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Scripture reflection: Oh Lord, do not leave me alone, my strength, make haste to help me.

19 March 2018

Lectionary reading

First reading: Isaiah 50:4-7.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 21(22):8-9, 17-20, 23-24.

Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11.

Gospel: Mark 11:1-10 / John 12:12-16 / Mark 14:1 – 15:47 / Mark 15:1-39.

Link to readings.

Introduction

We have journeyed with Christ through Lent, from the silence of the wilderness, to the dawning realisation that his whole life has been a preparation for the events that will unfold on Good Friday.

This Sunday, we see the contrast of Jesus’s joyful yet humble procession into Jerusalem. We witness how the same crowd turn against his message of love and compassion and now call for his death. (Gospel)

The First Reading from Isaiah is a prophecy of the suffering servant. It tells of the willingness with which Jesus enters into his Passion, confident that the Lord will give him strength.

The Psalm continues to describe the insults and humiliation that Jesus took upon himself in order to set us free from sin.The response draws on the words that Jesus cried out as his earthly life drew to a close.

In the Second Reading, St Paul reveals the hidden truth of Christ. Jesus embraced the frailty and mortality of humanity, so that we could be drawn into the circle of the Trinity, and acclaim with the whole of creation that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

Let us pray for each other as we enter into this Holy Week, that we will each make time to sit in silence with Jesus.

Let us be willing to journey with Jesus through his Passion, death and Resurrection.

We may choose to be with him when he is anointed with oil in Bethany, as he eats the Passover meal with his friends, as he prays in earnest in Gethsemane, and during his arrest and betrayal; or we may walk alongside him as hecarries the cross, and then stand with him at its foot as he gives up his spirit.

First Reading

Isaiah 50: 4–7

Aware of how I am feeling, I come to prayer just as I am, and place myself before God.

I let my mind find stillness, and imagine God looking upon me with love and

I now look upon Jesus with compassion and tenderness myself, as I ponder the trials and Passion that Jesus entered into for my sake.

I slowly read the passage, allowing the words to form images in my mind. I pause on phrases or words that touch me.

I stay with those words or images, and ask God to lead me deeper into the mystery of the Passion of Jesus.

I may choose to bring to my prayer times of my own suffering and humiliation, or perhaps pray for those who face persecution today.

Returning to the text once more, I find a phrase that I might like to pray as a mantra throughout this Holy Week.

I share with Jesus why these words are important to me.

I finish my prayer as I began, looking with warmth and compassion on the image of Jesus facing his Passion.

I find my own words of thanks to God, and close my prayer by saying

Glory be...

Gospel

Mark 15

I pray before a crucifix or an image of the cross.

I slowly read this excerpt from the Passion.

I allow myself to enter into the Passion as a bystander or as a character from the Gospel. I accompany Jesus through his accusation, scourging, humiliation and abandonment.

What do I notice?

Can I stay with Jesus? Can I relate to his sense of abandonment? What words of comfort could I offer?

What is my response to this outpouring of courageous compassion that culminated in the cross?

Like the Roman soldier at the foot of the cross, I close my prayer with my own declaration of faith. Then I make a slow, reverent sign of the cross.

 

Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham

 

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