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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Reflecting on Matthew 27:11-54

The sadness descends on us like a cloak from the very first words, “One of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot…” We know what’s coming, and still we hope that, this time, Judas will NOT approach the chief priests, or that they will NOT offer the thirty pieces of silver.

Judas still had a chance to stop it. When Jesus let it be known, at the Supper, that it was he who would betray him, Judas could have warned Jesus from going into the Mount of Olives that night. He could have flung the Blood Money into the temple BEFORE the guards ever came looking for Jesus.

So many had the opportunity to stop it. I’ll bet there were some secret BELIEVERS among that large crowd, armed with swords and torches, who came into Gethsemane that night. They could have stopped it before the Romans ever got involved. The chief priests didn’t even know what Jesus looked like! That’s why Judas was there, to point him out, to betray him with a kiss. There were so many moments when it all could have just stopped.

Pilate’s wife did what she could to stop it. She warned her husband to have nothing to do with that righteous man. But the crowd—full of envy, no doubt, at the love Jesus engendered in his followers— knew best.

Pilate himself could have stopped it, but the mob intimidated him. Sure, it’s unfortunate that an innocent man has to die, he thought. But better him than me. You can’t trust these Jews to keep their little religious quibbles away from Rome.

The sadness today, of course, is our own collusion with things we still could stop.

Have you ever “fallen on your sword” to stop an evil? Were you successful?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Lent - Cycle A

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