Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bad Joke

On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI met in Assisi with religious leaders of many faiths from around the world--something Pope John Paul II had first done there in 1986.  They came together to give a common witness to peace.

The Holy Father has taken some flack for doing this.  Which is what immediately came to mind when I came across the following poem.  It was written by Br. Isaac, one of the Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee.  There was a folder of some of his poetry at the retreat house, this gem among them...
Like A Bad Joke 
So this priest invites a group of buddhist
monks to his parish where
they chant to raise awareness
and funds to free Tibet--but 
a gang of angry catholic
fundamentalists crash the party and,
like raucous soccer fans, vendors
contending in a crowded market 
belt out fervent aves, to drown
'the pagans' and (this is a quote, no joke)
their demonic prayers for world peace.
When the police arrived, the monks 
were ushered to safety in the basement
while upstairs the pious rioters
patted themselves on the back, compared
their little coup 
to Jesus' attack on the Temple...
but if in that case Christ cast out
(and only those who made House into
market) he was more often 
God of the out-cast.
So here's the punch-line: you'll find me
(and likely Him) downstairs
in the parish basement 
amid assorted soup-kitchen visitors
the 12 step fellowship of local drunks
and this latest company
of monks.

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