On the first Sunday of Lent, we read in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart —
that is, the word of faith that we preach…”
That phrase has dwelt with me throughout Lent. Today with two Gospels, one rather long one, we have heard many, many more words, therefore my words will be few. I encourage you, right now to close your eyes and let me guide you through the reading of St. Luke’s passion. We are going to see where the words and your heart take you.
The purpose of this reflection is for you to choose one character, one of the players in today’s passion drama with whom to journey, to companion, to think about every day during Holy Week. When we come together on Good Friday we will again have the reading of the passion, this time from St. John.
Will you choose Jesus?
• knowing that a decisive hour is coming
• longing to eat a meal, perhaps your last, with friends
• anticipating suffering
• needing to go out to your sacred space for prayer to recharge yourself
Will you choose Judas?
• one of the crowd and unsure of your commitment
• ready to sell out your friends for another principle
Will you choose the disciples?
• confused, argumentative, worrying about status and pecking order, yet called to service,
• being sifted, beaten up, thrown in the air, scatter
• watching a prediction become a fulfillment
• lacking strength for the journey
• overtaken by grief
• lashing out – an ear here, a person there, caught in your path
Will you choose Simon – Peter?
• a fast responder, but all too human
• warming yourself by a semi-safe fire
• lacking courage
• hanging back and observing things from a distance
Will you choose priests, temple guards and elders?
• ready to pounce on someone, demanding
• weighing the political odds
• goading someone to play the prophet
• affronted by those who are challenging convention
• dispensing accusations
Will you choose Pilate?
• holding all the power, and none of it
• caught between several cultures
• questioning, investigating, willing to pass the buck to others
Will you choose Herod?
• a curiosity seeker
• long ago having given into the lure of money, power, sex
• looking for a sign
• questioning, mocking, spitting, accusing
Will you choose Barabbas?
• a last minute rallying point
• rebellious, a murderer, unworthy of freedom
Will you choose Simon, a Cyrenian?
• pressed into servicing a job you didn’t’ ask for or particularly like
Will you choose the women?
• mourning and lamenting lost innocence, right order, fractured creation
• going through the prescribed motions
• resting and returning
Will you choose the criminals?
• guilty, getting what they deserved
• longing for forgiveness and recipients of it
Will you choose the soldiers?
• jeering non-believers or
• the centurion – remembering a healed servant and proclaiming another’s innocence
Will you choose Joseph?
• virtuous and righteous
• consenting and creating a new plan of action
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart…”
Which of their voices will you befriend, and with whom will you walk the internal journey to Jerusalem this week?
“…that is, the word of faith that we preach…”