Sunday of the Passion: Will we stand at a distance, too?
Jesus’ friends stood at a distance, watching these things.
If we too stand at a distance, we risk imagining that all this has nothing to do with us and we have nothing to do with this. And so it is customary for us to take part in this reading on Palm Sunday.
In this way, we put ourselves into the middle of the crowd that really didn’t know who Jesus was. To consider our own complicity in the rejection of the Son of God, to perceive our own penchant for embracing the ways of the world and despising weakness and vulnerability. To see how quick we are to victimize and condemn.
From the cross, Jesus shows us not only what we are capable of doing in hatred, but also what God is capable of doing in solidarity with those who are outcast and suffering - gathering us all to the divine but human self, perpetrators and victims alike, to await the healing and salvation that is finally to come to us all. But we will not get there if we remain at a distance.
And so, our challenge during this coming Holy Week is to come closer, to venture into that now silent aftermath with our hearts open to whatever healing and forgiveness we are in need of, or need to bestow upon others.
Our task is to slow things down and go back over what has happened, to go over what keeps happening, with a new perspective.
Our task is to remember the command of the Maundy: love one another, do this in remembrance of me. Our task is to look again at this death and to be able to name our needs, to name our sins, to name those we have wronged and to name those who have wronged us.
To name hatred and violence and suffering and death, betrayal and humiliation, breaking and being broken as that in which we are all caught up, in one way or another.
And then to lay it all down on Friday at the feet of the one who suffered, not so that we would not suffer, but so that we would not suffer alone.
To lay down our penchant for wounding others. To lay down our bitterness and hatred toward those who have hurt us. To lay down those things we do to each other that wounds the heart of God.
Crucifixion shows what the world does, not only to God, but to God’s own beloved people. We are destroyed by mocking and hatred and violence, all of us, victim and perpetrator alike. We are all of us destroyed by jealousy and suspicion. We are all of us destroyed by the drive for power.
So let us gird our loins and come closer this week and be humbled and touched and finally healed by God’s love again.