Isaiah 50: 4-7 – Philipians 2: 6-11 – Mark 14: 1 – 15:47
Today we begin the hoist of weeks in the weeks in the yearly calendar of the life of the Church. We do so by hearing an account of the betrayal, condemnation and death of Jesus. I have frequently mention that the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross is the story of the totality of God’s love for mankind, of God’s love for all of us. I encourage you to keep this in mind as we listen to this account by Saint Mark today.
Even though Saint Marks telling of this event is briefer by comparison to the other Gospels, we can have a sense of what message he is attempting to convey. In Saint Mark’s narration he focuses on various persons who were part of this tragic event. He tells of the actions, statements, reactions of different individuals: the envy of the priests as it was perceived by Pontius Pilate, Pilate himself as weak and shallow, the assistance of Simon from Cyrene who was apparently known by some of Mar’s listeners, the others who were crucifer with Jesus and taunt him, and, most importantly the centurion , the non-Jew, who makes a profound statement of faith.
Mark appears to suggest that we might identify with one or the other of these individuals. From that standpoint we can appreciate the actions of Christ as they are extended to us. Further, we can consider how we might respond individually as we are a part of this drama.
As tragic as this story of the passion and death of Jesus is, it is, over all, the story of the depth of God’s love for us. It is a call made to us to join our human experience as well as our faith to the acknowledgment of the centurion: “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
It is the meaning and the impact of our faith in our lives that leads us to reaffirm what we believe. In the renewal of the promises made at our Baptism next week It is faith that is expressed in response to this account of the totality of the love of out good and gracious God.