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Holy Week

Written by Bp. Leland Somers : March 19, 2008

jesusandpilate.jpgHe kept his thoughts to himself as he rode into Jerusalem on that sunny day at the beginning of the Passover celebration. It would be his last week. He knew that there would be a confrontation of some kind, but the results were hidden in dark places from which his mind recoiled. He wished that with him were more than the one woman who understood what may well happen.

Peter, James and John had it all wrong. They had it all wrong from the very beginning. They did not understand that the Kingdom of God was completely opposed to the Empires of Men. They did not know that the Kingdom of God had nothing to do with Temple Worship or Synagogue gatherings. They stuck with him this far because they thought he was going to call down God’s wrath on the Roman occupiers and the Jewish elite who cooperated with them in the oppression of his people. They were ready to take their seats in a throne room and lord it over those trampled by the Messiah’s armies.

They were like children in so many ways. They lived in a fantasy world of Jewish armies under a warrior Messiah. They dreamed of glorious battles and waves of battle flags waving under a sun that would not set until they had beaten the Romans away from the Holy Land of their God. They just didn’t get it.

When he spoke of the Kingdom as a weed in a well ordered garden, they wondered why he did not speak of the Kingdom as a cedar of Lebanon. When he spoke of the Kingdom as yeast mixed in flour to make bread, they were dreaming of armies rising up for God. When he spoke of God as a woman looking for a lost coin, they were dreaming of wealth and power that comes through war and victory. When he spoke of God as a mother hen gathering her chicks to herself to protect them from the storm, they thought of storming the gates of Roman cities and conquering them for God. When he spoke of the Kingdom as a group of little children at play, they were plotting who would get the first and second seats of power in God’s Kingdom.

He knew that they would not stay with him. He knew that when they saw what happens to those who oppose both religious and political authorities, they would scatter like pigeons when the fox leaps into their midst. They sought a new order that would be a replica of the old order, an order based on power, domination, exploitation and when necessary war, victory and peace. He understood that they simply were not ready, nor were they willing, to understand that the Kingdom of God happens when people live as he had them live. That is why he kept telling them that the Kingdom of God is here. It has arrived! Look at me! See how we live together! See how we share! See how we heal and bring peace and wholeness to those with whom we eat. This is the Kingdom of God.

He had lived with them and in the heart of the living was the message. But they were looking for something else. They were not looking for a Kingdom based on God’s radical justice which brings utter Shalom, complete peace.

Irony of ironies! He found that aside from the woman who anointed him at Simon the Leper’s house, it was Pilot who really understood the radical nature of his mission and his life. Here at last someone understood what it was all about. Here is someone who understands and also knows that anyone who has an agenda that is so radically opposed to that of Rome must die. Here is someone who understands and who will have him executed for what he always has been: a radically subversive enemy of the Roman Empire and those Jewish religious and political leaders who owe their positions and wealth to Rome.

The God of whom he preaches and of whose Kingdom he lives in and out of is far too dangerous. He must be killed. With any luck his movement will die with him. Surely no group of people, no matter how dedicated, will be willing to continue this Kingdom living after he is gone. He fears that it will all have been in vain because they might think that he’ll come back and “fix it all” for them. He hopes that someday they will understand that whatever he has done they can do…and more.

Then darkness fell.

Author Bio:: Bishop Leland Somers is a semi-retired Old Catholic Bishop whose ministry is as a now and then homilist for Holy Spirit Ecumenical Catholic Church and a teacher and learner of the meaning of discipleship. He believes that only JESUS IS LORD and no other loyalties may come first and this is the only meaningful creed.

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