Year B Sixth Sunday of Lent – Palm Sunday

Mark 14: 1 – 15: 47

We will use Mk 15: 21 – 41 for our prayer and reflection.

Father, we thank you for the gift of your Holy Word.  May it be a lamp to our feet, a light to our paths, joy to our hearts and strength to our lives.

Jesus’ death must have been a terrible experience for his followers.  All their hopes had been dashed.  How could such a good person, as Jesus, suffer such a miserable and degrading death.  As you read through 15: 21 – 32 you will soon become aware of the emotions and confusion that must have filled the minds of the disciples.  How they must have tried to make some kind of sense out of what had happened.  This struggle went on for some considerable time.

Just look at the confusion that existed in Mark’s mind.

  • He mentions crucified seven times.
  • Jesus is mocked seven times.
  • Could Jesus have had a more terrible death? He was stripped naked; “they shared out his clothing.”  He died between, “two robbers.”

No wonder Mark could not make any sense out of this tragedy.

21The soldiers led Jesus out to crucify him.  They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross.  22They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.  23They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he refused it. 24Then they crucified him, and shared out his clothing, casting lots to decide what each should get. 25It was the third hour when they crucified him. 26The inscription giving the charge against him read: “The king of the Jews”. 27And they crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29The passers-by jeered at him: they shook their heads and said, “Aha!  So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days!  30Then save yourself: come down from the cross!”  31The chief priests and the scribes mocked him among themselves in the same way: “He saved others” they said, “he cannot save himself. 32Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, for us to see it and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.

Can you imagine Mark (long after Jesus death), head down, hands holding his head, his eyes closed, his heart broken. And so it was with all Jesus disciples. How long it took for Mark to bring this tragedy to prayer we do not know. Eventually he started to pray about it. Still there was no light, no understanding. He persevered and then, one evening, as he prayed Ps 22 he began to understand what had happened. Here in this psalm he started to find some answers.

PSALM 22

15: 34

2My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

 

15: 29 – 30

15: 31b

8All who see me mock me;

they curl their lips and jeer;

they shake their heads at me:

9You relied on the Lord – let him deliver you,

if he loves you, let him rescue you.”

 

15: 24

So wasted are my hands and feet

18that I can count all my bones.

They stare at me and gloat;

they divide my garments among them;

 

20But, you Lord, do not stay far off;

my strength, you, come quickly to help me.

21Deliver me form the sword,

my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.

22Save me from the lion’s mouth,

my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

 

God, rescue me, and I will be so grateful; all people will be grateful.

23Then I will proclaim  your name to the assembly;

in the community I will praise you.

for my clothing they cast lot.

 

God’s  Kingdom is established

28All the ends of the earth

will worship and turn to the Lord.

All families of nations

will bow low before you.

30All who sleep in the earth

will bow low before God.

31And I will live for the Lord.

 

From the opening cry of anguish;

2My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

to

they divide my clothing among them;

we listen to a person sinking into the depths of pain and suffering.  The psalmist’s distress is Jesus’ distress, is Mark’s suffering, it is also yours and mine.

Just when things cannot get worse, Jesus turns to the Father, the Father who he has always trusted;

You Lord, do not stay far off;

my strength, you, come quickly to help me.

 

We express our relief and gratitude at how God intervenes in our lives.

 “I will proclaim your name,

I will praise you.”

This gratitude shifts to an ecstatic experience – in Mark’s words we are astounded and we say so.

28All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the Lord.

(Everybody will turn to God.  Everyone will be united with God.

Goodness is becoming ever more present in my life and in the lives of my community.)

Now pray Psalm 22 out loud using the text above.

 

PRAYER

Astounded and Astonished

I pray

God my Father,

28All the ends of the earth

will worship and turn to you Lord.

In you Mother,

All families of nations

will bow low before you.

With you Father,

30All who sleep in the earth

will bow low before God.

And Me

31I will live for You.

“This man was a son of God”