By Mark Poisler ’21
While listening to reading of the Passion on Good Friday, I could not ignore how Jesus was convicted and sent to His death. In Matthew’s Gospel, Pilate offered to release one prisoner for the Passover. The choice was between Barabbas, a notorious prisoner, or Jesus. When Pilate asked the crowd, they preferred to release Barabbas. When Pilate asked, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?”, the crowd responded, “Let him be crucified!”
Two thousand years later, many people listen to the demands of this crowd and ask, “How could those people send Jesus to death? I would never do that.” As Christians, we want to say, “If I was there, then I would have stood up for Jesus. If I had been there, I would have shown love to Jesus. I would have made sure he did not suffer.”
As Christians, we proudly profess this but too often fail to defend Jesus on a daily basis. Surprisingly, we “crucify” Jesus everyday. We crucify Him when we bully and tease the vulnerable peer. We crucify Him when we falsely judge the outsiders. We crucify Him when we abuse others for personal gain. We crucify Him when we find something better to do than help our struggling friend. I see this everyday in the hallways of our Catholic school. Members of the school are constantly mocking and shaming each other just for enjoyment. I am sadly guilty, too.
Right now you may be asking, “How do our interactions with others relate to our love for Jesus?”
In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” We cannot stand up for Jesus if we shame or harm His brothers and sisters. Jesus is God, and God is love. If we fail to defend love by harming others, then we fail to defend Jesus. By hurting our neighbor, we give up on the possibility of showing love to Jesus during his crucifixion. By hurting our neighbor, we express to Jesus the increased possibility of our saying, “Let him be crucified!” with the crowd.
This Easter season, let us thank Jesus for his Death and Resurrection by treating him and our neighbors with love and respect. Let us defend our love of Jesus through our treatment of others.