Openness to Advice

   According to the Book of Proverbs, one of the key differences between sages and fools is whether they are open to advice. Sages are; fools are not.   Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid (12:1).   The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice (12:15).   A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke (13:1).   Advice, here, is more than words. It is a parental activity, words followed up with disciplinary consequences. For the proverbist, then, “advice” … Continue reading Openness to Advice

Easter Sunday

Seven Stanzas at Easter by John Updike (b. 1932) Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His flesh: ours. The same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might new strength to enclose. Let us not mock … Continue reading Easter Sunday

Holy Saturday

Modern Americans reckon time differently than first-century Palestinian Jews. For us, a day begins at 12:01 a.m. For them, a day began at sunset. We need to keep in mind this difference in time-reckoning in order to keep the days of Holy Week straight.   According to Mark 14:17, Jesus’ passion began sometime in the “evening,” that is Thursday evening. According to Mark 15:25, Jesus was crucified at “the third hour,” roughly 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. According to Mark 15:34, he died sometime around “the ninth hour,” or 3:00 p.m. According to Mark 15:42-43, he was buried prior to … Continue reading Holy Saturday

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day on which we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. On this day, according to Mark 15:1-47, in addition to being abandoned by his disciples, Jesus was condemned by Pilate, scourged and crucified by soldiers, and then mocked by Jerusalem’s religious establishment.   Was he also forsaken by God?   The only word Jesus uttered from the cross, according to Mark, seems to give an affirmative answer:   And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why … Continue reading Good Friday

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. The day derives its name from the “command” (Latin, mandatum) Jesus gives his disciples to love one another (John 13:34). Unlike John, however, Mark records neither the command nor the footwashing that so powerfully exemplified it. Rather, he focuses on six events: the Last Supper (Mark 14:12-26), Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial of him (14:27-31), his Gethsemane prayer (14:32-42), his betrayal and arrest (14:43-52), his Sanhedrin trial (14:53-65), and Peter’s denial (14:66-72). In this post, I would like to focus on Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial of him (14:27-31).   It is amazing how self-deceived we all … Continue reading Maundy Thursday

Holy Wednesday

Holy Wednesday is a crucial day in the events of Holy Week. From Palm Sunday through Holy Tuesday, Jesus acted in the public eye, performing significant actions and speaking startling words. These actions and words spiked the ire of Jesus’ enemies, who – according to Mark 14:1 – “were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.”   But Jesus’ enemies had no way to get at him, protected as he was by the sympathies of the crowds (verse 2). No way, that is, until one of his own resolved to betray him. “Then Judas Iscariot, one … Continue reading Holy Wednesday

Holy Tuesday

On Holy Tuesday, according to Mark 11:20-13:37, Jesus taught his disciples and disputed with his enemies. He addressed so many topics on that day that it’s difficult to know which one to focus on. But since I must choose one, I choose the words with which Jesus’ closed the day. They are found in Mark 13:32-37:   No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves … Continue reading Holy Tuesday

Holy Monday

Today is Holy Monday, the second day of Holy Week. According to Mark 11:12-19, Jesus performed two significant actions on this day: he cursed a fig tree, and he cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem. Let us look at each action in turn.   First, Jesus cursed a fig tree.   According to Mark, “Jesus was hungry.” Because we read the Gospels from the vantage point of Easter, we often forget that Jesus was human. He suffered the same pains and pangs as we do. Jesus saw a fig tree in the distance and approached it in order to reap its … Continue reading Holy Monday

Palm Sunday

  Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Throughout this week, we remember and celebrate the acts of Jesus Christ by means of which God saved the world. The story of those acts is a Divine Comedy: after great sorrow comes a happy ending. And like most comedies, the story of Holy Week begins with the Triumphal Entry of our Hero (Mark 11:1-11).   Several details about that entry are worthy of note:   First, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem is a planned event. Verses 1-6 set the scene. Jesus instructs his disciples to go into the village … Continue reading Palm Sunday