Category Archives: Gospel of Mark

“Love Your ENEMIES” ~ The Veil

Aquinas University College has been conducting a short course on the topic Death of the Messiah for the Laity and the Religious to deepen their knowledge on the Passion and Death of Christ according to the Gospel of Mark. Yesterday was the last class and three of the final year Theology students had to do three presentations on the Pastoral/ Spiritual Implications of the Passion and Death of Christ to the lives of the Laity and the Religious.

I was second in command, so I had to gel with the flow of the first presenter and fit in the third presenter’s idea as well. Ms. Romany Rasquinho, the first presenter spoke on the different characters found in the Passion of Christ. Like Judas, Peter, Mary, Women of Jerusalem, Simon of Cyrene, etc; and which role would be a best fit for us. She mainly focused on Joseph of Aramathea at the end. Mrs. Rosanne Fernando, the third in line spoke on Burial and Resurrection and included a new reflection on the Resurrection of the Living.

Drawing the spotlight back to me, what was I left to talk about? Pretty much nothing. Approximately for 2 nights I was breaking my head on what to talk at the session and was left clueless. It was a similar thinking crisis I went through with deciding on my Final Year Project for the Computing degree. Well better late than never, out of the blue when I was at one of the classes, a topic struck me. Active Non-Violence. Well this is what my thesis is on, so why not do a speech on this. I wanted to do something unique and novel, but this was a bit of a risk. Connecting Active Non-Violence and the Passion of Christ had to be a gamble, because no sane person would find a connection between the two.

Being the risk taker, I grabbed this opportunity and did a bit of research. I came a cross some of the writings of John Dear SJ who is a pioneer of something called Theology of Non-Violence (Heard that the first time when I was doing the research). He basically speaks how Jesus reacted non-violently to the violent Passion he faced. Going down his line of thought, I based my presentation on the Non Violent Reaction of Jesus to His Violent Passion and Death. I catered to the Human Being Within You!

Before stepping into the Passion and Death, remember the days that Jesus walked among men and performed miracles? Well He uttered a particular phrase which is not mentioned during His Passion. But I think that the Passion is the enactment of that phrase. Preaching put into Practice.

Love Your Enemies

and

Pray for those who Persecute You

~Matthew 5, 44

Since the Old Testament is the basic foundation for the New Testament, the prophecy of a non-violent Messiah can be found in Zechariah 9, 9-10. Where he speaks of a Just Saviour who will Proclaim Peace to the Nations. Peace is not the mere absence of war. Taking the current context of our country, Sri Lanka, just because the war is over does that mean we have peace in our land? Certainly not! There is sorrow and pain within the mother who lost her child illicitly during the war and is still finding answers as to why her child was brutally killed. There is tension between the two neighbours, where one is a Sinhala and the other is a Tamil, each of them hate the other because of their race.

Dear presents a five fold aspect of Jesus as the Non-Violent Messiah according to the Gospels.

Pentagon
I organized my presentation according to a particular schema. Since it’s the Markan year, I organized the presentation according to the topics covered in the short course.

  1. Gethsemane – Prayer and Agony
  2. Sanhedrin Trial and Mockery
  3. Crucifixion
  4. The Ultimate Victory – The Resurrection
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I think we hit the REPLAY button…. :O

Yesterday I participated in the weekly Praise and Worship of the Community of the Risen Lord and the lay minister was preaching about the readings scheduled for the Second Sunday of Advent. Well as he went on about the biblical interpretations and linking the first reading with the Gospel, something interesting caught my ear…

Sunday Gospel is taken from Mk 1, 1 – 8. It quotes Isiah’s prophecy about a messenger and shows how John the Baptist is preparing the way for the Messiah. So what’s so special about this?? Try and read between the lines of the Gospel and if you really Read and Listen, you might not need to read the rest of this post 😉

Well, if you still cannot figure it out, let me explain. Mark says, John the Baptist was inviting everyone for a baptism of Repentance. Many had Faith in what he said and followed him, because John practiced what he was preaching. It was both words accompanied with deeds. Getting back to my point, these are the words which Mark uses,

John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins“. (Mk 1, 4)

Now getting down to business, Note well… These are the words which John the Baptist used before the arrival of Jesus Christ. The very call for Repentance, Change of Heart, Forgiveness. So people repented and the Messiah redeemed them from their sins. And once the persecutions began, people came forward to sacrifice their lives to keep the faith alive. Hence, Tertullian says,

the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church“.

Okay, leaping from past to present, now what are we doing?

RECYCLING! REPLAYING History!

The irony is, the very same words uttered by John are mentioned umpteen times in Liturgy, prayer services and everywhere we turn… So instead of moving forward, I think we are going back to the Pre-Messianic times, where there are many Johns preaching the same thing. True, that we await the second coming of Jesus (Parousia) but that doesn’t give us the edge to go back in time and repeat the same mistakes right?

I’m sure if Jesus was given the chance to ask the question, He asked from Peter “Do you Love me?“, He’ll probably rephrase it and ask us,

Do YOU KNOW that I’m ALREADY HERE?

Every Sunday and in Daily Liturgy we receive Christ, in the form of His Body and Blood. How much of an impact should it create when we receive Him into our Body. He becomes one with our Flesh and Blood. But are we limiting the Eucharist to a mere ritual, where we extend our tongues or hands and receive the Body and Blood… Oh yes, we believe that Jesus is in it! But then how come, when we return back we fall in the same pit. Same mistakes… True, we’re human and we have the inclination to sin, but come on… Today we have Jesus who brought us redemption, an added advantage which the Old Covenant People did not have.

But still, we’re engulfed in the quicksand :|. High time we pulled ourselves up!

Redemption

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