I chose to hit the snooze button when my alarm went off this morning, instead of getting up so I would have time to go over the Readings before Mass. My reasoning: I’ve heard the Passion of our Lord at least 50 times; I think I pretty much know what it says. I remember the first time when saying out loud “Crucify Him” bothered me. I remember there were years when I refused to say those words. But, it’s necessary for us to say those words, because we crucify Jesus over and over with our words, actions, and even our thoughts.
As I listened to the Gospel this morning, these words ran through my mind: Humility. Peer pressure. Faith. Every time we say “Crucify Him”, we humble ourselves. Every time we say those words, we admit that we have sinned, sending Him to the cross. We are no better than the crowd that insisted Barabbas be set free while Jesus is doomed to die for us. FOR. US. We don’t want to see how we have sinned. How many times have we betrayed Jesus with a kiss, just as Judas did? How many times have I been 2-faced with someone? How many times have I not treated someone with respect and haven’t seen Jesus in them…or better yet, haven’t let them see Jesus in me?
While the part of the Gospel where Peter denies Jesus 3 times was being read, I thought about the times that I’m out with friends and the talk turns to gossip. I thought about how I feel a bit uncomfortable, but then I push those feelings aside and listen; sometimes I even join in. I am guilty of betraying Jesus in those moments.
Pilate succumbed to peer pressure, just like we do. And we end up crucifying Him over and over again because of it. Pilate didn’t stand up for what he believed: that Jesus was innocent and didn’t deserve to be crucified. The people insisted that Jesus be put to death, even after Pilate told them more than once that he did not find him guilty of any crime. But then he backed down and gave the people what they wanted. He was scared to stand up for what he truly believed in and let them have their way. There have been many times when I’ve kept quiet about things that I knew weren’t right; times when I should have stood up for my beliefs and for Jesus, but I kept quiet. I wasn’t confident that I would have the correct answers. I wasn’t confident that I’d know what to say and would end up being ridiculed. I didn’t have faith.
We have faith that what we believe is the truth. We have faith that Jesus died for our sins so that we will one day see the kingdom of God.
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" Luke 23:42
Photo by Luis Ramos