By Father Andrew Kelly
The Lord has gathered the believing community to listen and ponder the Lord’s passion (Mark 14:1-15:47). But to understand Mark’s passion the community must do what the Lord commanded on Gethsemane:
“Sit here while I pray … I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’’
This is important, as Mark’s passion is also an account of the community’s passion. In Mark’s narration, the community reveals its responses, positive and negative, as it follows Jesus to the cross and resurrection.
As Jesus’ passion leads the community in its passion there are meals, anointing, betrayals, denials, sleepiness, abandonment, trials, mockery, scourging, crucifixion, darkness, death and cosmic eruptions.
Jesus ultimately ends alone in utter desolation on the cross crying out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
As Jesus dies, so the community dies. Thus the need to sit in prayer with Jesus as it listens. Even in the desolated abandonment, the community sees again in faith what the centurion cried out: “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
This faith allows the community to continue its Holy Week passion journey. It remembers Jesus’ words from a gentler time (Mark 12:34): “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)