Whose Side Are You On? – Those Who Witnessed the Passion
– by Carlos Mantica
Brothers and sisters, we have walked the way of the cross and met those who witnessed the passion. I could now ask you, is there anyone among them whom you could consider a mirror of yourself? Perhaps not in his or her character, but in attitudes, in values, in ideas, in his or her position towards Jesus Christ. Where do you place yourself among those who witnessed the Passion? What group do you belong to?
And yet, what I would now like to tell you is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what group you have belonged to up to now. Don’t become bitter by looking back. Jesus did not suffer for you to suffer too. Jesus did not die for you to continue in a state of death. Death is just the step before the resurrection. Jesus is alive, and what he wants is for you to have life, and life in abundance!
Yes, even if you have been a sinner like Mary the Magdalene. Even if you have come here by force or just by chance, like Simon of Cyrene. Even if you have been condemned by men for serious crimes, like Dimas [the good thief]. Even if you are completely ignorant in religious matters and do not understand the enormous wonder that is opening before you because you came across Jesus… even if you are at the service of the enemies of Christ, like the centurion… you can respond today to the cross, to the saving blood of Jesus Christ, and take part in his resurrection and in his glory!
Whoever confesses me before men –says the Lord–, I shall confess him before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I will deny him before my Father… (Luke 12:8)
I would like to end with a parable that the Lord wrote for you:
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Who among you if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the field and goes to look for the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is so happy that he puts it over his shoulders and, upon arriving at his house, gathers his neighbors and says, ‘Congratulate me, because I have found the sheep I had lost.’ I assure you that, in the same way, there is more joy for one sinner who repents, than for ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need for conversion.
Brother or sister, you can be that joy of the Lord, who does not want to drag you or push you or accuse you, but to carry you on his shoulders and celebrate having found you.
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.