“Alleluia, the Lord is risen!” “The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!”
Lord Jesus, on this day when you were in the grave, please help us to rejoice even as we lament and to weep for the pain that remains in our lives even as we look forward to Easter morning joy.
The violence of our world had taken its toll on him. What the Roman whip and crown of thorns hadn’t taken out of him, the pain of betrayal and the sting of rejection certainly had. Jesus’ body had once been able to hew boards from trees. No longer. Now, he’s unable to bear the weight of the cross as he stumbles up the hill on his way to Golgotha, the “place of the skull.”
The disciples don’t know it, but everything is about to change. After years of being with Jesus, they don’t realize that this meal will come to be known as their “Last.” Once supper is over, once the table is cleared, they will all abandon their Lord. Everything will change.
In many of Jesus’ parables, there is some kind of “happy ending.” Some parables end with a miraculous harvest, an unexpected family reunion, or a feast that only welcomes unlikely guests. As we read through today’s parable, we hope for a happy ending, but no. It gets dark, really dark.
Here Jerusalem’s religious leaders directly ask Jesus “by what authority” he’s doing the things he’s been doing. What gives him the right to act like a king (Triumphal Entry)? Who has licensed him to act as a spiritual leader (healing, teaching, symbolically cleansing the Temple)? Why does Jesus think he can challenge them?
So, instead of getting wrapped up in conditional statements about forgiveness, understand that God has unconditionally forgiven you, no matter what you’ve done.
Redemption: A Guided Prayer Exercise
This passage from Mark begins with Jesus predicting his death to the disciples, and in response, James and John ask about having seats next to him in paradise. The other disciples are angry, and I like to think I would have been angry along with them. But in truth, it’s more likely I would have been one of the disciples angling to sit right next to Jesus.
The desperation drives him. It creates a bit of a spectacle as he runs up to Jesus and throws himself down. “ What must I do?”