“Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.”
~ Niccolo Machiavelli
Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher and writer. Best known for his work The Prince (1513), he died in 1527. He has come to be known as the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
His observation of humanity was and is, in many ways, spot on. He called us fickle and greedy. Those traits were definitely on display when Jesus was arrested. Jesus had become quite a problem for many the influential person in His day. He was calling people to a radical way of holiness and challenging them to repent their ways and return to the ways that led to God.
However, many of the people were quite happy where they were. They did not want to repent. They did not want to forgive others. They did not want to sacrifice any of their own possessions or desires. They wanted to be in charge of their own lives and, because of that, had drifted far from God.
When you gather fickle and greedy hypocrites together, you are bound to find trouble. The people decided that Jesus was too much of an inconvenience for them and, thus, they were determined to rid themselves of Him. If ridding meant killing Him, so be it. They did not want to have anything to do with Jesus. Therefore, they shouted for his crucifixion.
This day begins Holy Week. We begin it by reminding ourselves that we are often like the crowds who shouted to have Jesus crucified. We often find the Lord’s teachings too much for ourselves and do all that we can to avoid the lessons of our faith. We are in it for ourselves rather than looking out for the needs of others. We do not like to be reminded that we need to repent and change. We would rather rid ourselves of the people who tell us that change is necessary.
When will we learn? It is only when we cast off the things that keep us from God that we will be able to see more clearly. It is only when we shun temptation that we will be able to hear the whispering voice of God calling us to something different.
Only then can our change begin.
FAITH ACTION: Reflect upon the Stations of the Cross today, asking God to give you a deeper appreciation of all that Jesus went through in order to save us from our sin.