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Gospel reflection

March 24, 2024: Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord

Gospel: Mark 14: 1-15:47

“Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. … Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying we heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again, the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, ‘I am and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’  …Then they led him out to crucify him. … Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son.’”


Today’s Gospel, written about 70 CE, is lengthy. It addresses believers, waiting for the imminent return of the Son of Man, and participating in the drama of the Cross. The content traverses through the plot to kill Jesus, Judas’ betrayal, the Passover, the Supper, the agony, Peter’s denial, the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. The title Son of Man brings with it a notion of power and a future reality.  

The full Gospel invites us into a Christology of suffering. We are invited to share in a community of discipleship that understands Jesus as coming in glory and power which includes a destiny of suffering and death. The suffering included felt rejection and abandonment as Jesus went into darkness crying out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”   

In the end (chapter 15) the title king culminates Jesus’ identity and significance as God’s Son.  Jesus’ mission was revealed and completed.   


What challenges you and me in the passion narrative? Is it a discipleship that embraces all of being human as connected with Jesus? Is it about a relationship with God with whom we can share our inner most selves as we are?  Can we believe that something new emerges as we stand against the powers that dominate, falsify or degrade? What is it that speaks to you today?

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Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan, SP, a Sister of Providence since 1960, lives in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after several years in Chicago, where she ministered as Executive Director/ACPE Supervisor of the Urban Clinical Pastoral Education Consortium, Inc. and as a spiritual director. She has extensive training not only in clinical pastoral supervision but also in care with those sexually abused, those challenged with mental illness and those suffering trauma. She has offered many workshops at regional, national and international conferences, is the author of Partner in Covenant: The Art of Spiritual Companionship and of numerous articles including one of her latest, Formation For Professional Practice: Addressing Social Hurts" in Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, Vol. 34 2014.

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  1. Avatar Mary Tomlinson SP on March 21, 2024 at 10:26 am

    A very meaningful reflection. Thank you, Barbara.

  2. Avatar Deb Griffey on March 21, 2024 at 10:50 am

    It is always the Centurion’s statement that resonates with me, its sincerity and belief. “Truly this man was God’s son.”

  3. Avatar Frank cicero on March 21, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    I think most people including myself can never feel the full effect of the suffering’s of Jesus and Mary

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