Brian’s Reflection: Sat/Sun, Oct 11/12, 2008
If it has to choose who is to be crucified,
the crowd will always save Barabbas.
- Jean Cocteau, artist, who died on this day (Oct 11), 1963
What’s the old adage about “killing the messenger”?? When we are in our “crowd” mentality, we human beings use the crowd anonymity to hide behind ….. that is, to abdicate personal responsibility and pander to our fears, our less-than-honourable, less than noble temptations. Very often, that “crowd” can be manipulated by leaders for their own dishonourable wiles. One thinks of the German people under Hitler. Of the Israelites before Pilate. I also think of us, the American people, under an imperial president and leadership, manipulating our fears to their own enriching ends.
Choosing Barabbas is, of course, a metaphor, or a very succinct parable. It’s very easy to be herded. The results are usually disastrous. Ethnic cleansing, genocide, or the scapegoating of some feared “minority”. And to the diminishment of our own humanity.
One of the readings for the Liturgy tomorrow is from the Letter to the Church in Philippi. It holds these words: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” [4:8]
Think about these things.