Reflection: Ye of Little Faith
Dear Beloved Community of St. John’s,
We’re down to two weeks before Easter. The tragic journey to the cross happens quickly once Jesus comes to Jerusalem. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. Each of these commemorations has heft and standing to be considered on their own terms. Yet, the power of the story comes from keeping these events as a unit, a seamless drama that ends in resurrection and redemption
One element that is striking is that the “Jesus story” and the “disciples’ story” begin to wobble, deviate, and separate. Jesus and his followers are almost not on the same planet. Jesus sees clearly the bloody eventuality that awaits him. I’ve always thought that the people around him were merely enjoying the festival of Passover in Jerusalem until everything crashed down.
Consider the response of the apostles. The triumphal procession into the city: “We’re with him, so we’re among the popular kids.” The Last Supper: “A dinner party is always nice.” Jesus’ arrest in the garden: “Time for a nap, and we’re out of here.” Jesus’ trial: “I don’t even know the man!” The crucifixion: “Time to stay disappeared.” Easter Sunday morning: “Mary Magdalene doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Easter Sunday evening: “Who is this stranger on the road?”
The disciples are central to what is going on, but as much as they can, in hiding. It’s a human trait to avoid danger, even if at the moment, it’s the greatest story ever told. The astonishing thing that these fragile, frightened people were able to found Christianity. Yet, at the climax of the passion, they went missing. No wonder that Jesus called them “ye of little faith.”