Reflecting on Mark 14: 1-15:47
Suffering. The experience of it often supersedes the relief we feel when it is over. Somehow we participate in the stern forty days of Lent, with its ashes and palms, with more fervor than in the glorious fifty days of Easter, suffused as they are with baptismal gowns, First Communion clothes, and Confirmation robes.
We’re not alone. The Passion Narrative was, most probably, the earliest part of each of the four gospels to be written. Was it closer to the hearts of the evangelists than even the Resurrection Accounts? Tradition believes that St. Peter was the eyewitness behind Mark’s gospel (I Peter 5:13). It’s touching to think that Peter wanted to make sure Mark wrote down how Peter denied Jesus. He didn’t want later historians to give him a pass.
I do know this for sure: Mark the Evangelist knows how the story ends while he’s writing his Passion. You bet he does. Only Mark has a young man follow Jesus after the arrest, and when they seize his cloak, he runs away naked (14:51).
I loved it when early commentaries suggested that it was Mark, writing himself in as a terrified, hidden disciple. But I love this theory even more: we see that young man again, and this time he isn’t terrified at all. He’s powerful, and robed in white, and sitting on the rolled-away stone of the Empty Tomb. “Go tell Peter what you saw,” he says (Mk. 16:7).
That’s the Good News, shouted through the ages, and, in Mark, announced by one who was, just days ago, running for his life. He’s running in a different direction now, that angel. He’s running towards you, towards me.
Run, boy. Run.
Are you sure you know how the Story ends?
Kathy McGovern ©2021