Gospel Reflection – Sunday, March 24, 2024 – Mark 15:1-39 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Is 50,4-7)

Reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah:

The Lord God gave me a trained tongue, so that I know how to speak words of comfort to the downcast person; He awakens me every morning and stirs my ear to pay attention like a disciple. The Lord opened my ears; I didn’t resist him or turn back.

I offered my back to be beaten and my cheeks to rip out my beard; I didn’t turn my face away from slaps and spit. But the Lord God is my Helper, that’s why I didn’t allow myself to be discouraged, I kept my face as impassive as stone, because I know I won’t be humiliated.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (Phil 2:6-11)

Reading of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians:

Jesus Christ, existing in a divine condition, did not make being equal to God a usurpation, but he emptied himself, assuming the condition of a slave and becoming equal to men. Found with a human appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore, God exalted him above all and gave him the Name that is above every name. Therefore, at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should proclaim, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” to the glory of God the Father.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (Mc 15,1-39 – Brief form)

Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Saint Mark:

Early in the morning, the high priests, with the elders, the teachers of the Law and the entire Sanhedrin, met together and made a decision. They took Jesus tied up and handed him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him: Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied: You say so.”

And the high priests made many accusations against Jesus. Pilate questioned him again: Do you have anything to answer? See how much they accuse you of!”

But Jesus did not respond any further, so that Pilate was astonished. On the occasion of Easter, Pilate released the prisoner they requested. There was then a prisoner, called Barabbas, among the bandits, who, in a revolt, had committed a murder. The crowd went up to Pilate and began asking him to do as was customary. Pilate asked: Do you want me to release the king of the Jews?”

He well knew that the high priests had betrayed Jesus out of envy. However, the high priests instigated the crowd so that Pilate would release Barabbas to them. Pilate asked again: What then do you want me to do with the king of the Jews?”

But they shouted again: Crucify him!”

Pilate asked: But what harm did he do?”

But they cried out louder: Crucify him!”

Pilate, wanting to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas, had Jesus scourged and handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers took him into the palace, that is, the praetorium, and called together the entire troop. They dressed Jesus in a red cloak, wove a crown of thorns and placed it on his head. And they began to greet him: Hail, King of the Jews!”

They hit him on the head with a stick. They spat at him and, bending their knees, prostrated themselves before him. After mocking Jesus, they took off his red cloak, dressed him again in his own clothes, and took him outside to crucify him.

The soldiers forced a certain Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was returning from the field, to carry the cross. They took Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means Calvary.” They gave him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not drink it. Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, drawing lots to see which part would go to each one.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. And there was an inscription with the reason for his condemnation: The King of the Jews.” Two thieves were crucified with Jesus, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by insulted him, shaking their heads and saying: Ah! You, who destroyed the Temple and rebuilt it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!”

In the same way, the high priests, with the teachers of the Law, mocked each other, saying: He saved others, he cannot save himself! May the Messiah, the king of Israel… come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe!”

Those who were crucified with him also insulted him. When noon came, there was darkness over the whole land until three o’clock in the afternoon. Around three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

What does it mean: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Some of those who stood by heard him and said, “See, he is calling Elijah!”

Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar, put it on the end of a stick and gave him a drink, saying: Leave it alone! Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him off the cross.”

Then Jesus gave a loud cry and expired. At that moment, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn from top to bottom, in two parts. When the army officer, who was right in front of him, saw how Jesus had expired, he said: Indeed, this man was the Son of God!”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters, may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Today, we are called to reflect on the biblical passages presented to us: the first reading of the Book of Isaiah, the second reading of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians and the account of the Gospel according to Mark. These sacred scriptures lead us into a deep meditation on Christ’s sacrificial love and call to humility and service.

When looking at our own lives, we often come across challenges and difficulties that make us question our ability to move forward. The world around us can be a place of conflict, where power and the pursuit of personal success are valued above all else. However, it is in this context that we are called to reflect on the words of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah tells us about a suffering servant, someone who is obedient to God’s call, even in the midst of adversity. This servant does not resist suffering, but places his trust in the Lord, knowing that God is his help and support. These words invite us to contemplate the example of this servant and to consider in our own lives how we can follow his example of trust and surrender to God.

As we reflect on the suffering servant, we are taken to the second reading, where Saint Paul tells us about the humility and love of Christ. He tells us that Jesus, although divine in nature, did not consider his equality with God as something to be retained, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and becoming obedient until death.

These words challenge us to rethink our understanding of power and success. Jesus, the Son of God, chose humility and service as the path to manifest the Father’s love. He invites us to do the same, to give up our selfish ambitions and seek greatness in service to others.

This message of humility and service is exemplified strikingly in the Gospel of Mark. The account presents us with the passion and death of Jesus, an event that is central to our Christian faith. Through reading these words, we are invited to contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice out of love for us.

Imagine the scene: Jesus, the Son of God, is brought before Pilate, where he is unjustly condemned. He is despised, spat on, flogged and crowned with thorns. He carries the cross in the crowd, while the weight of the world rests on his shoulders. He is nailed to the cross and, even in the midst of agony, He offers words of forgiveness and mercy.

This is the image of sacrificial love. Jesus gives his life for us, even when we are unfaithful and sinful. He endures suffering on our behalf so that we can be reconciled with God and find salvation. This is the greatest demonstration of love that has ever existed, and it is a calling for each of us.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the meaning of the cross in our lives. We may feel overwhelmed by our own burdens and daily struggles. However, the cross reminds us that we are not alone, that God is with us in our sufferings and offers us the hope of eternal life.

Dear believers, as we approach Holy Week, we are invited to contemplate the sacrificial love of Christ and the response that this offering demands of us. We are called to follow Jesus’ example of humility and service, to give up our own interests in favor of others.

This can manifest itself in many ways. We can offer a shoulder to lean on to those who are struggling, share our resources with those in need, or forgive those who have hurt us. We can seek justice and peace in our communities and actively engage in building a better world.

But we can’t stop there. We must remember that humility and service are not just external actions, but also an attitude of the heart. We must examine our own hearts and ask ourselves: are we willing to empty ourselves of our own selfish desires? Are we willing to put the needs of others above our own?

Throughout our lives, we will face countless opportunities to demonstrate the sacrificial love of Christ. It will be a constant challenge, as we are fallible human beings. But, with the grace of God and the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can persevere and grow in holiness.

Imagine a world where each of us strives to be a humble, loving servant. A world where selfishness is replaced by altruism, where pride is replaced by humility, where hatred is replaced by forgiveness. This is the world that God dreamed for us, and we can contribute to making it a reality.

My beloved ones, as I conclude this homily, I want to invite you to reflect on the words that were proclaimed today. Examine your lives and consider where you can grow in humility and service. Ask God for the grace to empty yourself and embrace the call to sacrificial love.

Remember this journey is not easy, but we are not alone. As a faith community, we are here to support and encourage each other. Through prayer, participation in the sacraments, and mutual love, we can strengthen ourselves to live according to the teachings of Scripture.

May the cross of Christ be for us a constant reminder of the sacrificial love He offered us. May she inspire us to follow his example, to empty ourselves of ourselves and to seek greatness in the service of others. May divine grace, love and hope accompany us on our journey of faith. Amen.

May God bless you all and grant you strength and courage to live as true disciples of Christ. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.