by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
As we try to listen deeply to God’s word today in the Gospel and reflect on what we have heard, it will be helpful to put today’s Gospel lesson in the context of the last few Sundays, the Gospel that we’ve been reading from Mark over this year. You may remember over the last several weeks, the Gospel tells us Jesus has been on his final journey to Jerusalem, where he told the disciples three separate times, “When we get there, the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies, tortured, mocked, ridiculed and nailed to a cross, executed in the most ignominious way possible.”
Last Sunday, as Jesus was about to enter the city of Jericho, which would be just before entering Jerusalem, we had that incident of Bartimaeus, the blind man who cried out to Jesus, “Son of David, have pity on me.” We listened and watched as Jesus called to the man, Bartimaeus, and gently asked, “What do you want?” Bartimaeus said, “I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Your faith has saved you and made you whole.” That is a very dramatic example of the way that Jesus continued always to reach out to those who were poor and suffering.
After that in the Gospel — we skip over the part, but what happened on Palm Sunday was Jesus entered into Jerusalem. Now it’s the last week of his life, and during this time, he’s had confrontations with the religious leaders. He overthrew the tables in the temple where they were making the house of God a den of thieves. There were different times with the Herodian groups, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Scribes…