Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 17: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 37:1 to 18; Evening, Psalm 37:19 to 42;
1st Kings 11:1 to 13; James 3:13 to 4:12; Mark 15:12 to 21:
“Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified:” (Mark 15: 14 and 15).
There is so much senseless evil here. The clergy of the temple want to crucify of their own, a fellow Israelite. Pilate, the Roman authority, goes along with the local majority rather than stick to his conviction that Jesus has done nothing warranting the death penalty. And even though Jesus is going to be crucified, he is made to undergo flogging also. So much evil, is there a lesson for us?
First of all, none of us should seek to take a life, and especially those of us whose vocation is to live and teach the godly life. And second, if you are in a place of authority, you need to not yield to mob rule just to satisfy the crowd. You need to stick to following Micah’s instructions, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) The Bible really does contain all things necessary for salvation but it should be approached with prayer, caution and inclusive minded believers.
While Pilate never had the injunction to love neighbor, the temple authorities did. They were under the Commandment to love neighbor as self, as are we also. Being tolerant and merciful is a trait of love. We are not to judge others but rather, see in them the love of God, regardless of how they act. So I go back to how I started this reflection and make a correction; all evil is senseless. Our senses were given to us to connect us, not divide us.
We were brought into being by Love, to love. The next person that you meet, try to stretch out with your heart and sense them. Do not use words, just spiritually feel them. It is amazing what God has empowered us to do. Harming another, outside of self defense or the protection of the weak, should never find a place in your heart. Our calling is justice, mercy and humility.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John