Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Passion of the Christ Arrives Early

The news is grim this weekend before Holy Week. No time for palm frond processions. An orgy of gunfire has engulfed our nation producing the following:

WEEK OF SHOOTINGS (as compiled and observed only by BBC)

  • Sat 4 April: Gunman kills three policemen in Pittsburgh before being wounded and captured
  • Fri 3 April: Gunman kills 13 people at an immigration centre in Binghamton, New York state, then apparently shoots himself

  • Sun 29 March: Gunman kills seven elderly residents and a nurse at a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina, then is shot and wounded himself

  • Sun 29 March: Man kills five relatives and himself in Santa Clara, California

The details are filled with sadness, loss and mindless violence:

  • Binghamton shooting victims came from 8 nations BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — People from eight countries have been identified as the victims of a deadly rampage at an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y. Police said Sunday that four of the victims were from China and two were from the United States. Two more were from Vietnam, including the gunman. Two were from Haiti. The remaining four were from Pakistan, the Philippines, Iraq and Brazil.
    Police say 41-year-old Jiverly Wong burst into the American Civic Association on Friday morning and opened fire with two handguns. He then took his own life. Four people remain hospitalized and are expected to recover.

  • Three officers die in US shooting Three police officers have been killed by a gunman in Pittsburgh - the second mass shooting in the US in 24 hours.
    The officers were responding to an emergency call from the house of the gunman, named as Richard Poplawski, 23. Police said he was waiting, armed with rifles and a bulletproof vest. He shot two officers as they entered the house, and a third who tried to help them.
    He then traded gunfire with police for four hours before being injured and giving himself up.
    His friends said he had recently lost his job, and was worried that US President Barack Obama was about to ban guns. The shooting comes a day after a gunman killed 13 people in New York state.
    Another man who said he was a friend of Mr Poplawski, Aaron Vire, told the newspaper: "He said he'll be ready if there's ever an invasion of the United States and that he had stockpiled foods and guns for that eventuality."

The carnage continues today.....

  • Police: Washington father killed 5 children, self because wife said she was leaving him 4:21 PM EDT, April 5, 2009
    GRAHAM, Wash. (AP) — Investigators believe a man fatally shot his five children in their home and killed himself after he found out his wife was leaving him for another man, a sheriff's spokesman said Sunday.

  • Teen shot to death following talent show in Lauderdale Lakes
    Robbery and shooting happened in front of Boyd Anderson High 9:26 PM EDT, April 4, 2009 LAUDERDALE LAKES - Gregory Smith, 16, had just finished rapping at a Friday night talent show and was waiting for a ride home with friends outside Boyd Anderson High School.A hard-top Ford Mustang, dark green or dark blue, pulled up in front of Smith and his three friends at 1 a.m. Saturday, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.The men demanded money from the group standing on the sidewalk on the 4100 block of Northwest 29th Avenue. Smith and his friends cooperated, officials said.Then Smith was shot and killed.
    It was the first official day of spring break.
The Passion of the Christ has come early this year. Jesus is crucified in our cities, in our homes and on our streets. On this day when his entry into Jerusalem to shouts of "Hosanna!" will soon be followed by angry cries of "Crucify him!" Jesus is gunned down in family homes, in public fora, on city streets. Jesus, our brother, our Lord, feels his life energies draining away, collecting in pools of blood.

Like the fearful Judean populace, languishing under Roman imperial rule, America is held hostage by its own fears. Arming itself to the teeth, more than one of every two Americans brandishes weapons, trying to convince themselves that their weapons will save them. But they don't. And now who saves us from these armed fearful people?

Must we continue crucifying Jesus in our brothers and sisters (when you do it unto the least of them, you do it unto me)? Will there be no repentance, no turning around? Will the crucifying never end? Will there be no resurrection?

Jesus said:

I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some you will slaughter and crucify, some you will scourge in your synagogues and hunt from town to town;
35 and so you will draw down on yourselves the blood of every upright person that has been shed on earth, from the blood of Abel the holy to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
36 In truth I tell you, it will all recoil on this generation.

37 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you refused!
38 Look! Your house will be deserted...

A thought this Holy Week for we oh-so-very-holy Americans - 74% of whom call ourselves Christians - who live in this self-proclaimed Christian nation with the temerity to demand "God Bless America!" - Have we killed enough people yet to admit we have a problem?

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.


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