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:
Holding my grandfather’s hand at OLS in Reno on the way to be
In Boarding school at the small chapel in the woods;
At a campus Catholic Center in Washington DC when my girlfriend
said… “if you want to be catholic, you better find out what that means and
start acting like one; and then meeting him face to face as I danced the
Polka with her great aunt, the nun, at a wedding in Quakertown
At a bible study on the lawn of a church, in far off Paraguay in the
When I first spoke to him at Redfish Lake in the Sawtooths;
In the choir at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise;
In the lower chapel at Mt. Angel Seminary;
In Twin Falls when I was ordained, with Fr. John Worster and Fr. Jon
offering my first mass, and later as I did my first wedding, confession,
baptism, and funeral,
I remember when I met him – these are my Hosannas
And I remember when I abandoned him,
At the death of my sister: Why?
At the death of my father: Why?
In the seminary when I drank too much;
went skiing instead going to class, and then flunked Systematic Theology
and didn’t even care;
When I yelled at the lady at St. Marks, derided and bullied my brother
priests in class in Rome, hurt one parishioner or another…
These are my Crucify Hims.
In the spring when things are changing we see the earth go from death to
life, to flowers, HOSANNA,
to muddy earth, dripping with blood, an empty sad feeling, CRUCIFY HIM.
This is serious, this is real.
We all have our Hosannas and our Crucify Hims, 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, in the desert, after he saved us from Egypt. God wanted a fresh
start for the world, that is what Holy Week is all about.
Some people just wanted it to end -“Tell the Crowd to be quiet with their
He wanted it to end “My God, My God..” “It is finished.” Wanting it to end
for him so we can begin again.
He was pure and raw and real. We are the same, only perhaps a bit
watered down… Would we really want this to happen to us? Are we a
“Hosanna” or are we a “Crucify him?” Or are we someplace in the middle.
Meeting him for the first time or abandoning him, every once in a while.
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 arms has to arm itself with guards against a simple stone.
But our hope, our Hosannas, are never heard so loudly, as they are on this