A Time to Choose

A Time to Choose

All over the country, the airwaves are inundated with ads, sound bites, and newscasts.  Whether it’s on the television, over the phone, on radio, or through loudspeakers at a gathering, we are asked to make a choice. 

It’s that time again, when we prepare ourselves to make choices that will affect our daily lives, by ascertaining the relevant information we need to make these “informed” decisions.  That’s right: its Lent! (Did you think I was going to say the elections?) 

Lent is that time each year when we prepare ourselves for Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; through prayer, Penance, self-denial, and good deeds to help us renew our faith by recalling our baptism and repenting our sins, not only to better live our lives as Christians, but to give us the strength and understanding we need to face the decisions of our daily lives.

At the end of Lent and into the Triduum, we recall the Passion of our Lord.  There is one specific event in the Passion that I feel we need to place ourselves at after spending the days of Lent preparing.  Place yourself in Pontius Pilate’s courtyard some two-thousand years ago.  Two men stand before you: Jesus the Nazarene and Jesus Barabbas (yes that was his full name, shortened to Barabbas in the Gospels).  You stand there as part of the crowd, now the jury for Pilate, to decide the fate of these two men. This crowd, made up mainly, if not all, of members of the Jewish community readying themselves for the Passover, who not only feels enslaved from being under the tyranny of roman rule, but isolated for they fear that God has abandoned them.  All they want is to be free; free from oppression and to once again feel God’s love, like their ancestors felt crossing the Jordon into the Promised Land.  It’s your decision: Who lives?  It is this moment that I wish to focus on, albeit brief as it will be, because this discussion can go on for pages.

Who do you chose?  On one hand is Jesus, son of a carpenter from Nazareth, who just days before was being praised by the masses as he entered through the gates of Jerusalem.  His fame has been spreading down from Galilee, through Samaria, and into Judea to the Holy City.  His message is based on faith, hope, and love.  He says we must look in ourselves, in our hearts, to repent and believe for the Scriptures are being fulfilled, God’s Kingdom is at hand.  He speaks as one with authority, more so than the scribes and teachers, but the Sanhedrin are weary of him and want him crucified.  Is he the promised one, the Savior, or is it all blasphemous?

On the other hand is Jesus Barabbas, who has been spending his days in prison by order of the Romans.  He is seen as a revolutionary, trying to arouse the people to revolt against the Romans for our freedom.  He has been charged with robbery and murder, sentenced by the Romans to death by crucifixion.  He is notorious, known around here for being ruthless and selfish, yet passionate about his hatred for the Romans.  Can he lead us over the Romans to freedom, or will he even try to and just fend for himself?

Let’s come forward two-thousand years to the present.  We know the decision made and its outcome: Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, was crucified, died and was buried, all according to God’s Will, to save us. Jesus Barabbas, whose last name means “son of the father”, was freed and did who knows what, but not long after, Jerusalem and the Temple were taken over and destroyed by the Romans in the first Jewish-Roman War.  There is, however, one point from that scene two-thousand years ago; that I feel is the key to understanding what was happening at that moment: they took the easy way out. 

How hard it must have been for the Sanhedrin and others in the crowd to except the fact that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Scripture; he was the Word made flesh. 

Instead of searching deep in their hearts and their faith to understand and accept the Word of God, they found it easier to do what they needed to make their lives easier for the time being–so they chose to free Barabbas.

Every day we are faced with choices: some easy, some hard, and still some that we can’t even find the immediate answer for.  Going back to the opening paragraphs, were you thinking I was talking about the elections?  Indirectly, I was. 

Who we vote for to represent us or how we vote on issues reflects our morals and faith, all having an effect, along with our other daily choices, on the outcome of our lives–not just yours, not just mine, but all of our lives as children of God! 

Which Jesus will you choose?

…God Bless…

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Featured image: Stuart Miles/ freedigitalphotos.net

 
 

About the Author

Michael Glassmeyer is a lifelong Catholic who has spent the past several years examining his own faith and beliefs in an attempt to understand the beliefs and actions of others involving local, state, national, and world events. Michael lives in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is married with three children. (@MPGlassmeyer)
 
 
 
  • Roland

    I am a ‘recovering Catholic’ -not even ‘Christian’… nevertheless, I respect people’s beliefs even though I may disagree (and I Do). I KNOW full well that America’s founding was (IS) based upon Freedom of Religion (Consciousness… Expression). Even Atheist appreciate the Freedoms that are inalienable Rights granted to us by God as Is written in our Constitution. The united States of America IS ‘the beacon on the hill’. We MUST renew, daily, our trust in the framers of our Constitution and all the men & women who sacrificed their fortunes, sacred honor and lives in defense of our Constitution.

    God bless & help us all.

  • patty

    Michael, this is so true.  Indeed we are making the way easy instead of searching in the Word and in our hearts for the true answers.  The church is under attack so much, not only for what we believe and try to uphold now, but for many things that happened even centuries ago.  I believe in God who is in charge of His creation.  I search very deeply within to understand the Catholic faith and to realize there is freedom and protection in upholding God’s law.

  • Smartuckus

    I think you should consider also the two interpretations of Jesus (Christ – not Barrabas).  One interpretation is that Jesus founded an hierarchical Church – one fold (to which He promised salvation (to the many [Pro Multis] who would accept and profess ALL of His teachings and who would DO all that He commanded them), with one shepherd, to which He entrusted His Teaching Authority, not so that new doctrine could be invented, but that the dogmas of the Church would be handed down faithfully from one generation to another.  This Jesus told us that most people follow the broad path that “leadeth to destruction;” that the way to salvation is narrow – “and few there are that find it.”  This Jesus prioritizes our lives by placing our salvation (the pearl of great price) well above that of our (still important) temporal needs. 

    The second interpretation of Jesus is that of a rebel and a hippie, a “community organizer” whose Father (or mother, or “whatever you like” according to the adherents of this interpretation) is an old, dear Grandpa who couldn’t stand to see one of his children consigned to the fires of Hell (which no longer exists in this interpretation anyway).  This version of Jesus is a daring “change agent” whose divine purpose was, and continues to be, via any church, temple, synagogue or government, solving problems of monetary inequality, not by a system of work and reward, but by redistribution according to “need;” a subjective term defined by the standard of living enjoyed by the Jonses down the street, or if that isn’t good enough, the Rockefellers in a different community. 

    One of these versions is an errant misrepresentation, and unfortunately most “Catholics” accept it over the other, at least by various degrees.  Salvation (and what it takes to have it) is not a burning issue with men nowadays. Of those who actually still believe in an afterlife, most presume they will enjoy it.