Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

The overhead camera work used on a televised football game has something in common with an item needed for a family group photo. Both need perspective. The kind that can only come when the photographer steps back from his subject so that the viewer catches the whole scene.

I believe we can gain a better appreciation of the Lord’s Passion account if we figuratively “step back” from the milieu our minds produce. Consider the many homilies we have heard over the years; the many movie versions of the events, and even the well-written New Testament commentaries we may have read, and how they influence our imaginations as we hear the words every Holy Week.

Why pull away from one or more of those? In order to gain a personal perspective of the well-known events. To be spiritually and physically alone in their presence, as if you were the only observer. Mark’s version that we hear today is the major part of his shortest of the four gospels.
The whole gospel can be read in less than an hour. But what matters is your reaction just to the Passion account. Various lines will pop out, so to speak, and compel you to pause for reflection.

For me, there is a line that comes early on, when Jesus addresses His disciples by saying: “The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have Me.” Of course He meant His physical presence, with no reference to His miraculous presence in the Holy Eucharist. Yet we can wonder what His physical presence might mean. When we hopefully reach heaven we shall be blessed with it. But in the meantime wouldn’t it be consoling? I think of saints like Mary Magdalene, or Sr. Faustina, all of whom had the privilege.

Something to think about as we step back from our ordinary pondering of the words that we read or hear this week.

Meanwhile we await the message of the event on the Third Day, trusting that our decision to live as He asked us to will yield the moment when He steps forward to give us a hug of welcome to eternal joy.

God love you and give you His peace.

Rev. Peterson’s Reading & Gospel Summary

Reading I: Isaiah 50: 4-7
From the prophet’s “Book of Comfort” section we find an obvious reference to Jesus, whose confidence remains even with His face covered in spittle.

Reading II: Philippians 2: 6-11
Paul quotes a beautiful hymn of his time which describes Christ’s self-emptying and His exaltation. The hymn may have been in Aramaic.

The Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47, or 15: 1-39
Mark’s gospel has been described as “A Passion narrative with a long introduction.” He wrote to comfort his community sometime in the 60’s AD before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.