“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” That’s what you just said, isn’t it? How does that make you feel? Do you feel like you’re just playing a part in a play? Does the fact that you’re surrounded by other people saying the same thing make it feel better? Is it just something you say because it’s in the misallette?
It’s no accident that we say these words on Palm Sunday. This is the day when we recreate the events that led to Jesus’ death. And you and I are just as guilty of His execution as the people who cried out for His death twenty centuries ago. In fact, we’re more guilty.
Those Jews who called for Jesus to die only did it that one time; just for one day. You and I cry out for His crucifixion every time we commit a sin. Oh, we may not think it’s such a big deal to sin. After all, everybody else does it too. What’s a little lie? What’s the big deal if we take home office supplies from work? What difference does it make if I spend a couple of hours every day at work surfing the Internet. Who are we hurting?
I’ll tell you who. First, we hurt ourselves. Every time we commit a sin we’re separating ourselves from God. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I tell you.” Logic tells us that the inverse of that statement is also true. “You aren’t my friends if you don’t do what I tell you.” We hurt ourselves when we move away from Jesus’ love.
Second, when we sin we hurt others. Stealing, lying, and cheating are sins because they harm our fellow human beings. We’re supposed to love one another, not hurt them.
If you feel even the least bit guilty yelling “Crucify Him!”, I’m suggesting that we all do exactly that every single day. Every time we take advantage, every time we bend the rules, every time we do something wrong because we think we’re not going to get caught, or because we think we’re entitled, we’re saying “Crucify Him!” Every time we look the other way when someone else sins, we’re saying “Crucify Him!” Every time we fail to do something to help our fellow man, we’re saying “Crucify Him!”
And every time we hide our Catholic light under a bushel basket we’re saying “Crucify Him!” Every time we don’t try to bring people to Christ, every time we don’t tell the world about what a great and wonderful faith we have, even when we eat out and fail to say grace because we don’t want to be embarrassed, you guessed it, we’re saying “Crucify Him!”
Excuse me for going off on a bit of a tangent here, but my wife and I have eaten at a Catholic fish fry every Friday during Lent. Not once, not one single time, have I seen anyone besides the two of us, saying grace. Why are so many of us ashamed to acknowledge God, even at a Catholic fish fry?
We live in a time of great materialism. Furniture store commercials scream out “I want it all!” And you and I are watching it happen. One week from today is Easter Sunday, the day when we celebrate Jesus Christ’s glorious resurrection. It’s the biggie. For many of our brothers and sisters, it’s one of two days of the year when they actually come to mass.
What do they do the other fifty Sundays of the year. I have no idea, but I do know that they’re adding their voices to the multitudes who never miss a chance to say “Crucify Him!”
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