Whose Side Are You On? – Those Who Witnessed the Passion
– by Carlos Mantica
We often remark how much the world has changed, how different things now are if we compare them to those great old times that each one of us remembers with longing.
When we take a look into the world of Jesus, the world in which he lived seems to us so strange that we get the impression that all of that happened not just in a different age but in a different planet.
There is no doubt that things are different now in this world of computers, bombs and space rockets. But whenever I read the Gospel, what surprises me most is to see that everything, in fact, has changed… except for people. Everything is different now, but humanity continues to be the same. And, in the gospels, there are scenes that would seem to have been taken, not from something written two thousand years ago, but from yesterday’s newspaper. These are scenes that look like a catalog, a sampler, a portrait of people whom we come across every day – their ideas, their values, their attitudes. And in that catalog, in that portrait, we can find ourselves too. I’m there.
I’m referring, for instance, to the scenes of the Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion. When we take a look at the actors that surround the Passion and Death of our Lord, we encounter a variety of characters and attitudes that can help us to see ourselves.
Who am I in that portrait? Where do I find myself among the multitude? Whose side have I taken in that story? And I say, “which side did I take” because, even though Christ died one single time and now lives and reigns forever, the story of our salvation continues to be written today, and is determined precisely by the position we take concerning Jesus of Nazareth. At the end of the story, there will only be two places – those at his right and those at his left.
I invite all of you, then, to peer for a while into those passages, trying to find ourselves in them. What role am I playing in the drama? Which of all those characters is me?
My plan is to meet each of those characters along the way of the cross, and see what they tell me. You can try to do the same.
Carlos Mantica is a founder of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua, and a founding leader of the Sword of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between 1991 and 1995. Adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), © copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica.