Also Read: Mass Readings for 15 April 2022
We encounter ‘a crowd’ in different readings throughout the Holy week. We see the crowd during Palm Sunday. We see it again during the trials of Jesus. We see it again when Jesus carries His cross to Calvary. We see the crowd when Jesus suffers and dies humiliated on the cross.
The crowd had drastically different opinions about Jesus. On Palm Sunday, the crowd saw the redeemer in Jesus. But on Thursday night, He was a considered threat to the Jewish existence. On Friday He was a total failure to the crowd and they merrily mocked him.
On this Good Friday, standing at the foot of the cross, let us ask ourselves the inconvenient question: “Am I part of a crowd?” If I always prefer to be part of a crowd and safe, I have reasons to worry. Jesus had not invited us to be part of a crowd. The crowd does not think, it acts as it is manipulated to do. When it appears to win, everyone in the crowd cheers, but in failure, the onus is conveniently passed on to someone else. Often the rulers prefer a thoughtless crowd that executes their whims and fancies, just like the crowd that cried to crucify Jesus. Do you belong to a crowd?
The twenty-first-century young saint, Blessed Carlos Acutis said, “All are born originals, but many die photocopies.” You are not created to add the number to the crowd. God did not send His beloved Son not to make you a number in the crowd. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and slept in cattle shed – not to make you a part of a crowd. He fled to Egypt with His parents and lived in exile – not for making you part of a crowd. He lived the life of a poor carpenter boy and toiled day and night- not to make you a number in the crowd. He received the baptism, the witnessing of the Holy Spirit, and the approval of His Heavenly Father – not to make you another person in the crowd. He gathered disciples, preached the good news, healed the sick, and went about doing good – not to make you part of a crowd.
During His last supper, He instituted the sacrament of Eucharist – not to reduce us to mere numbers in a crowd. He let himself be betrayed, denied, and judged by unjust courts – not to make us coward members of certain crowds. He suffered the whipping, the crown of thorns, the humiliations, and the heavy cross on His shoulder – not to gather an insensitive crowd. He carried the heavy cross, received more whipping, was nailed to the cross, was hanged on to the cross naked, humiliated, and counted among criminals – not to make us an unsympathetic crowd. He died the death of a criminal and received a quick burial – not to make as fast forgetting crowd. He resurrected, took to heaven, anointed His disciples with Holy Spirit, and send them across the globe so that we stand firm and strong at His side just like His mother and the couple of friends who stood by the cross. Today, at the foot of the cross, looking at His face decide if you want to be a mere number in a mindless crowd.