Frances Hogan is a lay missionary and educator working in the Catholic Church since the late 60's. She worked as a missionary in West Africa for some years. She has taught in schools in Africa and Ireland. From the mid-80's she lectured in the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dublin, and served four years on the Theological Commission of the Bishops. She is also trained as a Spiritual Director and Retreat giver.
Since the '80s Frances has written ten books, now out of print. Over the years Frances has made many teachings on Scripture and the Spiritual Life available for sale on hundreds of cassettes. The current list is available in her online shop, now only available in digital format on franceshogan.com
Frances no longer gives Missions in parishes, as well as Retreats and Seminars to people mainly in the English-speaking world. She continues to give Scripture classes from her home.
I want to tell you about a teaching that has recently come back into my mind. Over the years I have gone to lots of Bible Study classes in lots of different locations so I can’t remember where or when I heard the following, or even how accurate my memory of it is. So I am completely open to correction.
On August 23rd this year the first reading was from Judges 9, 6-15. It opened with -Abimelech being made king and then went on to the story of the trees and their king, the thorn bush. The big trees had been busy with their own importance so the thorn bush who had nothing to offer was made king. The thorn bush was covered with thorns and inflicted pain on all, human or animal who came near it. In the hot summers it was liable to suddenly combust, setting fire to crops and villages. It brought destruction to all, and was thus identified as the symbol for all the worthless kings of Israel.
Pilate placed the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head as a symbol of his worthless kingship and to further humiliate him as He carried the cross to Calvery. By putting the notice ‘(Worthless) King of the Jews’, on the cross, he was extending that public humiliation to all the Jews. Up to that point, Pilate had been more accommodating of the Jews, but afterwards he joined with Herod against the Jews.