FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY
(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)
Are you familiar with the phrase “what is the majority decision?” For some people, they will only have a stand based solely on majority decision (without any personal careful analysis on an issue). Today in our world there are a lot of deviant behaviours that are receiving legal approvals because certain people took a vote and they taught that is the right way to go. Some people do not know the details and the politics behind deviant behaviours like same-sex unions, marriage between blood siblings and other crazy stuff in our world, but because many people are hailing a particular deviant act they also decide to deem it right; because for them where the majority has gathered there the goodies of life are.
I give this introduction because of the crowd who at one breath hailed Jesus with hosanna chorus while in another breath they nailed him with the words “Crucify him. Crucify him.” Be careful with the one who hails you today because (s)he may be just part of a choir and (s)he sings a song that the choirmaster intones: if it is hosanna, then you are lucky but if it “crucify him chorus” then that will be too bad. Let us come to the texts for our Palm Sunday reflection.
Jesus must have visited Jerusalem countless times in his lifetime. But one visit stood out. As things turned out, it was to be his last. Many inhabitants of Jerusalem turned out to receive him. They could have been thousands, but they were certainly in the hundreds. They were hailing him as a king and saying quite some strange things about him: “Hosanna! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heavens.” They threw their cloaks and palm and olive branches on the road for him to ride on with the colt he had borrowed for the day. What honour could have been greater than all that? Clearly, the people recognized Jesus as a good man, maybe even the Messiah they had long been promised. But wait!
Less than a week later, on Good Friday, the story had changed. Everything else was still the same. It was still the same Jesus. It was still the same Jerusalem. The population was the same. But they were singing a different song. “Hosanna” had given way to “Crucify him”. There was blood in their eyes. They wanted to see blood, the blood of Jesus flow before their eyes. Jesus was still a good man. The judge, Pontius Pilate, could find no wrong that he had done. That was immaterial. The people wanted him dead anyway, and die he had to. That was all that mattered.
The experienced Roman diplomat, Pontius Pilate was also influenced by the majority demands. He knew that his final decision wasn’t the right one but he just wanted to please the crowd. "Please" is where we taking our world. People today do not care about our rich ancestral heritage; they will trade every valuable thing just for what the crowd is demanding. If this is the only “choir” in our world then some of us will became allergic to music but remember we will not be afraid to stand “alone” with Christ. If it is for Jesus, do not be afraid to be part of the minority; remember the road that leads to the Kingdom of heaven is narrow and few will choose it.
In today’s Passion account Mark reports only one word of Jesus from the Cross: “Why have you forsaken me?” For now there is no answer to this “Why”. No relief is possible at this point. Therefore, the life of the world’s Saviour ends with a “great cry” in which he gives not only human but also divine-human expression to the injustice world history has done to God, to this incomprehensible outrage against him. It is precisely this cry at the point of death that brings the centurion, the first convert, to faith. Jesus is crying for you…let not his death for you be for nothing. The majority cannot always be right.