What more can one say after listening to the reading of the account of the passion of Jesus as told to us by Mark. The most probing question Jesus could ask of us is simply this: “what more could I have done for you that I have not done?” I have given my life for you. What is missing in our second reading of Paul’s advice to the Philippians are the challenging words of the text: “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mindset of Jesus’ life was to do His Father’s will no matter what that might cost him.
One spiritual author tells us, “Paul, and the early Christian community that originally penned this primitive hymn, believed that Jesus didn’t emphasize the divine aspect of his personality. He “emptied himself” of such claims. He delved so deeply into his humanity that he identified with all other human beings, even the lowest slave. It’s this kind of death, epitomized by his crucifixion, that merited his exaltation and eventually the name above all other names. It’s this kind of death our sacred authors expect us to imitate.
Self-emptying demands a constant giving of ourselves for others. Every time we put others before ourselves, every time we care for another person in pain or distress, then we truly have the mind of Christ – the man for others. Jesus suffers because he gave himself to others. That same giving of our selves to others and for other can be a source of suffering for us. As we begin this Holy Week we pray for ourselves and for each other that we be blessed to have that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus who was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. All this was because he loved each one of us.