Today’s readings are very familiar. As Christians we have heard and contemplated the Passion of Jesus Christ from our earliest days as a Christian and we hear the expression, ‘to fulfil the Scriptures’ or ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ and in the 21st Century we accept that these things happened in Biblical times, a very long time ago. But to give this a little bit of context, today’s psalm was written a thousand years before Jesus was born, it is on a par with William the Conqueror writing about Queen Elizabeth II and getting all the facts right.
The Passion account we have this year is from the Gospel of Mark, like all of the Gospels, it has an account of when Jesus was taken into custody. When reflecting on this Gospel, I was reminded that there is a description of a young man fleeing naked from the scene, leaving behind his clothing. This has two parallels first of all the clothing he leaves behind is a linen cloth. Next Sunday, as we celebrate the resurrection, we will hear that the tomb was empty except for the linen cloth, which had been used to wrap the Body of the Crucified Christ. The second parallel is that when Jesus first called the disciples, they left everything to follow him, and at His arrest they left everything – including the clothes they wore- to get away from him.1
I don’t think anyone would blame the disciples from fleeing, firstly it was to fulfil the Scriptures, secondly it is human instinct to save oneself at a time of danger. Our Gospel reading shows Jesus at his most human and at his most divine. He displays all of the human traits of fear, concern for his friends, understanding that they were tired and excusing it as a good friend would do. His divinity was highlighted by the fact He knew He would be betrayed; He knew who would betray Him, He knew He was going to be tortured and killed and He was prepared to do all of that for us.
If you have struggled to keep to your Lenten sacrifices, please take heart this week and redouble your efforts. Read the Scriptures, fast, give to the poor. Our token effort is minimal compared to what Jesus has done for us. If you have been successful with your Lenten sacrifices, don’t rest on your laurels; the message is the same – redouble your efforts, read the Scriptures, fast and give to the poor. This is not a time to run away, we already know that following the sadness of Good Friday there will be joy on Easter Sunday. The disciples who fled on that first Holy Thursday did not have that knowledge, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, they had not yet encountered the Risen Christ.
Please keep in your prayers this week
- All those who are sick, all those who care for them and all Key workers who are striving to keep us safe.
- For all those taking part in the Walk for Water campaign, that we all have the strength to overcome any physical ailments and reach their targets before the end of Lent.
- For those who have been putting off going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; that they will have the courage to go and receive God’s forgiveness.
- For those who do not believe in God, that this Lent and Easter will open their eyes to the magnificent wonder of our Creator.
- For all those taking part in the online Alpha course, as they look at how we can share God’s message.
- For all those receiving Sacraments at our Easter Vigil Services, especially for Joe and Oliwia at St Bede’s and Mo at St Michael’s, we wish them all a blessed week and a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Once again, I thank those who have sponsored me on my Walk for Water Challenge in aid of Cafod. If you would like to sponsor me, please go to Deacon Tony’s Walk for Water Challenge | Walk for Water | CAFOD I have now completed the 500,000 steps since Ash Wednesday and with your help I have raised overt £1600 for Cafod. I intend to keep going with the steps up until Easter Sunday, it is not too late to sponsor me.
All donations are greatly appreciated and as always if you are unable to financially support me or the others taking part your prayers are very welcome.
Deacon Tony Darroch, 27th March 2021.
Some thoughts and links to help us as we approach the Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday next week.
Monday – “Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” ― Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Tuesday – 10 Quotes For Holy Week – Diocesan
Wednesday – “Mount Calvary is the academy of love” St Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church
Thursday – “We adore you and we bless you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon
Friday – “After you say your morning offering today, Good Friday, we should all keep this in Mind about Jesus: It was not necessary for Him to undergo so much torment. He could have avoided those trials, those humiliations, that ill-usage, that iniquitous judgement, and the shame of the gallows, and the nails and the lance… But He wanted to suffer all this for you and for me. And we, are we not going to respond? Very likely there will be times, when alone in front of a crucifix, you find tears coming to your eyes. Don ‘t try to hold them back… But try to ensure that those tears give rise to a resolution. “
-St. Jose Maria Escriva’s Way of the Cross
Saturday – “If you can talk with the Lord in prayer, talk to Him, offer Him your praise; if, due to great weariness, you cannot speak, do not find displeasure in the ways of the Lord. Stay in the room like servants of the court do and make a gesture of reverence. He will see you, and your presence will be pleasing to Him. He will bless your silence and at another time you will find consolation when He takes you by the hand.” St Pio of Pietrelcina
1 Robert Draper, Pastoral Review Vol 17 Issue 1 (Tablet Publishing, Twickenham, 2021)