Every time I hear the Passion read as one complete reading, I get the chills. It reminds me of when I met him for the first time. And I remember when I abandoned him. Those were acts done in private. A truly opened heart, a heart that suddenly closes for some unknown reason.
Those memories do not fade, in any of us, so I am happy that we are here today, together. There are so many people we meet during the Passion, we have to remember we are also with them, together.
The great circle of friends and disciples. We know them all, because at times we are them, together. Today is the suffering servant, first hailed by “a very large Crowd” — as the one who comes in the name of the Lord — then “the Whole City” is shaken and asks: “Who is this/”
We meet “Judas Iscariot” speaking with the “chief priests.” There is “the certain man” whose house we go to so that we may eat the Passover. The “one of you who will betray me” — as we say “surely it is not I.” There is Peter, “My faith shall never be shaken” – Followed by “a large crowd” again, this time, instead of palms raised high, it is a crowd “with swords and clubs” together with “the Betrayer” and “Those who had arrested Jesus…”
The circle of friends shouting “Hosanna” grows smaller, the circle around him growing tighter. Caiaphas, the chief priests, the entire Sanhedrin, the elders of the people. “In the courtyard, one of the Maids…another girl…the bystanders” and finally “Pilate the governor.”
Enter a “cohort of Roman Soldiers” (about 420 men) spitting, striking mocking… Simon of Cyrene and the “two revolutionaries.”
We, together, all have our Hosannas because we all have good intentions. People usually want a fresh start. It is what God wanted after all those years when we abandoned him over and over and over again. God wanted a fresh start for the world, which is what Holy Week is all about. Some people just wanted it to end -“Tell the Crowd to be quiet with their Hosannas”
He wanted it to end “My God, My God…” “It is finished.”
He was pure and raw and real. We are the same. Are we a “Hosanna” or are we a “Crucify him?” Or are we someplace in the middle?
In the end most of them were just afraid. “If you are the son of God take us down from this cross” said the thief. “Truly this was the Son of God” said the Centurion as the earth shook and lightening flashed. Joseph, a secret disciple who offers an anonymous tomb. The elders of Society… “His disciples will steal his body, so put some guards there, lest people believe that he is who he said he was.”
And so the world has to arm itself with guards against a simple stone. Our hope, our Hosannas, are never heard so loudly, because we, with those when we began our day, shout them in hope, never alone, but