The answer is me. Yep, sobering isn’t it?
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It is the day we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to a hero’s welcome. It is amazing how quickly the tide turned. One day, they wanted him to be king and the next, crucified. On this Sunday, we will read the Lord’s Passion. We will hear the story of how our King was welcomed with pomp and circumstance only to be crucified a few days later at Calvary. What Happened?
I’ve heard this story since I was little. As a kid, I looked at it much like a bad guy/good guy situation. The people killing Jesus were the bad guys. If I were there, I would be fighting them. I would be leading the charge to protect Jesus. I would be among the good guys. With my child-like innocence, it is easy to lump myself in with the good guys because of the simple fact that I love Jesus. I wouldn’t want to see him get hurt. Yep, my child-like self had no doubt that I was a good guy.
Hearing this story as an adult is totally different. How can a crowd turn like that? How can you love Jesus one minute and hate him the next? As I ponder these questions, I can’t help but wonder what role I would really play in the story. It seemed that few people actually knew who Jesus was and fewer were willing to stand up and protect Him. Would I really be as bold as I imagine? Or would I silently watch with the rest of the crowd? Or, perhaps, I would be chanting for his death in the heat of the moment.
As we see in this gospel story, it was the Sanhedrin that led the people to distrust and reject Jesus. They were the typical human beings. They were too proud to acknowledge Jesus' authority. They were too self-involved to look at the bigger picture. They were so involved with going through the motions of the law that they missed the spirit of the law that was embodied in their midst. They didn't want to give up their power. They didn't want to become humble. They would not open their hearts to God's love. Pride and selfishness is what drove them to influence the people and have Jesus nailed to a cross and die. And these are the same traits I struggle with every day. When I allow myself to take credit when I shouldn't, when I’m too proud to admit a mistake, or when take control when I should put it on the altar, then up goes the wall between me and my God. I become one of those people 2000 years ago, standing in the crowd, chanting for Jesus to be crucified.
Oh, Father, forgive me for who I am. Show me the places in my life that are not filled with your light. Give me the courage to empty myself completely to your love. Grant me the grace to see the face Christ in those around me. You are all that I crave. My desire rests in your will. Make me worthy of the life Christ won for me at Calvary. All glory and honor belong to you, forever and ever. Amen.