HOME
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
1st Impressions CD's
Stories Seldom Heard
Faith Book
General Intercessions
Volume II
Come and See!
Homilías Dominicales
Palabras - Domingo
Catholic Women Preach
Homilias Breves
Daily Reflections
Daily Homilette
Daily Preaching
Face to Face
Announcements
Book Reviews
Justice Preaching
Dominican Preaching
Preaching Essay
Quotable
Archives
The Author
Resources
Donations
Book Review Archive

Mark’s Passion Narrative
Fr. Tom O'Reilly, SSC

On Palm Sunday this year we will hear Mark’s passion narrative and on Good Friday we will hear that of John. The two are very different, particularly in the way they present Jesus. Compare, for instance, John’s all-knowing and commanding Jesus in the garden (Jn 18:1-11) with Mark’s distressed and struggling Jesus in the same scene (Mk 14:32-42). We must read Mark’s passion narrative on its own terms, not allowing the emphases of other passion narratives to blunt the impact of Mark’s stark and dark picture. The suspense that has been building up in Mark’s story is now moving towards resolution. The rapid pace of the earlier narrative now slows down to an hour-by-hour account of Jesus’ suffering and death. Mark does not want us to rush over his story of the passion (14:1-15:47).

We see Jesus accepting his role as suffering Messiah, though as a human being he recoils from it. He has his body anointed for burial, when the leaders are conspiring with a disciple to bring about his death (14:1-11). During a last Passover meal with disciples, he presents his sacrificial death for others in signs of broken bread and wine from crushed grapes (14:22-25). He is troubled in the realization that, in his hour of need, he will be betrayed, deserted and denied by his closest friends (14:18-21, 26-31). In a state of extreme agitation and grief, and surrounded by disciples who offer no support, he struggles in prayer to do the will of the One he calls ‘Abba, Father’ (14:32-42). He is betrayed by the kiss of a disciple into the hands of his enemies, and all his disciples desert him (14:43-52). The ‘trial’ before the leaders of his people is the climatic moment of Jesus’ self-revelation when, in the midst of false accusations and suffering, he clearly states who he is - the Messiah, Son of God, and Son of Man (14:53-65). At that very moment, Peter is denying who he is as a disciple of Jesus (14:66-72). During the trial before Pilate, the crowd, which had welcomed him enthusiastically, now rejects him in favour of the murderer Barabbas (15:1-15). The governor hands him over for execution, even though he knows there is no real evidence against him.

Having been mocked as a pretender king, he is crucified outside the city, refusing a drug to relieve the pain (15:16-24). He is subjected to the mockery of passers-by, those crucified with him, and leaders who see this as their moment of triumph over him (15:27-32). He dies alone in an atmosphere of deep darkness, feeling forsaken even by the God in whom he trusted (15:33-37). There are signs, however, that God has not forsaken Jesus and his death has not been in vain. For those who can see it, the tearing of the Temple veil signals the end of the old order, and the confession of the centurion is a reminder of a missionary outreach to include Gentiles (15:38-39). While women disciples stay at a safe distance from the crucified Jesus, the Gentile centurion can look at a broken man on a cross and see him as the Son of God. He is the only person in Mark’s story to arrive at this insight, which was given to readers of the story in the first verse of the Gospel. Jesus’ identity cannot be fully understood apart from the cross.
Where do we find ourselves in the drama of the passion? Alongside the uncomprehending disciples who just cannot cope with a suffering Messiah, or with the centurion who glimpses the significance of the moment? If, in the drama of the passion in our own lives, we find we can more easily identify with the disciples, we must not overlook Jesus’ promise to meet fragile and failing disciples again in Galilee (14:28).


Book Review Archive

Just click on a book title below to read the review.
(The latest submissions are listed first.)

 

Mark's Passion Narrative
THE CRISIS OF BAD PREACHING
A HISTORY OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL ETHICS
Jesus: A Gospel Portrait
How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
Christ and the Spirit: Catholic Perspectives Through the Ages
MAKING SENSE OF MYSTERY - A PRIMER ON THEOLOGICAL THINKING
PREACHING IN THE BLACK CHURCH
The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church
LONGING TO SEE YOUR FACE – PREACHING IN A SECULAR AGE
A Joint Review
St. Dominic: A Story of a Preaching Friar
JESUS and the PRODICAL SON
PREACHING MATTERS: A PRAXIS FOR PREACHERS
Moses in Pharaoh's House
...and the Mountains Echoed
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily
The Rhythm of Being...
Remi De Roo - Chronicles of a Vatican II Bishop
Redeeming the Past
Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings
This Is Our Exile
Compassion: Loving Our Neighbor in and Age of Globalization
True and False Reform In the Church
Adult Faith
The Mystical Way In Everyday Life
Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
Let the Great World Spin
The Priesthood Of the Faithful
Living With Wisdom
Where the Pure Water Flows
LITURGY WITH STYLE AND GRACE
Best Advice For Preaching
We Speak the Word Of the Lord
KINGDOM, GRACE, JUDGEMENT...
Great World Religions: Islam
FULFILLED IN OUR HEARING: HISTORY AND METHOD OF CHRISTIAN PREACHING.
PARABLES FOR PREACHERS - YEAR C
Of Books and Preparation
After Sunday: A Theology of Work
A Captive Voice: The Liberation of Preaching
GOSPEL LIGHT: JESUS STORIES FOR SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Written Text Becomes Living Word...
Voicing the Vision: Imagination & Prophetic Preaching
The Death of Innocents


HOME Contact Us Site Map St. Dominic

©Copyright 1999 - 2024Dominican Friars