Free Barabbas Day

Good Friday Homily
April 2, 2021
Sacred Heart, EGF – 7 PM


Ecce Homo “Behold the Man” by Antonio Ciseri, 1871

Do you know what day it is today? I thought I knew…until one of the altar servers asked me that question at our rehearsal this morning. He enlightened me.

It’s “Free Barabbas Day.”

His favorite part of the Passion, apparently, is when the whole congregation exuberantly exclaims: “Not this one, but Barabbas!” And so, to him, today is “Free Barabbas Day.”

Indeed.  Wisdom from a high schooler. Because, for all of us, today is “Free Barabbas Day.”

After all, who is Barabbas?

You are. 

I am. 

Barabbas was a revolutionary…a rebel.  Is not rebellion the sin of Adam and Eve?  Is that not the sin that each one of us has inherited?  Has committed at some point in our lives?

Barabbas was the one enslaved in a prison of his own making, of his own choices. Barabbas was one who deserved to die for what he had done. Along comes Jesus on that first Good Friday, and that Good Friday became “Free Barabbas Day.”

He was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins,
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole.

The guilty man goes free and the innocent man takes his place.

I wonder what Barabbas did with the rest of his life?

3 thoughts on “Free Barabbas Day

  1. Barabbas was a Zealot who fought against the Roman occupation of Palestine. The angry mob in the Praetorium probably consisted mostly of Zealot adherents and sympathizers. This group of Jews expected the Messiah to liberate them from Roman rule. They had expected Jesus to free them and restore the Davidic monarchy, but after he was arrested, they disowned him as a fraud and vent their anger against him.

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