Tag Archives: Matthew 27

The Holy Week Story – Saturday

Women at the Tomb by sculptor Peter Lupori

Holy Saturday Reflections

Read Matthew 27:57-66

So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.  Matt. 27:59-61

Up through the death of Jesus, males have dominated the story of Holy Week: Judas, Peter, Caiaphas, and Pilate.  It is what one would expect in a male-dominate society.  However, at the cross, the focus shifts to women.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, is at the cross. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary watch from a distance.  Though Jesus’ inner circle has fled, some of the women followers stay close by.  They watch not only the crucifixion, but also where he is buried.  After the sabbath is over, women will be the first to go to the tomb.

Earlier in the gospel Jesus had instructed the disciples to “Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41).  At the risk of sounding sexist, for whatever reason, women seem better able to fulfill this task than men.   Perhaps men feel the need to act, to perform, to do something.  Perhaps women know that sometime you simply wait, trusting in God, a kind of pregnant waiting, knowing that change is happening beneath the surface. 

Holy Saturday is a day of pregnant waiting.  God is at work, beneath the surface, behind the tombstone.  Soon, very soon, everyone, male and female, will see the hand of God at work.

How is waiting difficult or challenging for you?  What practices helps in waiting for God?

Prayer: Lord, teach me to be patient, to wait for your good work, to trust in your timing.

Holy Week Story – Thursday

Pilate Washing His Hands by artist He Qi

Reflections on Jesus’ Trial with Pilate.

Read Matthew 27:1-31

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Matt 27:24

Jesus’ trial before Governor Pilate changes the tenor of the story.  It is no longer a  religious squabble between Jewish sects.  Jesus claims are extended beyond international boundaries, into the very halls of the political power and authority. Rome was known for its power and system of justice.  Who is the real King or Ruler of this world?  Jesus exposes the self-serving character of Pilate and the Roman system.   Though he tries to wash away his connection, Pilate remains complicit in Jesus’ crucifixion.

It is easy to paint Pilate as a self-serving bureaucrat who was either corrupt to begin with or was easily manipulated by the crowd.  Yet I can see the Pilate in me, the part of me unwilling to take a stand against the mob and stand by someone who is innocent.   Are there not people in our community who need someone to be their advocate?

In his book, Tattoos of the Heart, the Jesuit priest, Gregory Boyle, describes his ministry with the gangs of LA.  One day he takes two gang members, Chepe and Richie, on a road trip.   They stop at a Coco’s restaurant for dinner.  Their welcome by the receptionist and other diners is ice-cold.  They stare at Chepe and Richie’s shaved heads, tattoos, and all their baggy clothes gangster garb.

Richie whispers, “We don’t belong here, we should go somewhere else.”

“What are you talkin’ about?” said Greg.

“There’s just pure, rich white people here.” Richie pleaded.

Then the waitress came.

Our waitress is an entirely different story from the frozen and awkward reception we seem to be getting from everybody else. She puts her arms around the “fellas,” calling Chepe and Richie ‘Sweetie” and “Honey” and bringing them refills (“and we didn’t even have to ask”) with extra this and more of that, and supplying Tapatio on demand. She is Jesus in an apron. (p. 136)

When have you experienced either abuse of power or an advocate for justice?

Prayer: Use us, Lord God, as instruments of peace in a world broken by violence, hatred and fear.