Pilate in the center, Jesus in light, Barabbas in the dark.
When Pilate asks whom the people want him to release, as was the custom during the High Holy Days, the people shout repeatedly: “We want Barabbas! We want Barabbas!”
Jesus is the Divine Son of the Father, laying down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment each one of us deserves so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Hours before, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to His Father: “Abba! Father!”
Jesus, the Divine Son of the Father is passed over in favor of Barabbas, whose name, in full irony, means “Son of the Father.” And so are we all created and now redeemed as children of our gracious Heavenly Father.
Has any of us ever said about anyone anywhere, “Better him than me”?
Meanwhile, the people, all of us, received what we wanted: Barabbas.
And then this is what happened to Jesus before being crucified:
Notice the clever film editing: Jesus, who was at the right hand of the political powers that be, is now on the left hand of the political powers that be.
Humor: So, in prison, two good friends, Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Maximilian Moontri, celebrated Palm Sunday Mass with the reading of the Passion. Max took all the parts except Jesus and the Narrator, meaning he also had, for instance, the crowd.
Max, you have to know, is from Thailand, and grew up speaking Thai until 11 years old, when he was effectively stolen away to Maine, being a horrific saga that has turned out well in the end. The point is that he doesn’t have perfect English Pronunciation of Hebrew, which means that… drum roll… wait for it…
At the point where the crowd yells: “We want Barabbas! We want Barabbas!” Max instead reads, entirely innocently: “We want Baber-Ass! We want Baber-Ass!”
Father Gordon said that he somehow contained his laughter. I would have laughed so loudly the guards would have had to show up in force.
This is one of those epic, epic moments in the life of Jesus’ little flock. A story that will surely be told in heaven, hopefully with also a redeemed and saved Barabbas listening.
Meanwhile, on this Friday of Easter week – every day like Easter Day…