Fr. Paul D. Scalia: Barabbas: A Holy Week Examen

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*Image: Not This Man but Barabbas by Albrecht Dürer, c. 1520 [Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries, UK]

By Fr. Paul D. Scalia, The Catholic Thing, March 28, 2021

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Pastor of Saint James in Falls Church.  …


Fr. Paul D. ScaliaIn their respective narratives of our Lord’s Passion, all four Gospels mention the crowd’s election of Barabbas over Jesus. That choice comes at the end of Pontius Pilate’s half-hearted attempt to free Christ. It is the moment of the crowd’s definitive rejection of Christ and embrace of evil.

The whole account captures human sinfulness in just a few verses. Pilate puts before the crowd first “Jesus Barabbas” (Mt 27:17) – that is, “Jesus, son of the father” – and then Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father. The crowd must choose either the real Son of the Father or His counterfeit, the true Sonship or the false. Its choice of the counterfeit and false summarizes our sinfulness. …