Monday, April 6, 2009

Crucify Him

As a Catholic, Palm Sunday is a very important day. It starts Holy Week and gets us prepared for the Easter holiday. On Palm Sunday we always start mass outside where we read from the gospel and receive palms. (Honestly, I don't have any deep, moving explanation for the palms other than that the people welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem spread palms on the ground for him.) Then we process into the church where we basically do everything just like a regular mass. That is until you get to the gospel reading. Because of course, we've already read from the gospel. At this point in the mass we read the Passion of Christ.

The reading of the Passion is done with multiple readers: one narrator, one person who reads the parts of several main characters such as Peter and Judas, the Priest reads the part of Jesus, and then all of the members of the congregation read the part of the crowd. When Pilate offers to release one prisoner to the crowd they ask for Barrabas and Pilate asks what should be done with Jesus. The crowd, at the urging of the chief priests, answers "Crucify him!". Pilate gives them a couple of chances to change their minds but they only say, more vehemently, "Crucify him!".

I have never really liked being part of the crowd. And this past Sunday I realized why. Reading that part, being one of the ones to say, "Crucify him!" makes me think about the times in my life when I have said "Crucify him!".

Not that Jesus and Barrabas have ever been put before me to choose which to release but I think in our everyday lives we are given a choice and sometimes we choose against Jesus, we shout "Crucify him!".

When Doug and I went to the hospital on July 14, 2008 the nurses asked if we would like to have the chaplain come. We immediately said yes and they went to call him. The chaplain didn't make it until well after Logan had died and when he came in to pray with us, I wanted to scream at him to leave. I didn't participate in the prayer at all. I sat there thinking that if this man had just come to pray sooner my son might be alive, that if God/Jesus hadn't left me my son would be alive. But I was wrong. I chose the easy way. I chose to blame Him for my suffering. I wanted to turn my back on Him. I shouted "Crucify him!"

But He didn't turn his back on me. He knew my suffering, because He's been there.

He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me,but not what I will but what you will.
Mark 14: 35-36

Even Jesus asked that he be spared from suffering but the difference is that Jesus knew that God would do what was best. Sitting there holding Logan's body I wanted it to be different. I didn't want to trust that He had done what was right. I thought he was punishing me and I wanted to punish him right back.

But still he didn't turn his back on me. He is merciful and forgiving and he loves us as long as we are willing to accept his love. It is my goal to recognize the moments in my life when Pilate gives me the opportunity to release Jesus. It is my goal to be strong enough to say "Free him!" more vehemently than those in the crowd that day (or in our world today) said "Crucify him!".

My church has decided to recognize Friday at 3pm as the moment when Jesus died. We don't know that that's the right time, but the important thing is that we take a moment to recognize that he did die... for us. So at 3pm on Friday I'm going to get down on my knees and I'm going to thank Him for all that he has done for me. I'm going to tell Him how sorry I am that He had to suffer for me. And I'm going to tell Him how sorry I am for being one of those who shouted "Crucify him!".

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