Daily Update: Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, which begins Holy Week.

Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Easter, and commemorates an event mentioned by all four Gospels: the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion. According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118, “LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” Where this entry took place is unspecified; some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location, since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south, which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely. In Catholic churches palm fronds are blessed and given to the congregation, and at one of the masses a procession of the people carrying palm fronds takes place; I always get enough so that I can put a sliver of palm behind every crucifix in the house (I have one in every room) and under the visors of our vehicles. The liturgy is highlighted by a dramatic reading of the Passion from one of the Synoptic gospels, with the officiating priest reading the words of Jesus and the congregation reading the group answers in the account; as this year is the second year in the three-year cycle of Sunday readings, we hear the Passion from the Gospel of Mark. The feast is very old, dating at least from the fourth century, and ushers in Holy Week.

Last night our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat Kentucky in the second game of their home three-game series by the score of 7 to 3.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in at the casino, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and I was on Pai Gow.

On our way home from work I read the April 2015 issue of Consumer Reports (the auto issue; I like the Chevrolet Impala, not that we are buying a new car anytime soon) and started reading the January 2015 issue of National Geographic. Richard stopped at Wal-Mart and got groceries for us. When I got home I read the Sunday papers, then took a nap from 1:30 pm until about 5:00 pm. While I was sleeping our #1 Ranked LSU Baseball team lost the third of their three-series home games with Kentucky by the score of 10 to 12; our Tigers next play a single game with UL – Lafayette on March 31st at a neutral site (Zephyr Field in Metairie). When I woke up I plugged the bills Richard had made into my PocketMoney program, then worked on today’s Daily Update. Our New Orleans Pelicans won their game with the Minnesota Timberwolves by the score of 110 to 88; our Pelicans next play an away game with the Los Angeles Lakers on April 1st.

At 6:15 pm I left the house for Lafayette, and at 7:30 pm I attended the Tenebrae service at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (and picked up my fancy palms to put behind our Sacred Heart statue). This year the Gregorian Chants were from Graun “Surely he hath borne our griefs”, Morley “Agnus Dei”, Gasparini “Adoramus te”, and Anerio “Christus factus est”. I got home at 9:15, rousted Richard out from his chair in the living room and into bed, and finished this Daily Update

Tomorrow is Monday in Holy Week, with no Saints to honor. We will instead note that in 1867 Alaska was purchased from Russian for $7.2 million (about two cents an acre) by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward acting for the United States. Richard and I will work our eight hours at the casino, and I will be reading on my breaks. After lunch I will put my Palm Sunday palms behind all of our crosses and in the vehicles (and put the fancy palms behind the Sacred Heart). Tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm is the Tri-Parish Penance Service at my church.

Our Parting Quote this Palm Sunday afternoon comes to us from Johnnie Cochran, American lawyer. Born Johnnie L Cochran, Jr. in 1937 in Shreveport, Louisiana (his middle initial “L” does not stand for anything), his family relocated to the West Coast and settled in Los Angeles in 1949. Cochran graduated first in his class from Los Angeles High School in 1955.  He went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1959 and his Juris Doctor at Loyola Marymount University School of Law (now Loyola Law School) in 1962. Inspired by Thurgood Marshall and the legal victory he won in Brown v. Board of Education, Cochran decided to dedicate his life to practicing law. He felt his career was a calling, a double opportunity to work for what he considered to be right and to challenge what he considered wrong. He took a job in Los Angeles as a Deputy City Attorney in the criminal division after he passed the California bar in 1963. Two years later, he entered private practice and soon opened his own firm, Cochran, Atkins & Evans. In his first notable case he represented a widow who sued several police officers who had shot and killed her husband. Though Cochran lost the case for his client, it became a turning point in his career. Rather than seeing the case as a defeat, he realized that the trial itself had awakened and galvanized the African-American community. By the late 1970s he had established his reputation in the black community, and was litigating a number of high-profile police brutality and criminal cases. In 1978 Cochran joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office as its first African-American Assistant District Attorney, taking a pay cut to do so. Five years later he returned to private practice, opening the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. law firm. He won $760,000 for the family of Ron Settles, a black college football player who, his family claimed, was murdered by the police. In 1990 he joined a succeeding firm, Cochran, Mitchell & Jenna. He had achieved a reputation as the “go-to” lawyer for the rich and famous. In 1993 he represented singer Michael Jackson in a case of allegations of child molestation. No criminal charges were filed by the police; the father of the child making allegations filed a civil suit against Jackson, and Jackson and the family settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. It was the controversial and dramatic murder trial of O.J. Simpson for the murders of 1994 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994 – 1995 that made Cochran widely known, with opinions of him ranging widely. He won an acquittal for his client; after the trial, he was a frequent commentator on law-related television shows. In addition to being featured on television shows, he hosted his own show, Johnnie Cochran Tonight, on CourtTV. He did not represent Simpson in the 1997 civil trial for the same murders in which Simpson was found liable. He successfully represented Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was sodomized with a broomstick while in police custody in 1997. Louima was awarded a $8.75 million settlement, the largest police brutality settlement in New York City. Tension broke out between Louima’s original lawyers and the new team headed by Cochran; the former team felt that Cochran and his colleagues were trying to take control of the entire trial. In 2001, rapper Sean Combs was indicted on stolen weapons charges as well as bribery. Soon thereafter, Combs hired Cochran, who effectively fought for Combs’ freedom, with Combs winning an acquittal. After that trial he retired from criminal cases due to their exhausting nature. Though the trial lasted only five to seven weeks, it became too much for Cochran. After the trial he declined to represent R. Kelly and Allen Iverson in criminal cases where they asked for his defense. In 2002 he wrote his autobiography, A Lawyer’s Life (died 2005): “We’ve got to be judged by how we do in times of crisis.”

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