Deny, Slap, Beat, Crucify Jesus

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Jesus, in life and in death, is one with those who are poor, who have no power, whom others cast out. Hence, we cannot but deny him if we turn our backs on them.

We read that many give false witness against Jesus before the Sanhedrin but that they do not agree in what they say. We read, too, that Pilate knows that it is out of envy that the chief priests have handed him over. And so, we Christians cannot deny that he is innocent. That is to say, he does not blaspheme for saying that he is the anointed Son of the Blessed One. Nor does he rise up against Rome just because others see him as “the king of the Jews.”

But though he has no guilt, the Sanhedrin condemns him still as worthy of death. And Pilate, in turn, gives in to the crowd that the chief priests have stirred up. So, in the end, he hands him over to be nailed to the cross.

No, there is no way to deny that those who wield power, religious or political, cannot put up with Jesus. They find him to be a thorn in their flesh. For in the eyes of the guardians of religion, he breaks the law and puts in doubt traditions.

Besides, he is with the masses.  He speaks to them of God’s kingdom and his justice, cures their diseases and helps them in many ways. Does it not seem, then, to the Romans that he stirs up against Rome the masses? That is to say, the poor folks that the Roman Empire exploits? But be it as it may, they get rid of him, to the joy, of course, of those who lead on matters of religion.

To deny the poor what is due them means to deny Christ. 

But then, the Innocent One’s death on the cross gets to be a cry against those in power. And such a cry is now that of all the innocent victims of history. On the cross, Jesus makes known that God is one with the poor, he is on their side.

That he who hangs on the cross is helpless and does not fight back does not mean being resigned in the face of evil. He does not tell us to just wait for the reward to come in heaven. Rather, he takes issue with those who oppress the poor, the weak, and nail them to the cross.

In effect, he dares us not to turn our backs on those who suffer. To do so is to deny him. In fact, we cannot follow Christ or even be human if we do not care (SV.EN XII:222).  Hence, we are to help in all the ways we can and ask others to do the same (SV.EN XII:77). Like Jesus, we must not turn back when we face beating. And we should also obey to the point of death, of giving up our bodies and shedding our blood.

Lord Jesus, let us not deny you by not caring for those who are poor. Make true our shouts of “Hosanna!” as we follow you while you go about doing good and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God. 

24 March 2024 
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (B) 
Mk 11, 1-10; Is 50, 4-7; Phil 2, 6-11; Mk 14, 1 15, 47

1 Comment

  1. Tom M

    Very well written. Thanks Ross. Have a holy Holy Week.