An American Via Dolorosa

During Lent I have a few music selections that I return to: Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, Winton Marsalis’ From the Plantation to the Penitentiary, and Bach’s St. John’s Passion. Each one helps me enter the season of suffering and joy in a unique way–blending the Christendom culture of Old Europe with our own gritty history to form a Via Dolorosa that is distinctly American.

This Holy Week I am remembering Martha Hennessy (Dorothy Day’s granddaughter) who, with others, is fasting in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

John Dear, Catholic peace activist, wrote a touching commentary in the National Catholic Reporter this week reflecting on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and what happens when we experience betrayal by our Church. Below is an excerpt:

Sometimes I think every follower of the nonviolent Jesus sooner or later experiences betrayal from the church. And perhaps we betray others, too. We do not suffer the great mythic betrayal that Jesus underwent, of course, but we do experience small betrayals. As we watch the breakdown of the institutional church and the expansion of our war-making empire, we might ask ourselves: When have we been betrayed? Who betrayed us and how? How did we respond to the little betrayals we experienced within the church? Have we been as nonviolent as Jesus? More, whom have we betrayed? These are important Lenten questions to ponder.

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