On this Palm/Passion Sunday the Passion Gospel is only the Gospel reading that changes each year for the Liturgy of the Passion, and the essential elements of the story remain the same with the other Gospels.
The invitation for this Sunday is to meditate on the passion – the self-giving – of Christ, and allow its power, its drama, and its impact for our lives to confront us again. We are using a dramatised version during worship and the shorter version is printed in the pew sheet.
Today pray and allow the scriptures to speak for themselves.
Let us create space for us, the hearer to make our own connections and draw out their own implications.
Mark’s version of the Gospel story highlights a striking contrast between Jesus’ refusal to give up his integrity and love in spite of the cost, while all around him, for various necessary reasons, his disciples betray, deny, or abandon him, and the religious leaders and people reject him.
Yet, as symbolised by the young man’s naked flight, we are all left naked in the face of Christ’s grace and love, and when we face the cross, our true selves are revealed, confronted and, if we allow it, healed.
This is more than just personal forgiveness. It is about transformation of both individuals and society. The Gospel reveals the cross as the final judgement of human Empire, and the final revelation of God’s Reign which is established in the crucified Christ. It is important to remember that the original ending of Mark had only a very brief, and quite disturbing resurrection narrative, which heightens the drama of this Sunday’s readings.
May we come to worship ready for the cross to leave us naked and honest before God. In prayer, Rev Tania.