homily – April 5

Mark 14:1 – 15:47

Today we begin our Holy Week – the most important week in our Christian year. We’ve just listened to Mark’s account of the Passion of Jesus – Mark’s is the first recorded telling of the Passion.

Mark’s gospel never stressed the physical suffering of Jesus – he simply writes “they led him away and crucified him,” Mark writes the reality that Jesus was alone, abandoned, betrayed, morally lonely, hung out to dry. Physical pain is one thing – we can point to a broken leg – but emotional pain, pain of the heart is hidden – we can look as healthy as a horse but be devastated within, suffering our own emotional crucifixion. Jesus suffered the loneliness of moral integrity, of fidelity to His life’s task.

As we begin to live this week as a parish family I think the most important message of today’s scripture reading is found in the first few words of our second reading – “have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Scripture scholars maintain Paul was quoting from a very early Christian hymn.

A hymn that sings of a wonder – From his rightful place as God’s equal, Jesus leapt down from heaven, from his royal throne – he emptied himself, in order to enter completely in the foibles and fragilities of our human existence. In fact he even went further – for our sakes Jesus accepted the indignity of a criminal’s death on the cross. Because of this God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name that can be named – so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend – in heaven and earth and under the earth – and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The emptied and the glorified Christ.

Have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus – this is the life long struggle of every Christian – to have the mind of Christ – to think as Christ would think, see as He would see, hear as He would hear – forgive as He forgave, especially love as He would love and so be a source of life to others. This is the pattern by which followers of Jesus are to frame and direct our lives

Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus – who always did the will of His Father – who came that we might have life and have it in abundance – Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus who knew that it is in dying we are born to eternal life.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass and begin this Holy Week, we can pray for ourselves and for each other that during this holy week God’s gift to all of us will be “the mind” that was in Christ Jesus our Lord – so that the Father can say of us what He said of Christ – this is my beloved in whom I am well pleased.