Home Homilies Michael Whelan SM, PhD Passion (Palm) Sunday (13 April 2014)

Passion (Palm) Sunday (13 April 2014)

The Passion according to Matthew (26:14-27:66) is proclaimed.

“The memory of the Christian is, above all, the memory of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is that dangerous memory (Metz) which is most danger for all those who presume to make his memory their own. And that memory releases the theological knowledge that there is no innocent tradition, no innocent classic, no innocent reading.

That memory releases the moral insistence that the memory of the suffering of the oppressed – oppressed often by the Church which now claims them as its own – is the great Christian countermemory to all tales of triumph: both the social-evolutionary complacent narrative of modernity and the all too pure reading of the “tradition” by the neoconservatives. Is the Christian narrative Christendom or Christianity?

“Christianity is always a memory that turns as fiercely against itself as against other pretensions to triumph. The great prophetic negations of all triumphalism released by the memory of Jesus of Nazareth render unreal, on inner-Christian grounds, any appeals to narrative, memory, tradition, identity that partake of either innocence or triumph. To defend tradition is to defend that often disturbing and often self-judging prophetic memory. To become historically minded is to seize that memory for the present and to recall the past in that memory’s subversive light. … Any theology of retrieval that refuses to face that fact may end, despite its own clear and noble intentions, not defending the memory of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and not truly remembering the God who both promises and judges, but remembering only a fom of Christianity dangerously close to historical Christendom.”

(David Tracy, On Naming the Present: God, Hermeneutics, and Church, Orbis/SPCK, 1994, 14-15.)