What is it about the crowd? The crowd plays a very significant role in story of the Passion of God which we read in today’s Gospel. The crowd listens very closely to the chief priests and the Pharisees who tell them to crucify Jesus. The chief priests were known to be the leaders of society and the religious establishment. These chief priests searched for false testimony against Jesus. They stripped him of his garments. Spat in his face. Mocked him. They set the example for the crowd. The crowd always follows, like blind sheep. Crowds don’t know who to listen to. So they naturally listen to the voice that will provide the most self-serving pleasure, the path of least resistance. Crowds listen to those who will promise rewards in the form of social respect and honor, power, security and pleasure. Crowds don’t like to be challenged. Crowds don’t seem to know how to discern for themselves. They just follow along. They lack the ability to admit mistakes and change the course of direction. Crowds can be dangerous. The crowds are running in many directions these days. It seems we have been infected by some kind of a virus. We are running as fast as we can to beat the virus. But it is a very different type of running. As we sit in our homes and home offices, we might take this opportunity to really look closely at the crowd. Who does the crowd listen to? The doctors or the puppets? The comedians or the fatalists? The voice of Divine Mercy or the inner critic gone wild?

We have a lot of time this year. In fact, this may turn out to be the only year in our entire lives when we can truly watch what is happening in the story of God’s passion which begins today on Palm Sunday. There is much more to this story than waving palms, dramatic renderings of the Way of the Cross, lit candles in darkened Churches, and priests baptizing new Catholics. This year, we can step away from the crowd. We have a built in opportunity because work has slowed down or stopped. The restaurants and bars are closed and we can’t go to Wrigley Field. God has given us an amazing gift of time and space to pray over this story. Let us step away from the crowd. Let us stifle the voice of the alleged leaders of society and religion. Let us go within and see that God has wanted nothing more than to come among us and demonstrate passionate Love. God seems to do anything it takes to get us to see this Divine flame of Love !

Please note the information in this bulletin about online celebrations of the Holy Week services. Most priests, lay ministers and volunteers in parishes have come to see Holy Week as the busiest time of year and so we never really caught the power of Holy Week. We were always trying to tell others. This year, God will minister to us Be loved! Be healed!

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