Having bought a linen cloth, [Joseph of Aramathea] took [Jesus] down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mark 15:46
The story of Jesus’ Passion is deeply distressing with its matter-of-fact narration of the human experiences of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, injustice, cruelty, mockery, bullying, abuse, pain, and suffering.
And yet… and yet it ends with caring and tenderness as Joseph of Aramathea removes Jesus’ body from the cross, wraps it gently in fine linen, and lays it to rest.
It seems to me that compassion and kindness will always be the last words in our human story.
Lord, help me to reach out with your tender careto those who are suffering and in need.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Mark 9:5-6
To look on the brilliance of the Lord… it is a terrifying thought and a compelling desire.
It is a call in and to me: I want to know the Lord.
Today I will seek the Lord in holy scripture, in the glory of creation, especially in the faces of the people I meet. I will listen for the voice of the Lord in the words of people in need, in the sounds of nature, in the silence of my heart.
Simon and those who were with him pursued [Jesus] and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:36-37
Let me look for Jesus in the eyes and hearts of those I encounter, in the pain I’m suffering, in the suffering of others, in distant or close companionship, in the quiet of prayer, in the holy scriptures.
Then [Simon and his brother Andrew] abandoned their nets and followed him. Mark 1:18
Today’s readings are full of movement: Jonah begins a three-day journey; the people of Nineveh put on sackcloth as a sign of repentance; in Psalm 25 we exhort God to guide us in God’s truth; Paul reminds us the world as we know it is passing away; Jesus invites Simon and Andew, James and John to come after him and the fishermen follow him.
What do my daily actions show? Am I moving closer to the goodness and love in my heart? Am I following Jesus’ way of compassion and peace? Am I inviting others to walk with me as I discover how to love and forgive?
Today I will begin a journey of kindness and respect towards all people.
Sometimes it seems that what I have to offer God and my neighbor is woefully inadequate, but I cannot compare my offering to that of others. Each day I must do my best to give all that I have to those in need—energy, love, kindness, compassion, listening, encouragement, and especially my presence.
Calling his disciples to himself, [Jesus] said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:43-44