Over at the consistently interesting Archdiocese of Washington blog, Msgr. Charles Pope offers a reflection on yesterday’s Passion narrative. The annual reading of the passages from Mark’s Gospel, which signal the start of Holy Week, are memorable not only because they involve staging and drama, but also for the way they re-examine the motives and actions of familiar characters. Particularly jarring is the way the narrative indicts the audience, who must voice lines as diverse as the Pharisees and the crowd before Pontius Pilate. In this literary interlude, Msgr. Pope says:
The usual villains such as the Temple leaders, Judas, and the recruited crowd, which shouted “Crucify him!” are fairly obvious in displaying their sinfulness and are unambiguously wicked. But there are others who participate in the Passion accounts whose sinfulness, struggles and neglect are more subtle, but still real and contribute significantly to the Lord’s sufferings on Good Friday. It is perhaps, in these figures that we can learn a great deal about ourselves. For while we may not overtly shout “crucify,” we are often not as holy and heroic as the persecutors were wicked and bold.
As these behaviors are noted, we must understand that WE do these things. For the Passion accounts are not merely portraits of people long gone, they are portraits of you and me. We do these things.
Read Msgr. Pope’s entire reflection here.