crest a cave a frail sailing boat tossed about
sinking yet not drowning, not yet

until the shore beyong whispers:
Peace be still and know that I am God
nay, I am LOVE only, nothing else