Daily Office Readings for Friday after the 5th Sunday of Lent: Year 2
“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.” (Mark 10:32)
Here we have our Lord Jesus leading the pack to his own torture and death. He is very much aware of his imminent pain and suffering and yet he leads the way. He sets the example for future Christians. The brothers James and John are going to request places of honor in the kingdom of Jesus. Jesus informs them that those places are determined by God Almighty. The rest of his group becomes angry when they find out what James and John were up to. Jesus gives them the lesson about the upside down world of honor in the kingdom of heaven. He explains that it is those who serve others that are the most honored in the kingdom. Our Lord Jesus tells them (and us) that the worldly demand of harsh leadership, which demands for itself to be pleased no matter the costs, is not who we are. We are to lead in loving ways. We are to lead by caring for those whom we lead. We then, are to be emulators of the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus himself.
If we all really treated others with respect and dignity two wonderful things might happen. First, more people would get the help and service they need. Second, by helping others we teach the lesson of loving others as (if not more than) we love ourselves. Such service is the work of love; it is the loving work of the Holy Spirit.
Our Lord Jesus was leading the way to a harsh destination. And he is out front ahead of the pack, setting the example. As Christians, and as his followers, we too need to lead the way in ending the sufferings when and where it befalls us, and all the while helping those in need if we can.
Today, here, and in most parts of the world, Christians are not persecuted (although in some places we still are). Our Christian call informs us that we are to emulate our Lord Jesus and lead the way to defend those in dire straits such as the people of Ukraine. We are all of one group or another. If any one group of people is persecuted or assaulted, any different group may be next. Bullying must not be tolerated, in our schools, or on our global stage. It is up to those of us who witness such behavior to stand up for those being harmed. Such is the way of God who created us as caregivers.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2:1 and 2). So, for this evening and tomorrow day my friends, Shabbat Shalom.
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