Lectio Divina: 2021-03-26

Our Lectio Divina group considered the Gospel for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.

Mk 14:1-15: 47. It is a very long reading, so there is the possibility of using a shorter version: Mk 15:1-39.

One

This is a long passage and we read about many different characters involved in the Passion Story.

If I place myself in the scenes described – which character am I? I would like to think that I am one of the “good ones” but know that there are many times when I certainly am not!

A few years ago I attended a Palm Sunday service and the congregation were invited to participate in “role play”. As Jesus rode past on a makeshift donkey we shouted “Hosanna” – easy to do, but then we were asked to shout “crucify” I remember being overcome with emotion – I couldn’t do it. I love Jesus. I couldn’t hurt him. But then I realised that I have the potential to cause him pain everyday day by my thoughts, words and actions. The times I am hurtful, unloving and unforgiving – the times I hammer the nails into his hands and feet.

This year Lent has been a Lent like no other and has brought many difficulties for me that are still continuing. Jesus’s suffering was immense and heartbreaking. All because of God’s love for me and the world. Whatever I am going through Jesus knows and understands. I will doubt, I will struggle, I will wonder at times if God has forsaken me too. I will get things wrong but through it all I will be loved.

Love and blessings

Two

I have been reflecting deeply this week on how Jesus must have felt as he knew his death was imminent. My cousin Stephen sadly passed away on Tuesday afternoon after along battle with prostate cancer and vascular dementia. Thankfully his wife was with him at the end. As my cousin wasn’t that much older than me, it’s made me think of my own mortality.

The death of Jesus reminds me that, as we all will die, he has died. He has breathed his last as we all will do. But praise God for the resurrection that reminds me that He has risen and we too will rise.

The one who was the Son of God on earth and son of Mary, is in eternity the Son of God. As He is we shall be. Amen.

Three

Chap 14v 3 = reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper. I started to ask questions. How long had Jesus been there? How many other people were there in the house? Jesus was able to rest and relax. What would be my attitude? Could I show the same relaxed behaviour? During the past year I have prayed to fully appreciate each God given moment. I have asked Our Lord to help me not to fume or fret over trivial things. I have become more mindful of God’s presence throughout the day. When I slow down my mind I allow God’s grace to enter into my soul. I look forward when all of us will be reclining and relaxing in God’s house. Today let us arise in the presence of the father, in the peace of our saviour and in the power of the spirit.

Four

This passage is so hard for me to read, it hurts me to think of Jesus going through such pain. Emotional, physical and spiritual. We go through pain like these but never on such a scale as Jesus who took all the sin of the world on to himself, how can we think he does not understand us, when we contemplate the cross, we can see just how much he loves us. Lord help me to always remember this, that you loved me so much that you took my place and died in my stead so that I might have life. So that I may spread your love today and always.

Love to you all

Five

Two things spoke to me: She has done what is in her power to do: God wants to empower me with the confidence that comes from knowing I’m okay in the eyes of God.

Take this cup from me: God is not a magician, I have to learn to trust that God is okay and silence the if’s and but’s.

Six

This is indeed a long scripture but one I am very familiar with and that makes it more important that I really think about it as I read it. My thoughts today are on the general public and the soldiers. The people were crying out for Jesus to be crucified and the soldiers were assaulting and mocking Jesus. All of this was done because they didn’t believe Him when He said He was God. They thought He was blaspheming because they didn’t know any better. I do know better. I am blessed with faith. I know Jesus is God and yet I still assault and mock Him by my sins. My sins crucified Jesus and this beautiful time of Lent and particularly Holy Week gives me the perfect opportunity to repent and promise to try not to sin again.

God bless you all. Stay safe. xx

Seven

Mark 15 1-39

God loved the world so much that he gave us his son and this is what we did to him. How can he forgive over and over again, knowing what we are capable of, and yes he does. This is what can happen in the absence of love; an extreme example of self will run riot.

I daren’t let my mind dwell too long on Jesus’s suffering, his feeling abandoned by God and his mother, bereft, and feeling powerless to help her son.

The loss to those he left behind is unimaginable. They thought it was all over, but we know what came next.

As I think about that joyous Easter morning I am reminded of Psalm 30

‘Weeping will endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning……….you have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.’ Amen

Hosanna in the Highest, Lord save us from ourselves.

Eight

Friends

Mark 14:50 All of them deserted him and fled.

We cannot imagine what might happen to our faith in circumstances like these.

Perhaps we can picture what it was like when the Nazi SS or Gestapo banged on the door at 4 in the morning, though we’ve seen it only in war films.

It’s natural to want to run away, and probably we would, given the chance.

Impetuous Peter had promised absolute fidelity and yet even he denied three times, to his bitter remorse.

And yet on such people Christ built his church, and here we are today, that church 2000 years on.

It helps me to be reminded of the fallible humanity of those early disciples, contrasted with what they went on to do.

I take comfort, hope, and courage from that.

Blessings

Nine

Lectio Mk 15 : 1- 39.

Verse 7. “A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising”

Hmm Barabbas was released and Jesus took his place and died for the sins He did not commit. Isn’t that an irony that Barabbas actually experienced personally what we acknowledge by faith.

I wonder how Barabbas felt, a weight off his shoulders,… relieved. I wonder if he made himself present at the crucifixion of Jesus just to witness the price Jesus paid for his sins, I wonder if he felt sorry or just thought he was lucky.

Now we move towards Good Friday, after we have shouted Hosanna on Palm Sunday…imagine the fickleness of Man. We think about our own loyalty towards Jesus Christ who died that we might live.. and meditate on His love for us, who loved us even as we are sinners. We love Him because He first loved us. What have I done to show my gratitude. All He requires is for me to love God and to love my neighbours not even more than myself but as myself. Love is not easy, it hurts, its sacrificial but its wonderful and brings peace.

Lord Jesus, teach us to look up to you in every circumstance, giving you thanks and praises and growing to be more like you….till the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

Amen.

Ten

Before today I never liked this Gospel. How could I? Jesus is deserted, mocked, spat on, hit, scourged… The Jewish authorities out of jealousy handed Jesus over to the Romans to suffer a brutal, barbaric torture that only ended when He died.

Nevertheless, today, (the miracle of Lectio Divina), I have gone beyond all this, that normally blocked my senses and perceived the HOPE and the LOVE that transcends all the Gospel.
I concentrated in two types of disciples described here:

  1. The chosen Disciples, (Peter, James, John…. Judas), who betrayed, denied, disowned, abandoned Jesus and dispersed.
    Jesus knew that they would fail, (‘You will all fall away’); and yet, despite all, the LOVE of Jesus is greater than all betrayal, denial, abandonment… all sins. I, like Peter, burst in tears, for I, myself, have being asking Jesus, ‘Not I surely’, wishing rather than believing I will not betray you Lord. However, You are saying that You will wait for me too, as for your Disciples, after your Resurrection. Hope invade me, I see Your hand in open invitation, telling me, despite my sins, I too can back to You, Lord.
  2. The other disciples. Those I never have seen myself reflected in, are the same that offer an important and pertinent message of Faith and Hope:
    • The anonymous woman from Bethany, who anointed Jesus with nard. (Nard’s perfume was the favourite of my grandma, I wonder why.) Jesus recognised the value in her as model for other generations of disciples ‘…she has done what is in her power to do.’ What is in my power to do? Whatever little, small deed we do for others we do it for Jesus.
    • Simon of Cyrene; forced to carry the Cross of Jesus, is actually the only one that walks the way of Jesus up to the Calvary carrying the Cross behind him. Isn’t it an invitation for me to carry my portion of cross with You Lord? Though I wonder is the contrary way around, You are carrying my cross for me.
    • Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent figure in the Jewish society; who saw his hope in seeing the Kingdom of God materialised in the person of Jesus, and who, fear or not, (I guess he had it), faced rejection and hate by fellow Jews or/ and Romans by asking permission to bury Jesus’ body.
    • The women, of whom only Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Joseph and Salome are named. Those women who had followed Jesus, looked after him, and faithful till the end were present at His Crucifixion and burial. Perhaps due to that, even it is not mentioned in this Gospel, were they too the first witnessed to Jesus Resurrection.

All these ‘lesser’ disciples are, nevertheless, the paradigm of the perfect disciple for me. For they Followed, Served and were Witnessed, plus passed on the Message of the Good News. Isn’t it what I am called to do too?

I ended wondering from where all these disciples had the strength to face fear and follow Jesus Way, especially after being excluded, mocked, tortured and crucified. Where came their strong faith from when others deserted Him? it is only an explanation for me, the Holy Spirit fed, led and sustained them, as He will sustain, lead and feed all of us, despite our inadequacies, and all our sins.

Blessed be God for His great Mercy, and His great Love for us. Thank You for never give up on us.

Eleven

During Lent, we have been doing Lectio by Zoom in our parish. We are a small group but we actually started in person last year during Lent before lockdown.

Because the reading is such a long one, quite independently other person and I both said we would like to concentrate on the first part Mark 14: 1-11.

In our parish, following the Bishops’ guidelines we will be reading the short form of the Passion this Sunday so we won’t hear the Anointing of Jesus.

“She has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.”

I had never made the link before that this is exactly what happened. When the women came to do that Jesus was already risen.

“She did what she could when she could.”
And that is exactly what I need to do.

May you have a blessed Holy Week.