Mark’s account of the Gospel is the oldest canonical Gospel and dates to sometime between 50 and 67 AD. He was the first to take on the challenge of relating what really happened to Jesus and how the event of the passion was a fulfilment of God’s plan for Him and for our salvation. In his account, many persons respond to Jesus in many different ways. A woman anoints him with perfumed oil, anticipating his burial. At the Last Supper, Peter and the rest of the Apostles swear they will never deny him. In Gethsemane, the apostles sleep. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. In fear, a young man runs away naked. During the trial, many give false witness. Peter denies Jesus three times. Pilate hands him over to be crucified. Soldiers mock him. Simon of Cyrene helps him carry the cross. Soldiers crucify him. The centurion testifies that Jesus is the “Son of God”. At the crucifixion, many women remained present. Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus. During Jesus’ last hours, only a few faithful people stand by Jesus. Most do not.
In our Christian journey, at one point or the other we act like some of the characters during his passion. We praise him, we swear to always defend him. But then we deny him and pretend we never knew him. We run away as soon as others identify us as his disciples and rain curses on ourselves by identifying with cheap popularity rather than holiness. When we run into trouble, we run back to him and make endless vigils in order to obtain favours. Some of us are faithful and we stay with God no matter the problem or discomfort. We persevere even with great temptations to defect. We stand because we have chosen to cooperate with God’s grace.
As you hear this passion proclaimed, where do you stand?
St Andrew of Crete advises us in these words:
“Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him…by being humble and by trying to live as he could wish….Let us spread before his feet before him the garment of our lives. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism (and through the observances of fasting, prayer and almsgiving), our souls should take the place of the welcoming branches as we join our voices to all God’s children everywhere singing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the King of my heart!”
Prayer: Lord, give me the heart of a true disciple; to stand for you in good and bad times and obtain the reward for which you died for me.
Today’s Readings: Mk 11:1-10; Isa 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Philp 2:6-11; Mk 14:1-15:47