St Peter Catholic Church Naples, FL
Mark 11:1-10 + Isa 50:4-7 + Psalm 22 + Philippians 2:6-11 + Mark 14:1–15:47
The Passion account just proclaimed is filled with stories of disappointment, loneliness, despair, rejection, aloneness, and feelings of abandonment. The stories of humanity’s struggles are revealed before our eyes in the journey of Jesus, his disciples, his friends, and those who knew him. Without knowing fully how the Resurrection event would end, I am sure that on Good Friday and in the days following many felt disconnected, confused, and full of despair wondering who really cares and whether or not their lives with Jesus of Nazareth really made any difference.
Every one of us experiences some type of loneliness at one point or another in their lives. Even people in committed, solid relationships can experience loneliness, and it can even be said that a certain dose of it is healthy for personal and relational development. Many people, however, find it to be their consistent and unwelcome companion. This crippling loneliness can lead to a terrifying sense of isolation and eventually depression. We are quickly becoming a society of isolation and entitlement. Our lives are often too complicated and busy to find the time needed to build and maintain meaningful and close relationships. Worse still, we may not even realize that there is an imperative need within us to do so. The prophet Isaiah in our first reading today, insists that we must learn “how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”
The disciples found their strength in connecting with one another after the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus found his strength in connecting with his Father. These were connections of the heart, connections that lead to profound transformations of love. The love revealed in the crucifixion of Jesus did not come to us simply by what was said about it. It came from the humble actions and the transformation that embraced it. We will soon tell the stories of how disappointed, lonely people found hope and joy in the company of one another in the days between Good Friday and Pentecost from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
We have a profound message to bring to our world. There is no one else who can witness to others the value and sanctity of every human life and the profound joy that connecting with others in our community of faith can bring.
People who are vulnerable, lonely, or poor need help in confronting their darkness and helplessness to find the truth that is within them. It is a journey whose success relies on companions willing to walk with them and assist them in seeing the light. Those who are most isolated and lonely can experience the tremendous joy of the Resurrection when they learn the beauty of what it means to walk with others and discover the spark of the divine that is revealed when serving others along the way.