CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

Print Version    Email to Friend
Passion Sunday: Jesus is a man not a superman

Mark presents a Jesus who is not rebelling against the events that he cannot impede, almost passively accepting what is happening to him and that, in the end, he concludes: “But let the scriptures be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49). 
 
While all evangelists indicate that, after an initial enthusiastic reception, the crowds gradually breaks away from Jesus who in the end is left alone with the twelve. These, in turn, in the moment of decisive choice, fled. None but Mark, however, puts emphasis on the loneliness of Christ during passion. 
 
Reading the other gospels, there is always someone who is on the side of Jesus or takes position in his favour: an angel in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), a disciple or Pilate’s wife in the process (John 18:15; Matthew 27:19), a great crowd and a group of women on the way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31); his mother, the favourite disciple, some friends, the good thief (John 19:25; Luke 23:40). 
 
In Mark, there is just no one. Jesus is betrayed by the crowd that prefers Barabbas. He is mocked, beaten and humiliated by soldiers; is insulted by passers-by and the leaders of the people present at the moment of his crucifixion. Darkness is around him. Only at the end, after his death has been told, it was noted: “There were also some women watching from a distance” (Mark 15:40-41). 
 
Completely alone, Jesus experienced the anguish of one who, being certainly committed to the just cause, feels defeated. His cry, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me” (Mark 15:34) seems outrageous, but expresses his inner drama. At the time of his death, he has the experience of impotence, of failure in the fight against injustice, falsehood, oppression exerted by religious and political power. He is no superman, but just a man in his agony!
 
One who commits himself to live coherently his faith—it is the message of Mark to the Christians of his community—must take into account that, at the crucial moment, he will be left alone. 
 
He will be betrayed by his friends and refused by his own family, feeling oneself abandoned by God and wondering if it was worth to suffer so much to find oneself defeated. 
 
In these moments he will launch his cry to the Father, but, to avoid falling into the abyss of despair, he will cry out with Jesus. Only then will he receive an answer to his anguished questions. 
 
History is full of heroes who faced death with serenity and disregard for the suffering. 
 
Jesus is not among these people. He cried. He was afraid. He looked for someone who would understand and be near him in the moment of the most dramatic choice of his life. 
 
It is comforting that the facts are just as Mark told them: contemplating this Jesus man, not superman, our companion in suffering. He experienced, as we do, how hard and difficult it is to obey the Father. We feel encouraged to follow him. 
 
 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ 
Claretian Publications
 
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/3rd-sunday-of-lent-year-b-march-4-2018/
 
Translated by 
Father John Ladesma SDB
Abridged by 
Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF