In the story of the sentencing of Jesus, I have either identified with the crowd or Pilate.
I am the crowd when I am lost. In the crowd turned mob, there is fear and power. It doesn’t take a lot, in fact just a brief review of history or, closer to home, a look back at your day, to see how easy it is to get wrapped up in a moment, and follow the wrong path.
I am Pilate when I am weak. Pilate is dangerous. His inaction is couched n the guise of looking out for the common good. Not making waves. And, like the rich man in the parable, he walks away sad.
Identifying with him hurts more. He is calling me, all Catholics, all Christians to fight for the Truth, regardless of what the world (or Facebook friends) might say.
But today I realized I am (we are) also all Jesus Barrabbas.
Barrabbas, “son of the father.” (Lower case f). I have always assumed Barrabbas was a very bad man (think Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.) Although, looking it up he is referred to as a notorious prisoner, a revolutionary or a bandit.
So when presented with the choice of him or Jesus, well surely Barrabbas is not worthy of being saved. And so, we judge. Rationally, the decision to release him is absurd! And that removes us rational people away from him and closer to the crowd, where we can rationalize their fear, or closer to sympathetic Pilate.
But back to Barrabbas. Son of the father. He is everyman. He is every life.
First, he is the habits, the old world, the materialism, the pride we protect when the thought of building a relationship with Christ becomes too hard. Quite simply, he is us. So when we — as Pilate and the crowd — release Barabbas, we do with our Will what we will. We choose to live without God.
But what about when we are Barrabbas? We are likely perplexed by the decision of the crowd, but we rejoice that we are saved. Of course we are saved not by the crowd, but by the Man condemned. We were given a second change and now must make good on the gift of life we were given.