It probably wasn’t exactly a week, as the gospel writers needed to put all of the info into their gospel boxes to fit nicely. Jesus must have returned from the desert with swollen feet, red eyes, an empty stomach and a heart filled with dread. His Father knew that He was going to be this way. But Jesus wasn’t so sure. Temptation fills one with creativity and horror. If He chose to join hands with his fallen brother, what would we be like? What would He have done? Selling yourself to the devil is nothing short of deadly. Haven’t you made decisions where you were later filled with regret and sorrow? Did Jesus regret not have gone with his dark souled brother? That fallen angel had it made. But no, He thought of his herd. He thought of Mary Magdalene, little Judah, and the rest of his clan that loved him so much…so much so that one of them would sell him to the Romans…
This week will be very busy for Jesus. He is back, and he needs food, comfort and love, just the way he nurtures all of us. Every time He walks away this week, He is meditating on whether or not He made the right choice. Jesus is Human. He is scared, and He is responsible for so many of His sheep.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
So, the sequence of events was for good reason. Jesus plans to make some headway into Jerusalem, not by just walking in, or showing up, but by doing what ancient prophecy claimed; “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Everyone is laying down fronds of palm, rugs, their own clothes, so their god, the Messiah can enter Jerusalem the way He should…He’s no fool, He wants a presentation to get at the religious leaders. I wonder what His team was thinking: Yes! This guy is the King, and he is going to own this! The One to tear it down!
And He proved them right when they got to the temple. He arrives and is shocked with the sight in His Father’s house: He is filled with anger; He is apoplectic with rage. The money changers, the sales of animals for sacrifice, the greedy profit from the high priest and his order concerning which coins were acceptable or not. OMG this cannot be my Father’s house! Damn you, all of you He must have screamed.
“Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” JOHN 2:13-22
He was pissed.
And that was only Monday.
Now, think of those religious leaders and their opinions of this guy. He comes in, pretends to be fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, crashes the market with his righteous anger, and all the while talking about love and HIS dad…, THE FATHER… who the hell is he? A false prophet, but a strong one, as he has followers. He claims to be an authority-a spiritual authority…What to do, what to do.
Well, they attempted to arrest Him, while He was resting before going to the Mount of Olives. But, still very angry, Jesus says, and I cannot paraphrase because this is a good one:
“Blind guides…For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)
I would not have argued with Him either, so they left. They did however find a man who, well, we thought he was on Jesus’ team: Judas Iscariot. Well, truly I tell you, if he didn’t do this, the story would not have ended in such glory. (That is another discussion about the end of it, at another time).
So, this Olivet Discourse (Sermon on the Mount) is too much for my story. It was the “end of time” talk, he was getting them ready, all of the disciples, the team, what have you. It was long, filled with cool things like His second coming with Faithful & True, His white horses, but a whole lot more that I will not get into. Jesus was a great teacher. If only I could just spend one day on that mount or on a subway and hear Him talk, passing out parables to anyone who’d listen, I would die happy. But then again, being dead I’d see Him anyway and I’d be even happier.
I digress. He did, however, warn His team of possible future deceptions and the difficulties they will be heading into, aside from the End Time. You know, these guys were fishermen. What do you think they were really hearing while Jesus was talking? Were they afraid? Did they really think He was going to be there for them till the End?
Some did ask, “When will these things be? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age”?
I would think that after the Sermon on the Mount talk this exhausted team of disciples relaxed with Jesus, as He made his plans for the rest of this week. I can imagine Jesus not wanting to scare His team. Not wanting to push them away, but they needed to move past their comfort zone. It was going to be a tough time for all.
So, they prepared for Passover. And Judas prepared for a betrayal.
“I wanted to materialize the maximum of luminous and Pythagorean instantaneous based on the celestial communion of the number twelve: twelve hours of the day—twelve months of the year—the twelve pentagons of the dodecahedron—twelve signs of the zodiac around the sun—the twelve apostles around Christ”. Salvador Dali
The dichotomy of it all.
During this time, Jews from all over went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, which symbolizes their freedom from slavery in Egypt. Yet, they were under Roman rule, not free at all, with the Romans allowing them this short time to openly practice their rituals, as long as they paid the right price. But the real juicy dichotomy, is that during the Passover meal, Jesus uses what He knows to be true, the Passover meal is to break bread with your loved ones and celebrate freedom from the shackles. He now breaks bread, and turns this simple, beautiful familial event into the symbol of Christianity: (He didn’t know it would become what it is now, but again, that is another story), the symbol of His body and blood: the covenant: the institution of the Eucharist.
Jesus purposefully used this time to gather His team to teach for the last time, to love one and other, to be first is to be last; and the last shall be first; He washes their feet, He pours his love onto them as Judas carries out the plan of betrayal.
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me'” (Luke 22:19)
Garden of Gethsemane
We all disappoint loved ones. But this was not good, when the guys fell asleep while all He wanted to do was just, sit, cry, melt in His father’s arms and beg for this cup to be passed. If He passed the cup, what would have happened? He would have stayed married and had more kids and then died; like any other Jew. We’d all be celebrating Passover, which isn’t such a bad thing, but something would be missing.
His love for us. His passion for the world from one end to the other, one star to the next. His belief that Man can love each other and live in peace. Hard facts to consider, because we haven’t really done a good job with His teachings to date.
Jesus agonized and, well, you know Him by now, he got pissed. You couldn’t stay up for me? One friggin night? Now it’s too late. The bumbling apostles shook their heads awake to the smell of fire, the noise of the hooves of horses, and the sight of Judas leaning over to kiss Jesus.
Kind of like a Scorsese movie.
The Trials of Jesus
There wasn’t just one trial but six. During the mix between the Sanhedrin, and by the way not a fair trial at all, everything was done in the cloak of darkness…the Romans, Pontius Pilate, then Pilate and Herod- must I go on? It seemed like they were really pushing for this guy to die. They were so scared of his power, yet his power was about Love, not about violence, even if he was passionate about his words and beliefs, he was a Man of Love, the Prince of Peace and to see His teachings come to fruition would ruin the religious authority and those Romans.
(I saved us all from the color version of seeing David Bowie’s beautiful eyes- you have to remember that Pilate was a bad man) …
I am going to skip a few things here because anyone who has had at least a library of books, a television, an iPad, or phone knows what happens next.
St. Mary Magdalene
Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene was not a whore, a prostitute or whatever labels were placed on her. She was a Jewish woman who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
Mary is a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writings, including the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary. These texts, which are not regarded by scholars as containing accurate historical information, portray her as Jesus’s closest disciple and the only one who truly understood his teachings.
Mary was the apostle of the apostles*…
(the title of apostola apostolorum first appears in the 10th century!!)
*Vatican City, 10 June 2016 – As expressly wished by the Holy Father, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has published a new decree, dated 3 June 2016, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by which the celebration of St. Mary Magdalene, currently obligatory memory, will be elevated in the general calendar to the level of a feast day”.
“The decision is situated in the current ecclesial context, which calls upon us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy”. Archbishop Arthur Roche
Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the Risen Christ and the first messenger who announced to the apostles the resurrection of the Lord.
And she was a woman.
Mary Magdalene was one of the few bold enough to watch Jesus suffer and die on the Cross. She was one of only two to see Him resurrected at His tomb, and was the first to witness the truth of His resurrection.
Behold, Dear Mary, the honor is ours. You were there through all of His trials, held His mother tight when He claimed, “it is finished”, and you were there at the tomb, looking for Him. The first witness. The first evangelist.
Why was she thrown under the bus?
I will leave that question for you to ponder.
“Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these claims are not supported by the canonical gospels, which at no point imply that she had ever been a prostitute or in any way notable for a sinful way of life”. Ehrman, Bart D. (2006), Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-530013-0
Thank you, Bart.
And now, for some fun.
Lady Gaga dresses as Mary Magdalene and takes a bike ride with Jesus Christ in ‘blasphemous’ new video for Judas single.
Last Word, Easter
The Passion means to me many things besides reenacting a holiday week filled with despair, fear, loneliness, betrayal and…joy. As all holidays, they transform the family, the season, and make what is right in the world we live in. Reading scripture may not be your pastime, so the holidays can ignite some wonder in one’s brain during these special times.
For me, re-living the Passion gives me a sense of responsibility to be an observer again, to be non-judgmental to others, to not cast stones, and to believe again in yourself and others. Love is tricky. Love is mean, stabs you in the back with a piercing jagged knife that may feel too good to scream. Love is also as soft as a puppy’s tummy, where you can sink down in a rabbit hole of fuzzy love for hours. Mostly, love is hard work. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples not to worry, he kept it calm with those parables, but those stories become huge truths minutes later, years later, like Easter eggs that kids are finding or in movies. You don’t realize what you just read or saw until it becomes an epiphany.
Speaking of The Epiphany, when Jesus is baptized by John, it is also represented when the 3 Kings come to visit this special newborn baby. Men from different parts of the world; Melchior hailed from Persia, Gaspar from India, and Balthazar from Arabia.
Even as a baby, He brought the world together as one.
I leave you with this:
Jesus’s teachings were only about Peace and Love, to love one another, to be kind, to share your wealth, that wealth comes not only the pocket but from the heart. He didn’t plan an organized profit-making religion. He wanted and still wants all of us to love and share peace.
He said, “Peace be with you.”
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Cherokee: ᏙᎯᏱ (dohiyi)
Hebrew: שלום (shalom)
Japanese: 平和 (heiwa)
Shanti, Sanskrit: शान्तिः