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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Weekly Gospel Reflection
Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

March 29, 2015—Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

  Mark 14:1 - 15:47

by
Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The extent of Jesus’ sufferings indicate the extent of his love for us. The better we appreciate this, the more we will value his love. As the Passion of the Lord is proclaimed, we should grow in love of him who loves us beyond imagining.

Jesus endured rejection by those he came to save, betrayal by Judas, misunderstanding from his disciples. Yet he gave us the Eucharist, a memorial to make the power of his death and Resurrection available to believers until the end of time.

Then Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. Knowing what he would endure brought extreme fear, anxiety, and exhaustion. The fact that his closest apostles slept while he suffered must have grieved him terribly. Then he was arrested and given an unjust trial before Jewish authorities. They brought Jesus before Pilate, who did not want to condemn him. But Pilate finally gave in to Christ’s foes and had him scourged, a horrible procedure that would have lacerated Christ’s entire body.

The Roman soldiers placed a scarlet robe on Jesus, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. The crown of thorns pressed upon delicate nerves, causing the pain of trigeminal neuralgia, a condition so severe that sufferers say it’s like being jabbed with a red-hot poker. The soldiers worsened the pain by striking him on the head with a heavy reed, spitting on him, and mocking him.

Next they clothed Jesus in his own robe and set out for Calvary, half a mile away. Jesus, weakened by loss of blood, was nevertheless forced to carry his cross. He kept falling on the rough pavement until the Roman centurion commanded a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, to help Jesus.

When Jesus arrived at Calvary, he was stripped of his robe and thrown onto the cross. One soldier knelt on his chest, while another held down his legs. A third drove five-inch iron nails into Jesus’ hands. The soldiers bent his knees until his feet were flush to the wood and nailed them to the cross. Fiery pain shot through Jesus’ arms and legs. The weight of his body caused him to sink down until cramping of muscles caused unbearable pain. To ease this agony, he had to push his body outward, causing the nails to grate against bone and flesh.

For hours, Jesus endured waves of unspeakable torment, as well as the mocking contempt of his enemies. He took upon himself all the desolation every human being would ever experience, so terrible a burden that he called out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But evil could not defeat Jesus. He had turned desolation into hope, death into life. He prayed, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit," and breathed his last.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends." We can proclaim with the centurion who witnessed the death of Jesus: "Truly this man is the Son of God."

Read last week's reflection.