The Lord Who Cares For Humans

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Palm Sunday, 28 March 2021

Isa. 50:4-7; Ps. 22:8-9,17-18a,19-20,23-24; Phil. 2:6-11; Mark 14:1 – 15:47 (or shorter Mark 15:1-39)

General tone of Passion Narrative in Mark’s gospel is Jesus who suffers alone and is abandoned by everyone. The suffering of Jesus in this gospel is generally more “cruel” compared to the gospels of Matthew and Luke, especially John. There are several points that we should ponder.

First, Jesus is officially put on trial, both by the Jewish leaders and the Roman authority (Pilate). The accusation against Jesus from the Jewish trial is a religious one: that He blasphemed God, by claiming Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. The Roman court focuses on political accusation against Jesus as the “King of the Jews”. Even though Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent, he ends up crucifying Jesus anyway. Thus, both religious and political authorities have acted unjustly against Jesus. Jesus shares the same fate with all victims of unjust trial and corruptible law.

Second, there is no friend, disciple nor relative of Jesus at the cross. There are only enemies, making fun of Him in turn: the passersby, the Jewish religious leaders, and two criminals who are crucified with Him. Jesus is in the same boat as thousands of people, in the past and at present, who have to carry the cross by themselves, without the care from anybody. He is in solidarity with those who have been abandoned, mocked and rejected by others, friends and even their own family, because of their faith.

Third, Jesus begins and ends his days of suffering by praying. In Gethsemane He prays to be delivered from suffering, but still surrenders to the Father’s will. On the cross He prays because He feels abandoned by His Father. In the gospel of Mark, the Father doesn’t seem to answer the prayers of His Son before His death! Jesus is in solidarity with all those who feel lonely, who feel abandoned by everybody, even by God. He is on the same boat as you and me when our prayers seem useless and unanswered!

Fourth, Mark’s Passion Narrative shows that Jesus presents God who “gives Himself” for humans in His life and at His death. Mark shows that this is not easy, even for Jesus Himself. Jesus is recognized as the Son of God only after His death, after He has completely undergone His sufferings. Jesus is in solidarity with all of His followers who struggle for persevering in faith; those who struggle to carry the cross of life, who strive to give themselves to others, regardless their limited conditions.

How could the Passion become Good News? Why does the cross become a symbol of our victory? Because the cross reveals the caring God who experiences our fate and struggles. On the way of the cross, Jesus presents God who shares our suffering and struggle with us. In Jesus, God not merely becomes a human being, but a human being who is involved and struggles and overcomes various trials, difficulties, rejection, injustice and suffering. That is the Gospel, the Good News, which is preached from the Cross. We have faith in God who understands our life profoundly, because He also experiences our life to the fullest!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Sacrament of reconciliation: May through the Sacrament of reconciliation, we are enabled to renew ourselves deeper so we can feel God’s unconditional love. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Focusing on the essentials: May the Catholics always learn to focus more on the essentials, both in body and soul. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
During the months dedicated to St. Joseph, let us get the spirit that is opened to listen to Your will, in order for us to serve the Holy Family. We pray…

Amen

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