I wrote this article last year and although the date has changed the sentiments remain the same. As I sat and listened to the Passion of Christ on this Palm Sunday and I felt the joy of His arrival in Jerusalem, I was also reminded of what would happen at the end of this week as those same Jews who welcomed Jesus so joyfully to their holy city would call for his resurrection. I am not much different from those Jews and thought a reminder for all of us was in order as we enter this Holy Week.
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” (John 19:6)
Recently at a FCCW (Fellowship of Catholic Christian Women) I was asked to be one of the readers for the meditation at the beginning of our meeting. The meditation was the passion of Christ found in John. I was the reader that had to say these words: Crucify him, crucify him. Even as a child whenever I participated in a Way of the Cross or heard or had to speak these words myself, I always felt a little twinge of guilt. I never understood why though. Here it was over a thousand years later, I was just reading from a book, or playing a part, or a simple listener.
In the discussion following the meditation, we were discussing a chapter from the book: Food from Heaven The Eucharist in Scripture by Jeanne Kun. The chapter The Crucifixion: The Power of the Cross. We talked a lot about the things that were said and done during the passion and death of Christ and what those things meant to us as God’s children. At one point one of the young women responded to a question and I don’t remember which one, but the answer jumped out and bit me. She said, “Every time someone sins, every time someone turns away from God we are saying those words that stick in my throat, ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’” How could I do that, how could I continue to condemn Christ to that bloody, horrible death? And how could He in His infinite love and understanding ever forgive me?
Something else that was brought out in our discussion, was as human we can never fully grasp the depth of God’s love and forgiveness. It is up to us to accept in faith what we do not understand, accept that we are forgiven and continue on the path He has set before us.
My 11 year-old daughter, likes to apologize when she has done something that has set her and I at odds. In the last several months I have found a response (through the grace of God, no doubt) to her apologies. First I accept her apology in the spirit in which it was given, but then I remind her that while it is good to apologize, the lesson is really learned if she strives to change the offending behavior and not repeat it. I think the time has come for me to listen to my own words. Time for me to stop saying “Crucify him, crucify him.”
I am going to borrow a question from Jean Kun’s book and expand on it. Please ponder the Passion of Christ as we go into this final week of Lent and share your journey to the cross and beyond in the comments below.
Question: Jesus died to atone for humankind’s sin and reconcile us to God. Through our sins are we the people throwing the stones and yelling “Crucify him, crucify him?” Have we experienced Jesus reconciliation in a concrete way? What effect did it have on our personal relationship with God?
Prayer: Jesus, most loving and forgiving brother, I am sorry that I have committed sins that put you on that cross, that echoed the words “Crucify him, crucify him.” Please forgive my failings, show me how to drop the stones and silence the screams as I follow your path. Let me learn from my mistakes and be your ever loving child. This I pray through your most blessed mother Mary and your awesome, and powerful son, Jesus, who died so that I may live in You. Amen.
All for the Glory of God,
For more info on FCCW please click on www.fellowshipofcatholicchristianwomen.org
To see Jean Kun’s book Food from Heaven The Eucharist in Scripture as well as other books by her and other writers click on the www.WORDamongus.org It can also be seen at Amazon and other booksellers.