As Easter approaches and millions of motherless chicks and eggs are sold in an ironic and disconnected welcome to spring and the renewal of life, I am reminded of the beloved Reverend J. R. Hyland’s explanation of the crucifixion of Jesus. In my book Peace to all Beings, I highlighted her views in the chapter “Sacrifice, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of the Animals.”
“Jesus himself stopped the ‘moneychangers’ from selling doves and other animals for sacrifice right in the temple itself… Jesus, normally peaceful and loving, was enraged by the selling of sheep, cattle, and doves for the purpose of sacrifice ‘So he made a whip of cords and drove all from the Temple area.’ (John 2:13). Reverend J.R. Hyland considers this the action that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Hyland explains that the religious leaders in Jerusalem tolerated preachers and reformers like Jesus. It was not his words that caused them to want to be rid of him but his disruption of the profitable selling of animals.
“This event took place as people were preparing for Passover, a time when thousands of animals were sacrificed. This ritual had become quite an economic mainstay of the city. ‘In trying to end the slaughter of animals, he (Jesus) was attacking the economic foundation of Jerusalem,’ Reverend Hyland explains. The sacrifice which could only take place in the Temple brought in tourists (known as pilgrims then) and made money for artisans, craftsmen, farmers, and the politicians.
“The day that Jesus committed this very public act was the 10th of Nisan. This was the day that men arrived at the Temple to select the animals they would kill…At the end of the killing approximately 18,000 animals would be dead… The buckets of blood [from the animals] were …thrown against the altar…
“Four days after Jesus freed the animals, he himself was crucified in what has become known as the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Hyland believes his crucifixion was in direct retaliation for his interference with the Passover sacrifice of thousands of animals.”
“For I desire compassion and not sacrifice.” Matthew 12:7
This week let us hold in our hearts the truth—that the sacrifice of animals to the gods of agriculture, science, religion, comfort, wealth, entertainment, etc. is coming to an end, and the true nature of human beings as loving, compassionate beings is shining forth more and more every day.
With Love, peace, and gratitude from Judy, and Will, Madeleine, and the Circle of Compassion team.
PS - We now have a Facebook Group for the Prayer Circle For Animals where we can share, discuss, visualize, and send our prayers together -