An incident whose anniversary we commemorate this week.
The gentleman arrested Thursday and tried before the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate had a troubled background.
Born possibly out of wedlock, this jobless thirty-something spent the majority of his time in the company of sex workers and criminals.
He has had prior run-ins with local authorities for disturbing the peace — most notably, an incident of vandalism in a community center when he wrecked the tables of several licensed money-lenders and bird-sellers. He had used violent language, too, claiming that he could destroy a gathering place and rebuild it in three days.
He had come to the attention of the authorities more than once for his unauthorized distribution of food and disruptive public behavior.
At the time of his arrest, he had not held a fixed residence for years. Instead, he led an itinerant lifestyle, staying at the homes of friends and advocating the redistribution of wealth.
—The above was adapted from an article by Alexandra Petri which originally appeared in The Washington Post.
We must always remember that Jesus was arrested, charged with crimes, judged by the local authorities, and given a legal sentence. We therefore must, as he instructed us in Matthew 25:31-46, comfort (Visit / Look After) those who are imprisoned, and treat them as we would him. For our Lord was a prisoner, he was declared guilty by both the local authorities, as well as a large group of the local people; because of this we cannot look at someone and say, “They were found guilty by a court, and everyone knows they are guilty, therefore they should rot in prison or be put to death!” For Christ has told us that if we do that, we do that to him; we become like the crowd in the Palm Sunday readings, calling for him to be crucified.
At the recent Palm Sunday Mass, during the Homily, Deacon Mike Johnsen said, “We must ask ourselves, would we go along with the crowd, calling for his crucifixion, or would we faithfully follow him like the Marys and John? It is easy to say that you would, but look at Peter, who denied him three times, and realize that it is all too easy to get caught up with the crowd and swayed by public opinion, even when deep down you know inside it is wrong. I had to ask myself recently, what would I have done, would I have been swayed by the crowd?”
We must remember to see the face of Christ, in every person that we see, and in every prisoner, and to not condemn people with the crowd; we are called to love and forgive.
So on this Holy Week, remember Christ The Prisoner.
—Jack Danya Kemplin