Introduction: eleventh ‘Lectio Divina’ on Mark 8:34, which emphasises one of the conditions to follow Christ. After having meditated on the failure of the closed disciples to follow Jesus, we shall now look at some texts where they demonstrate the faithfulness of some disciples up to Jesus’ death.
You have called me
to follow your Son Jesus
who has showed me his ways,
give the strength and courage
to be detached from anything
that can impede to follow him faithfully.
- Read the Gospel of Mark 14:3-9; 15:21; 15:39; 15:43; read those verses slowly and listen attentively to the scriptures with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the passage again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the passage again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this passage lead me to ask for from the Lord?]
- Stay with the Word: read the passage a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Concluding your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Introduction: Mark 14:3-9; 15:21; 15:39; 15:43: the text of 8:34, helps us to remind ourselves of Jesus’ teaching of being a true and authentic disciple ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me’. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it’. As we meditate on the texts given above we are invited to evaluate ourselves of our faithfulness carrying our cross and following Christ.
1.- Mark 14:3-9, this and example of a sacrifice made by unnamed woman with alabaster jar, a very expensive perfume (the cost is calculated at a year’s wages for a labourer) that perhaps she was keeping it for a very special occasion. How did she get it we don’t know, but what we know is that she shows her generosity to honour the Lord. She broke the jar and anointed Jesus, she had to use it all without holding anything back. She gives everything for the Lord. Her generosity caused opposition among the attendance asking angrily ‘why this waste of ointment?’ and wondering why it could not have been sold and given to the poor. Jesus answered to that was ‘leave her alone’. One of those who complained was Judas who betrayed Jesus, the least to criticise someone who could make a sacrifice for Jesus. Jesus defended this woman for doing something good: she announces him as the Messiah (the anointed one) and anoints his body for the burial. Jesus elevates her dignity by honouring her example ‘Wherever…the good news is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her’.
2.-Mark 15:21: Simon of Cyrene a Jew originally from what is now Libya, he was coming to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Apparently he was just passing by the way Jesus was going carrying the Cross towards the place of execution. Suddenly Simon was conscripted by the Roman soldiers fearing Jesus would not be able to make it to the place of execution. We can imagine the impact this event made in him, being a young and strong man with ambitions, dreams, future plans, reputation etc. Everything seemed to stop there for him, wandering perhaps what was going to happen to him being associated, in the eyes of the authorities, with a criminal. But thinking otherwise he may have been called by God to became an eye witness of Jesus’s death and perhaps through his Resurrection became a true disciple who was able to carry the cross alone side Jesus.
3.-Mark 15:43: Joseph of Arimathea a distinguished counsellor and a secret disciple of Jesus. While the disciples fled in fear to be also caught by the authorities, Joseph courageously went to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body to be buried not in the grave with the malefactors but in a borrowed new tomb to give a dignify burial to the ‘Anointed One’. He dared to express sympathy for the Saviour, who had just been condemned, mocked, spit on and crucified. He risked his reputation as a distinguished counsellor and even his life for being associated with the Messiah who he believed in. He put all that aside ready to serve Jesus and be part of his fate in preparing him for his Resurrection. The impact that the death of the Lord made in his life and later on in hearing the accounts of the Risen Lord, he turned into one of Jesus’ authentic and true disciple.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- How generous am I with the Lord in anything he could ask of me?
- Am I ready to renounce myself or attachment, take up the cross and follow Jesus?
- Am I ready to renounce my reputation, status, position and serve the Lord among the unwanted brothers and sisters in our society and treat them with dignity?
- How much I dare to leave in my life to embrace Jesus ways?