April 16

Wednesday of Holy Week


One very prominent theme in Mark’s gospel is the theme of failed discipleship. The Apostles failed to accept their destiny to remain alongside Jesus. Like those early apostles, we would like to avoid these implications of discipleship. We would like the conclusion of holy week to be about the interior rather than the exterior, about the future rather than the present, about triumph rather than suffering and about religion safely separated from politics. Confronting violent political power and unjust religious collaboration is dangerous whether in the first or twenty-first century. Following Jesus means to walk with him against imperial violence and religious collaboration and to pass through death to resurrection. Nothing is said about his doing it alone to excuse everyone else from having to follow him. Judas’ betrayal is simply the worst example of how those close to Jesus failed him dismally in Jerusalem.
Adapted from The Last Week by Borg & Crossan


God is our refuge and strength.
Psalm 46


Reflect on the actions of the Apostles as described in the gospel stories of Jesus’ betrayal and abandonment. In lesser ways, where do you fit in?

Suggested Reading

If any of you want to be my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their lives for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed what can they give in return for their life?
Mark 8:34 -37

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Elie Wiesel

Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The most tragic thing in the suffering of Christ was not the cross but the sleeping disciples.
Erkki Melartin

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
Pope John XXIII

 Let this be thy whole endeavor, this thy prayer, this thy desire,–that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.
Thomas à Kempis