The Passion of our Lord according to Matthew is replete with events, feelings and individuals. Did any of the people who were part of this drama leave behind journal entries that might give us entry into their hearts and souls?
Did Judas Iscariot write? They paid me 30 pieces of silver and all I had to do was to betray the master, turning him over to the authority. It wasn’t so much for the money though I was a little short. Rather, Jesus was not doing the right things politically. We were going nowhere. But now I am going nowhere. I sold my master, my friend. Because of that sin, I can no longer live with myself. All is darkness and I must end it all …
Did Peter write? And we slept, James and John and I. We slept while the master prayed to be spared the bitter cup. Worse, I denied knowing him, denied him three times. Earlier I boasted that I was beyond betrayal. Yet before the cock crowed … When he gazed at me across the evening fire, I knew my sin and I wept. Nothing will ever be the same. My sorrow is unto death.
Did Caiaphas the high priest write? Another rabble-rouser from the north. We are done with him now and things can get back to normal. After all, he did commit blasphemy in claiming to be the Son of God. That did it. It was a good move on my part to refer the whole situation to Pilate. Now the whole thing is off my conscience. I simply did what I had to do.
Did Simon of Cyrene write? I was just minding my own business when suddenly I was given a cross to carry. Why are humans so violent and cruel? Why these crucifixions? The man I carried the cross for looked at me — it was almost a look of gratitude. Apparently I eased his suffering in a small way. I did not stay for the execution — my heart was broken.
An anonymous bystander? It was a strange crucifixion. The one in the center seemed to be calling out for Elijah in his misery. All this as the scribes and elders were mocking and taunting him. It was truly ugly. Apparently this Jesus claimed to be the Son of God forsaking someone.
Questions for reflection
1. What is your emotional response to the Passion?
2. With whom do you identify in the Gospel narrative?
3. In what sense is the Passion of the Lord still going on?
Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.