02.04.10 CHOICE

Posted under Reflections on April 1st, 2010 by

 …So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, "Behold, the man!" When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"…

They cried out again, "Not this one but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a revolutionary…

 And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your king!" They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified…

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe… (Jn 18,1-19,42)


The reading presents a long narration of the passion and death of Jesus. The passion narrative gives a continuous flow of events. As the events take place, the narratives show the choice one makes. In two instances Pilot forces the people to make a choice.

In the first instance Jesus is brought in front of the people and the people are made to choose between Barabbas and Jesus. Jesus stands in par with a revolutionary. A revolutionary fights for a cause keeping the people in mind. He takes up the role of a leader. He gathers force from among the people. As a revolutionary Jesus fails. And the people are not for Jesus. People should have supported Jesus if they had seen in him a revolutionary (at least like Barabbas). So Jesus is not accepted as a leader from the grass-root.

The second choice is between Caesar and Jesus. Here Jesus is presented as king. King is a leader (not chosen by the people) but born of royal family. People choose Caesar to Jesus. People are happy with external leadership. They are happy with earthly leader. So Jesus fails again as a leader.

Since people do not accept Jesus, as a leader, he is condemned to death. He is crucified. As the gospel writer presents, God chooses Jesus, because the scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus. People have not chosen him. God has done it.

An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. The gospel writer presents himself as an eye witness and he speaks the truth. If we have believed all that he has said so far in his writings (the miracles, parables, and teachings) then we are in line with his writings. Now he presents him as Son of God and his testimony is true. The reader is asked to believe in Jesus.

Jesus is the Son of God; he was rejected by his own people; he was crucified; God chose him. So believe in him.  


01.04.10 FEET

Posted under Reflections on March 31st, 2010 by

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end… He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist… So when he had washed their feet (and) put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. (Jn 13,1-15) 


Context of today’s reading is very clear. It is the feast of the Passover. The context should never be forgotten when we reflect upon the reading. It is a religious context. It is a liturgical context. This feast came into existence based on a real, factual experience of the people of Israel 2000 years earlier. It was a God experience; God taking sides with the poor and the marginalized. This God promised to be with them to the very end. This God made a covenant with them to show his fidelity.

After 2000 years, Jesus using this as a context makes a covenant with the people of his times. He takes all the religious, liturgical significances as the background for what he is about to do. The Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark and Luke, make (give an opportunity to make) another liturgical event. That is, Jesus institutes the Eucharist and the Priesthood. This is the covenant that he makes; that is, he will be with the people till the end through the Eucharist and through Priesthood. His life and mission will continue to be fulfilled through these two signs.

John the evangelist, in stead, presents the washing of the feet of the disciples in the place of the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Does he give the same importance to this action? It could be.

Washing of the feet of the other, shows the relationship that exists between them. Only people of very close relationship will wash the feet of the other (like the mother of her child). Slaves will do it out of duty and not out of love or relationship. Here, in the case of Jesus, the master is doing it. It is done as a model to be imitated. It reveals relationship that exists between the master and the disciples. That is why he tells Peter, If I do not wash your feet then you will have no part with me. Washing is also a ministry of cleaning the dirt. So Jesus is telling his disciples that their ministry in the future should also be one of building up relationship.  




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