We did this to Him

Painted by St. Frances Cabrini parishioner, Dan McAfee

Just a few days ago the crowds joyfully welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. They laid down their coats and waved palm branches as He rode in on a donkey. They shouted, “Hosanna to the son of David.” And yet now that very same crowd yells something different: “Crucify him!” How quickly they turned on Jesus, from welcoming Him with love, to despising Him!

Now instead of waving palm branches, they throw stones and spit at Him. Instead of filling the streets to greet Him, the stand there to jeer at Him. Instead of seeing Him as a king, they view Him as a criminal. Instead of recognizing His power, they place chains around his neck, feet, and wrists.

How quickly the crowds turned on Jesus! And yet… we do the same! We call ourselves Christians and disciples, and yet how quickly we abandon Jesus, just like the first disciples. When the message of Jesus is too difficult or we don’t understand the teachings that He has given us through the Church, we seem to have no problem like Peter saying, “I do not know the man.” When we are called to stick up for our faith… how quickly we sometimes compromise and run away like the apostles, leaving Jesus alone to suffer. It’s much easier for us to yell, “crucify Him” along with the crowd than to have the courage to be crucified alongside Him.

We find it easier to accept Barabbas, the murder, than the accept Jesus who is murdered for us. Barabbas, his name – Bar Abba – literally means son of the father. How quickly we are willing to accept anyone or anything else except the real Son of the Father. So often we willingly settle for cheap imitations of God because it’s easier than accepting God Himself. 

Make no mistake, we did this to Him. It wasn’t just the Romans or the Pharisees, it was you and me. Every time we sin we consent again to Jesus being crucified. Every time we compromise in our faith we are saying that we prefer Barabbas to Jesus. Instead of helping Jesus carry His cross like Simon the Cyrenian, we’d rather kick Jesus while He’s down, to make fun of Him when He stumbles and falls.

Every time we sin, that’s another lash to Jesus’ back, another strike to His cheek, another whip pushing Him along to Calvary. That is what our sins do. That is what we consent to every single time, whether we realize it or not.

And despite that, rather no not despite, but because of that, Jesus willingly does it all for us. He chose to die for us. God chose to be tortured, whipped, scourged, stripped naked, and crucified for you and for me. Let us remember that today and everyday! When we think of sinning, when we consider compromising, look to the cross. Remember what we have done to Him and what He has done for us.

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