Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The drumbeat of execution heightens the tension as the Gospel reveals a plot by the religious authorities to kill Jesus. With the feast of Passover approaching, many people from the countryside are coming to Jerusalem with the hope of getting a glimpse of this now-famous prophet. "Will he come or not?"
The religious authorities are threatened by Jesus’ popularity and afraid his appearance at Passover might translate into more people believing in him. They call a meeting to decide what to do. The only solution, they reasoned, was to bring about his death. Caiaphas, the high priest that year, sums up the situation: "It is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish."
How come tolerance is so difficult? Even though love and kindness are beautiful ideas that we want to embrace, we live in a broken world and are often trapped spinning in our isolation, our anger, and our fear.
Christopher de Vinck, in his book The Power of the Powerless, tells a story.
One spring afternoon my five-year-old son, David, and I were planting raspberry bushes along the side of the garage…. A neighbor joined us for a few moments…. David pointed to the ground… "Look Daddy, What’s that?" I stopped talking with my neighbor and looked down.
"A beetle," I said.
David was impressed and pleased with the discovery of this fancy colorful creature. My neighbor lifted his foot and stepped on the insect giving his shoe an extra twist in the dirt. "That ought to do it,’ he laughed.
David looked up at me, waiting for an explanation, a reason…. That night, just before I turned off the light in his bedroom, David whispered, "I liked that beetle, Daddy."
"I did too," I whispered back.
The author concludes the story with a reminder: "We have the power to choose."
So true – we have the power to respond to every person and every living being that we encounter. Sometimes our feet are quicker than our hearts.
Fr. Joe Mitchell, CP is the director of the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky. See his website: http://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/